Software Defined Radio (SDR)

If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is still a lot of Analogue transmissions today, even a lot still on AM especially when it comes to Aviation, however most have gone to digital.

There are several reasons for this, but put simply, digital seems to have a longer range, is clearer and you can do a lot more using just the one frequency.

For the hobbyist, to make matters hard, there are many digital modes.  P25, DMR, NXDM are just a few.  Some of these are popular, and some are not.  Then within these digital modes are different ways of using them.  For example, DMR can have T1, T2 or higher, where T stands for Tier.  What this is the radio will do one micro second for T1, then switch to T2 for the next micro second.  Effectively you can have two different conversations on the same frequency, and although every second micro second is lost, to the user you wouldn’t know. This is just one example of DMR.  You can also transmit text messages, your location and so on, all behind the user that is talking and on the one frequency.  So instead of needing to pay for 2 frequencies for two channels, you can have two talk groups on the one frequency.

And this is just the start.  It is clear my old scanner won’t cope with this at all.

However, you can do it all at minimal cost on your PC.  While your PC isn’t as portable as your scanner, it is a lot cheaper alternative and give you an idea on what you can here.

It is a bit fiddly though, and can take a while to setup.  One tick box wrong can silence everything.

Here is what I did, however there are many options, longer than your arm, so do what you think is best for your situation.

When Digital TV came in, a lot of people had trouble receiving it, and additional repeater stations had to be installed along with a lot of home TV antenna’s being upgraded.  So, whatever you do, make sure your antenna isn’t letting you down.  You can try what you have first if you want, but if it doesn’t work, have a think if you need to upgrade your antenna.

I downloaded AirSpy, a program where you can tune in the frequency and add a lot of plugins if you want to.  While this program is rather technical and can be hard for the first-time user, after using it a little while I think it is very well set out.  You can see this program in the picture below where I have the number 1 in red on it. I recommend you download the Community Package with Plugins. If you want some tips on how to get going, I recommend going to this page that has an easy step by step setup guide. Remember, there are so many options regarding this software so try not to get overwhelmed. Just look at what you need to, for example, don’t worry at this stage about tracking aircrafts – a good project for tomorrow!

The next step is to buy a SDR.  This can cost almost as much or as little as you want.  An entry one can cost somewhere between $30 and $50 Australian dollars.  However, I recommend you buy it via the AirSpy store, as there have been some imitations out there.  This is where I got mine from if that helps you. However there are heaps of other options available on this page also. Before it arrives however, you can use the AirSpy software to tap into other shared SDR users that share their devices over the internet.  There may be one close to you.  This post isn’t about this though or the detail of setting all this up, as it will go on for to long.  It is more about what you can do fairly easily.

An example of my interface. 1 = Airspy screen, 2 = wave, 3 = Dos screen, 4 = Decode box, 5 = Talk Groups

Once you get your dongle, plug in your dongle. Do not install any of the software that it came with (if any), and ensure that you wait a few seconds for plug and play to finish attempting to install the dongle (it will either fail or install Windows DVB-T TV drivers). If you’ve already installed the DVB-T drivers that came on the CD bundled with some dongles, uninstall them first. If you got the same dongle as I did, this is what I did to get it going:

In the folder where you extracted the sdrsharp files find the file called zadig.exe. Right click this file and select “Run as administrator”.

In Zadig, go to “Options->List All Devices” and make sure this option is checked. If you are using Windows 10, in some cases you may need to also uncheck “Ignore Hubs or Composite Parents”.

Once running Zidgig, select “Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 0)” from the drop down list. Note on some PCs you may see something like RTL2832UHIDIR or RTL2832U instead of the bulk in interface. This is also a valid selection. Do not select “USB Receiver (Interface 0) or Interface 1” or anything else or you will overwrite that driver! Double check that USB ID shows “0BDA 2838 00” as this indicates that the dongle is selected.

We need to install the WinUSB driver, so also ensure that WinUSB is selected in the box after the arrow next to where it says Driver (this is the default selection). – Note that there has been some confusion for a few people over this step. The goal is to install the WinUSB driver. So to be clear, the box to the left of the arrow shows the currently installed driver, whereas the box to the right of the arrow shows the driver that will be installed in the next step. The first time you open zadig the box on the left will show either ‘None’, or the default DVB-T drivers installed by Windows (RTL2832UUSB), depending on your Windows configuration and version.

Click Replace Driver. On some PC’s you might get a warning that the publisher cannot be verified, but just accept it by clicking on “Install this driver software anyway”. This will install the drivers necessary to run the dongle as a software defined radio. Note that you may need to run zadig.exe again if you move the dongle to another USB port, or want to use two or more dongles together.

Open SDRSharp.exe and set the “Source” drop down box to ‘RTL-SDR (USB)’. This “Source” tab is on the top left. (Note that the first time you do this you may get a smart screen message indicating that Windows has protected your PC, this is a false alarm. Simply click on “more info” and then “run anyway”).

Press the Play button (the right facing triangle). Your RTL-SDR software radio should now be set up and ready to use! If everything has worked you should be able to start tuning to frequencies.

Important! Don’t forget to also adjust the RF gain settings by pressing the Configure button (looks like a cog) up the top next to the Play button. By default the RF gain is set at zero. A gain of zero will probably receive nothing but very strong broadcast FM – increase the gain until you start seeing other signals.

Decode Digital Signals using DSD Plus

So now your on the air, you can take it to the next level now and decode the digital signals you haven’t been able to in the past.

Here’s what you are going to need:

Uncompressed DSDPlus and DSDPlusDLLs. Copy the DLLs into the extracted DSDPlus folder. Now all the DSD Plus files are in the same folder.

Then extract DSD, then copy SDRSharp.DSD.dll into the Sdrsharp folder. Copy the text in the text file and add it to the plugins.xml file in the Sharsharp folder.

Extract VBCable. Find the setup file (use x64 if you have that pc) and run the file as administrator. Then install driver. You will have to reboot afterwards.

Then have a look from 5:58 in the video below and do the following.

After that, open SDR Sharp.

Go to Audio, and for the output, select cable input – this will pump the audio from the SDR to the Virtual cable input.

From DSD interface, select cable imput here. This will mean the audio from the SDR now goes down the Virtual Cable to the DSD software. Select configure in the DSD interface and change the input audio device number to the input of AirSpy and not something else. Once you have done this, test by changing frequency or pressing the stop button, the blue wave box (number 2 in the above picture) should stop.

If you are not sure what numbers to use, the dos screen that opens when you start DSD has the numbers of input and output devices. Make sure you set this correctly else your input will not work, or you output will give you no sound. Once you have set it correctly, press Create Command Line to update.

On the Decoder Options tab, you can leave it at Auto Detect, but if you know what it is, then you can manually select the mode you want. Once you select the mode you want, press Create command line then ok so the settings get updated.

Tune into the correct frequency that has the digital transmission, then enable aux audio output. In DSD Interface, press enable Aux Audio Output.

Once on a digital frequency, press Start DSD. It then opens a dos screen, this will tell you where the audio output will be, eg speakers. Audio input device will be where you selected on DSD plus, which is the virtual cable.

If it all works, you should hear slot 1 in your left speaker, and slot 2 in your right speaker. If not, check you are on a frequency that has a transmission. Then the graph (2 above) is moving (if not your audio to DSD isn’t getting there), then the dos screen should have lots of text running (if not it may not be a digital transmission).


If your still struggling getting this set up, try the following web site: SDR Users Guide.

There are heaps of more information I could post here, but here are some of the plugins I recommend:

Plugins

Shuttle Plugin

Scanner Frequency – here is a video on this plugin.

DSD Plus – as mentioned above. Here is another video to look at.


Further Reading

Enjoyed that? Please add your comments below or let us know how you went. I hope it was useful. Remember to subscribe so you don’t miss out on our future posts. Here are some other similar articles you may enjoy:

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SMS via Radio or Hotspot

One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. You can send it fairly easily to another radio, but did you know you can also receive a weather report, see where your last GPS transmitted location is, and send messages to your mobile phone. The best thing is there no cost either.

While not all networks and not all radio’s support sending SMS’s. Some hotspots do and some done also just to make it even more confusing. While I don’t plan to list all networks available, as they there are more all the time, and the settings change also. However, at the time of writing this (2020), the VK-DMR network does not support GPS or SMS (you must turn it off to use the system), but the BrandMeister one does. So, I will talk from here on about the BrandMeister network. If you use a different network, then check with that network first.

BrandMeister Setup

First you need to setup your BrandMeister account to send and receive SMS. From the BrandMeister page, login at the right of the screen. Then under Services on the left side, select selfcare. I usually set the radio brand to either ETSI or Motorola, however this will depend on the radio you have. While you are here, you might want to turn on or off your GPS location and check everything looks good.

Radio Setup

Would you believe most digital radios allow you to send and receive messages right from the screen easily. However not all. Unfortunately, at the time of writing this (2020), the OpenGD-77 does not support text messaging as yet. However, it is on the job list. I do understand that since text messaging isn’t the most used option in digital radio, probably leaving this setup until last is fair enough. However, I have done it on the original GD-77 firmware, and seen it done on other radio’s also.

If your fortunate enough, you may have a hotspot that can do it anyway.

Hotspot Sending

I am not going to talk about every hotspot available, mainly because I don’t own every hotspot available. But I will talk about the OpenSpot as I have a couple of them myself, and I know they work.

From a PC, the menu on the right side has DMR SMS chat that will bring up a box much like the picture below.

DMR SMS Chat in OpenSpot

262993 GPS and Weather

If you send the message help to destination ID 262993 you will get a prompt much like above. It may take a little while to reply. As I live in Melbourne, you can see above I then sent a private message to 262993 again and typed in the message wx Melbourne, AU. You can see above the message on the left I received. Remember, the reply’s do take a while to come back and usually arrive just as you have given up waiting!

You could also send the message gps help to the same number, 262993, to get an overview of all the GPS commands which includes setting your home position, and so on. If you have transmitted your GPS location with the same callsign you set up in the selfcare then it will reply with your last location sent. If you want to save that as your home location, send GPS SET and it will save your last location as your home location. Then you will get from now on your home location and your last transmitted location.

If you send RSSI to 262993 it will reply with the repeater and connected talk group you were last using. If you send a message INFO *callsign where *callsign is replaced with your call sign you will get a reply when you last spoke. If you have two digital ID numbers, then it will send both of them back to you.

262994 Repeater, POCSAG and dapnet

If you send RPT SMS to 262994 you will get a reply of what static talk groups you are currently connected to.

You can also send a message to a call sign using this 262994 number. For example, if you want to send a message to me, send VK3TBS followed by your message to number 262994. However, I couldn’t get this to work – maybe because I was messaging myself! If you get it to work, please let me know what I did wrong.

262995 SMSC – SMS-ing to a mobile phone

This is taking SMS-ing to the next level. I was even able to SMS my wife who doesn’t have a licence.

To do this, send the following message SMSGTE @[phone number] [message] to 262995. where [phone number] is your country number (e.g. 61 for Australia) followed by the mobile number. Remember to remove the first 0 if you’re in Australia.

There is more information on sending messages to and from your radio to mobile phones on the smsgte.org web site. There is heaps of information under the User Guide menu.

APRS Chat

APRS is almost a bit easier and can quickly send messages to and from a mobile phone. Once you have done the above setup, I selected APRS chat in my OpenSpot2 dashboard. Then I sent a message with the destination callsign of SMSGTE then the message was @[phone number] [message] there [phone number] is your country number (e.g. 61 for Australia) followed by the mobile number. Remember to remove the first 0 if you’re in Australia.

You can see in the picture below I sent a message Test from hotspot to my phone which appeared instantly. I then sent one back from my phone saying This is from my mobile phone which then appeared instantly. It worked really well.

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Portable Hot Stop with Battery Pack

The new OpenSpot3 has come out with an internal battery. You might ask why? Well there is two common issues that is mostly raised with almost all hot spots. One is the range – I have addressed this in my BlueDV post if you want to make your own long range hotspot. However the other issue is it isn’t very portable.

I have two OpenSpot2 hotspots and enjoy them very much. I can cross modes easily all by using the one radio. You used to have to get one radio per band which was a lot more expensive. Anyway I can take the OpenSpot2 in the car and plug it into the car battery and run it via my mobile phone which works well. However what if I want to go for a bike ride or walk without the car?

The main issue is not having the battery of the car when you walk or ride your bike. This is perhaps one reason why the OpenSpot3 has an internal battery. For the rest of us, you can still do it.

Below is a picture of my setup. I took this picture in outback South Australia. At the top of the picture is a small pocket size battery which actually has two USB plugs, so I could plug in my HotSpot and my mobile phone. It even has a torch on it and has a lot of charge (15,000 mAh 2.4 Amp) so it wasn’t the cheapest one available. I could have gone a lot cheaper however we also used this battery pack for other things while we were in remote Australia for several days.

To the left of the photo is my GD-77, my hotspot and my phone. With this setup, I was able to talk the world!

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BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77

I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.

Someone once asked me after reading this page, why would you want to do this? So I have added this paragraph to try and explain. One reason is to extend your hotspot range. For example, if you use a normal regular hotspot, it will only have a small range around or in the house. If you want to go for a walk or dig in the garden, you either have to take a battery pack to plug your hotspot in and your mobile plus your radio. This is something I have done many time, especially while camping and in outback Australia – I have added a photo of it below. However if you have a spare digital radio, then you can plug in your GD77 into an external antenna and via BlueDV as explained below, and then almost run your own 5W repeater into the talk group you want. I have done this and been able to walk several kms from home and still have full access yet only taking my GD77 radio with me. The other reason you can do this is because you can. To make your own repeater is a bit of fun.

Hotspot with battery pack and mobile phone on a park bench.

Before you read on, it should be noted that the Open GD-77 firmware and software is changing all the time, so some of the steps below may change. I will do my best to keep this page up to date, however please message me or leave a comment if you have any suggestions.

First install the Open GD-77 firmware and comm driver. There are instructions on my other post here.

Then once complete, make sure your GD77 is plugged into your USB on your PC. Then type in Device manager in the Windows 10 search box to open the Device Manager. Go to Ports and there you should see OpenGD77 followed by a COM number. If you do not, then you need to install the Comm Driver again. Take note of this Com number.

Now open the GD-77 CPS Community Edition and once loaded make sure it has an Extras menu between the View and Language menus. Click on the Extras menu and select OpenGD77 support. Click on Read codeplug and make sure that works. Obviously you need the radio plugged in and turned on to do this.

Now download the latest BlueDV install file from the following web site. Make sure you select the Windows version. There may be beta versions available if you want to try them.

Download and then install the msi file inside the zip file.

Keep the radio plugged into the USB port on your PC. Turn on the radio and press the green button to go into the OpenGD77 menu. Scroll down to options and then go up to Hotspot and when on hotspot press the right button until it changes to BlueDv. Press the green button to save.

Next open BlueDV and once opened, click on Menu then Setup. Put in your callsign, then change the serial port radio to the Com port noted earlier. Tick on RX/TX Colors, enter in the Frequency you wish to use, enter your DMR ID in both boxes, then select the Brandmeister DMR Master server you want to connect to and put in your password. Select Save to save these settings and close the setup box.

Now turn on Serial (top left under menu) by pressing the slide switch to the left, and DMR in the BlueDV interface. If you can not turn on DMR then you have the same problem I did, then you have not turned your radio on correctly or turned the hotspot mode on. If you have not turned on the hotspot, see two paragraphs above. Then, make sure the radio is in VFO mode by pressing the red button, you should see two lines of frequencies. Make sure they are both the frequency you are using in BlueDV. Turn your radio off, connect the cable and plug it into the PC, then hold down the small black button above the blue button and PTT button, and while holding the button, turn the radio on. The radio should say Hotspot along the top of the screen.

It should now work. Adjust your power level on this radio and plug into a nice antenna, then you can use another DMR radio on the same frequency and you now have your own hotspot that will cover an area that your GD77 will cover.

If you put in the DStar or Fusion settings, you can cross mode across to these networks also if you use the latest BlueDV version.

For more information, here is a video I found that got me going with this project. If you look at this video from 6:34 you can see how to do it without BlueDV and using MMDVMHost instead.

I hope you have found this useful. Please see below some other similar articles I have written that might be of interest. Please leave me some feedback if this has been of some help.

Iphone won’t download photos

I get the “Device is unreachable” Error message when trying to import media from iPhone to Windows 10 PC. This was not extreemly fustrating as we had just completed an outback trip through Australia, but couldn’t get the photo’s saved when returning home.

Error Copying File or Folder – The device is unreachable

Error I got on my PC when copying files from an apple device

While trying to import photos and video from your iPhone onto your PC, I kept getting an error message.

I would go to the My-PC/AppleiPhone (or Ipad)/DCIM folder and locate the media I wanted to import. And get the “Device is unreachable” error.

Then I would attempt to copy and paste the media into a folder on the desktop. I got the error message “Device is unreachable” still.

However I was able to fix this problem by simply changing a setting on my apple device. If you have the same problem, go to Settings/Photos and scroll down to “Transfer to Mac or PC.” Change it to “Keep Originals”, not “Automatic.” This simple change in the setting solved my problem!

Further Read:

Thanks for visiting my post, I hope it helped you. Please give us a comment below if it did.

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Australian DMR Repeaters

There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country and is for Australian residents only.

It can often be hard to find which DMR repeaters are online, offline and where they are, especially if you travel a bit like me.

Here is a few links that may be of some use. Please let me know if these links no longer work.

A map of all DMR repeaters around Australia is available here.

If you want to check the status of these above repeaters, have a look at this page. It shows which ones are currently online, or offline.

Online repeater map is a great page showing all repeaters around Australia. It is well worth the look at if you are traveling or are going to be in Australia. https://www.onlinerepeatermap.com/

Another way is via the DMR database. If you put the start of the repeater call sign in the middle repeater section it will list the repeaters in your area. For example, all repeaters in my area start with VK3, so I put in VK3 in the middle callsign box and selected begins with and got a list of registered repeaters. This will work all over the world. https://www.radioid.net/database/search#!

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  • Chirp
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  • Updating Firmware
    Updating the firmware on the GD-77 can be daunting, as you can easily “brick” your radio. So be extremely careful. Make sure you understand why…
  • My Radio Diddity GD-77
    Starting in digital can be a little overwhelming to start with, no matter how many years you have had your licence.…

Upgrade to OpenGD77

This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it. The OpenGD77 project is changing and being advanced all the time. I will try and keep this page up to date with the latest, and have put some links below. Regardless, even if the displays looks slightly different, I hope this information will be a great help.

Here is just one of the improvements, and what the display looks like:

Top line has mode top left, power middle, and battery power to the right.
Line 2 has a signal meter when there is a signal.
Line 3 is the talk group line when in channel mode
Line 4 is the channel line
Line 5 is the zone and the channel number in that zone when in channel mode.

To update to the latest OpenGD77 firmware:

  1. You first need to download to the latest PC programming software. This is not the Radioddity Software, but what is called a “Community Edition” which has a few extra features, including an “extras” menu. Otherwise it is almost exactly the same as the old program. You need to download and install this software from the following link (open the install.exe file: https://github.com/rogerclarkmelbourne/radioddity_gd-77_cps/raw/master/installer/. When installing, select Normal installation, Create desktop short cuts, then make sure both tick boxes are installed so you Install OpenGD77 Comm port driver. This comm port driver means when you attach you radio via the USB cable to your PC you will see it in the Com’s area in device manager. It will open a dos window, make sure it finishes before closing it – it should close by itself.
  2. Open the software you just installed, and make sure you have opened the new community edition by checking it has an “extras” menu at the top between the View and Language menus. After checking this, you should now make sure your OpenGD77 is up to the latest stable Radioditty firmware. To do this, first download the “GD-77_V3.1.8.sql” file from here (Make sure you get the GD77 one, either latest or stable). Then you can update your radio firmware. Turn your radio off, then connect it to your PC via the cable, then hold both buttons in below the PTT button, and then turn the radio on. The radio screen will be black with the green light on only, which means the radio is in firmware upgrade mode. Now go to the Extras Menu and select Firmware Loader. Select the file GD-77_V3.1.8.sgl you downloaded then select Upload firmware to GD-77. Once complete, turn your radio off, disconnect it and unplug it. Your radio is now upgraded to the latest stable Radioddity firmware. You may not see any, or little change, but if at least now it is now stable. If you are not aware, firmware is basically the software that controls your radio, but the codeplug stores the information such as channels etc.
  3. Now you know how to upgrade your radio firmware, you now want to install the latest OpenGD-77 firmware which comes with all the features and improvements. You will be amazed at the difference. First, download the OpenGD77 firmware from this link (on this page you will see the current releases available, click on the R202## heading, then down the bottom of that screen download the openGD77.sql file). Select the stable version at this point. You may wish to go back to this page from time to time to get the latest. As per step 2, turn your radio off, plug it in, and hold down the two buttons on the side and turn it on. Now via the extra menu, select the latest firmware software you just downloaded. It will upload slightly differently this time, but the same process will happen. Once complete, turn radio off, and on again.
  4. Now you should install a new codeplug. Have a look at my latest codeplug here (hover over the middle column for more information on each one), however this is currently very basic and made for Victoria Australia. Please come back form time to time also, as I will upload more advanced codeplugs in time that will include other states and even other things to listen to outside of Amateur Radio. Once downloaded, open in the Community Software as per point 1 & 2 and you will need to put your own information in it first via the “General Settings” tab, such as your own Radio Name and Radio ID. Leave all other settings for now and customise later. If you want to change any frequencies for your hotspot or repeater, do this now, otherwise upload to your radio as per normal. My code plug has the following zones:
    • HotSpot – this codeplug now has three hotspot channels on it, one for a duplex hotspot 438.8 / 431.8 called Duplex HS, a simplex one on 439.125 called Simplex HS1 and one simplex on 439.150 called Simplex HS2 – if your hot spot is on a different frequency, either change the codeplug or hotspot. There is also a simplex direct frequency of 432.220 called Simplex_Direct.
    • CB – this is all 80 Australian UHF channels which will not apply overseas. If your radio does not transmitt in this zone, you will need to press the green button on your radio, select options, go to Band Limits and change to OFF.
    • VK3 DMR – current VK3 DMR Repeaters. If you live else ware, you will want to update this. At least this give you an example of what they can look like. All my DMR repeaters have the call sign then an underscore followed by the frequency in the name.
    • VK3 2m Analogue repeaters. If you live else ware, you will want to update this. All my analogue repeaters have the call sign then an space followed by the frequency in the name.
    • VK3 70cm Analogue repeaters. If you live else ware, you will want to update this. All my analogue repeaters have the call sign then an space followed by the frequency in the name.
    • It now has VK2 and VK4 as per above VK3 zones. The rest will come soon.
      • Please note, I plan on upgrading this code plug to have all Australian DMR Repeaters and other things, so please come back to see if there is an update, or let me know if your after one.

Your done, just 4 easy steps. Now, have a good look through the OpenGD77 online manual that is updated as the firmware updates.

Here are some things I suggest changing in the radio’s settings:

  • Press the green button and go to options then turn band Limits off. Press green button to confirm. This will allow CB etc to work. Press green button to save.
  • Press the green button and go to display options then go to brightness and I like it about 70% and change the timeout to 5s. This will help with your battery consumption. Press green button to save.
  • Press the greeen button and go to sound options and put time out beep to 5 or 10 so you get a 5 or 10 second warning before you time out. I also set Beep vol to 0db as I feel it is too loud at the standard 3db. You can also turn on DMR Beep to start so the radio will beep before it is transmitting on DMR, this way you know you are transmitting and connected while using DMR and don’t need to look at the green light. I also change FM mic to 14, this is the FM mic gain (non-digital use), as on previous firmware’s the radio mic was extreemly soft so at my request Roger did this for me so. Press green button to save.

Remember, you can always reverse everything back to the way you had it by doing the above step 2, and then uploading your original codeplug.

I also recommend looking at the OpenGD77.com page and subscribing. Roger Clark is very active on this page, so you will be kept up to date with any upgrades or issues. You can even suggest ideas here. Roger has done some great video’s also, look up VK3KKY on Youtube for some of them.

Button layout for Open GD77.  This picture was taken from OpenGD77.com and may update as the firmware updates.
Button layout for Open GD77. This picture was taken from OpenGD77.com and may update as the firmware updates.
Here is Roger’s youtube video on how to program using OpenGD77.

Any questions, please let me know.  Don’t forget to put your email address in the Follow Blog Via Email if you want to be notified of any updates. Enjoy, Ben VK3TBS.

Further Reading

So now you have done the upgrade, and have saved time changing talk groups etc, below is some more articles you may want to read about in your spare time.

First some other GD-77 articles:

Other articles:

Basic Antenna Fundamentals

A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.

Topics include:

  • What is an antenna
  • Antennas types and general usage
  • Video of Antenna Propagation
  • The Antenna Mechanism
  • Antenna Resonance & Bandwidth
  • “Q” factor
  • Directional patterns of antennas
  • Video of Antenna Directivity
  • Gain of Antennas
  • Impedance matching
  • Vertical & Horizontal Polarization
  • Balun basics, Unun & Ugly Balun
  • SWR and Video
  • Coaxial cables and feed lines
  • The Velocity factor
  • Plugs and Connectors

Open the PDF document here:

So what did you think of this document? Please leave your comments below.

Mike also wrote a document that has the full history of Amateur Radio. You can read that here.

Want to read something similar:

If you enjoyed that read, here is some more posts we have on this site.

  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
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  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
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  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
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  • My Radio Diddity GD-77
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  • Orion Push to Talk
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  • ProScan and ProScan Client
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  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
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  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The Radio Box
    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk…
  • Updating Firmware
    Updating the firmware on the GD-77 can be daunting, as you can easily “brick” your radio. So be extremely careful. Make sure you understand why…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
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Antenna fun

The History of Ham Radio

A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.

Topics include:

  • What is Ham Radio
  • Introduction Video
  • The Circuits
  • The Components
  • The Early Pioneers
  • Who Invented the first radio
  • The Amplifier
  • Modulation
  • Introduction to SSB
  • Pre-WWI
  • Between the Wars
  • During WWII
  • Post War
  • Licensing
  • Call Signs
  • Types of Radios

Open the PDF document here:

Ham Radio History

What did you think of this document. Please leave a comment below.

Mike also wrote a document Antenna’s which is also a fantastic read. You can read that here.

Other Reads

If you enjoyed that read, here is some more posts we have on this site.

  • Amateur Radio Nets
    A list of Radio nets we have gathered from web pages around the world, as well as friends etc.…
  • Australian DMR Repeaters
    There are several DMR networks around the world, and more and more start all the time. The Australian DMR network currently covers the entire country…
  • Basic Antenna Fundamentals
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • BlueDV Windows 10 GD-77
    I found it hard to find useful information on how to run the OpenGD-77 hotpot mode with Windows 10. At the time of writing this, there is a lot about this topic using a pistar and even android or ISO, but not much with Windows 10. This is my experence with BlueDV and Open GD-77 using a Windows 10 PC.…
  • Chirp
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  • My Radio Diddity GD-77
    Starting in digital can be a little overwhelming to start with, no matter how many years you have had your licence.…
  • Orion Push to Talk
    Orion is an app that isn’t really known in my world, perhaps because it isn’t available on all platforms, or because it does transmit your…
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  • ProScan and ProScan Client
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  • ProScan and ProScan Client Update
    I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.…
  • SMS via Radio or Hotspot
    One of the most underutilised by very cool feature that comes with some digital networks is the ability to send and receive SMS messages. You…
  • Software Defined Radio (SDR)
    If you don’t have one of the latest and greatest expensive scanners, you will struggle to listen to a lot of transmissions. While there is…
  • The History of Ham Radio
    A good friend of mine, Mike VK5ZC, put the information below together and asked me to put it on my web site. He has spent a lot of time putting it together with pictures and videos, so I encourage you to have a good read.…
  • The Radio Box
    How do you stop a hand held radio from falling and being damaged? Do you sometimes put the radio down on a bench or desk…
  • Updating Firmware
    Updating the firmware on the GD-77 can be daunting, as you can easily “brick” your radio. So be extremely careful. Make sure you understand why…
  • Upgrade to OpenGD77
    This page is just a help to friends I have spoke to who are interested in upgrading the Radioditty GD-77 to the OpenGD77 software. This is not my work, however I really do appreciate Roger and his team have done to put this together. I claim no responsibility if it breaks your radio, however I have not hear this happen now in some time. I am not an expert at all with OpenGD77, I have just put this together to help people who have asked me how to do it.…
  • USB Device Error PL2303HXA
    I went into the device manager and found the error, my cable no longer worked. This same issue happened to a USB Card reader also.…
  • Using an Android TV Box for Ham Radio
    If you want to get onto Digital Radio for less (way less) than $100, then you may be interested in this. I have Apple equipment,…
  • Welcome to the site
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  • WizNet DMR
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Ham Radio History

ProScan and ProScan Client Update

I recently started using ProScan after years of using FreeScan. I have always enjoyed using FreeScan as it is easy to setup, I can download outputs from the software, and the main reason “it works”. However ProScan seems to be more graphical and has different features also.

Anyway, if you go to the following website, there are several programs available.

https://www.proscan.org/

There are three software options available via the above link.

  • ProScan
  • ProScan Client
  • RadioFeed

Details on the above three are below. Please remember, this is not an instruction manual, more of a review and should help you get started.

ProScan

Installing

Installing is very simple. Simply go to the above web site and download the latest version. Then open the file. If using Windows 10, Windows will give you a Windows Defender SmartScreen warning. Simply select More Info then Run anyway. I am using version 15.4 for this review.

Installing takes seconds, and does not require a re-boot. If you have a license key then put it in, if not, you have 30 days to access the software which I think is very reasonable. A lot of Apps these days you don’t get the opportunity to check it is what you want or not.

Connecting to the Scanner

First select the scanner you are connecting to via the drop-down list. Then from the Comm Port dialog box, either select the Port, or click on the red Auto Detect button where you can then see the scanner on the list. If you don’t, then make sure the scanner is on, connected and been connected to Windows for a while. You can also press the Windows Device Manager option to make sure Windows see’s the scanner connected.

After selecting the scanner and port, press Set Selected Available Port so the port number is updated at the top of the screen. Then after setting the baud rate, select the red set box. The highest Baud Rate the scanner supports, the better reliability. After selecting set select close to continue.

It will then ask if you want to create a new database. If it is your first time, then you will want to select yes. I usually create a file with the date in the file name and the scanner model. If I ever make a mistake, then I can go back to the original file.

Once you have done this, you will get a graphical display of your scanner at the top of the screen and it will pick up where your scanner is up to. If you are using a hand held scanner, it will come up with a remote head version of the scanner. For example, my 396xt scanner looks like the UBC-RH96 remote screen. Check that your scanner model is listed at the top of the display, if not you will want to adjust your scanner model via the Scanner Type menu.

Display

There are two parts of the screen, the top graphical part (highlighted by my yellow line below), then the tab data area below (shown in red). Also, above the graphical part is the menus which go across top.

Menus

The menus available across the top of the display include:

  • Database – here you can start a new, save a current or open an old database, or scanner setup. You can also import a data base from a current file, or via a selected few web sites. Another option is to export or print the database. Last option is to exit and close the software.
    • Export / Print – this option is very customisable, where you can export to csv, HTML or Sentinel HPE file. You can also print to your printer also. You can select which systems are to be included and what information is to be included in the export or print.
  • Options – This brings up a large dialog box which looks a little overwhelming at first, but after a closer look, is actually very well laid out. The dialog box has the following tabs:
    • Start Up – simple settings are available here such as if the software is to load up the current database or not at start-up? Checking for latest version, logging history and so on.
    • General – general settings such as colours, date and time format, and other settings are available here.
    • Logging – This tab is broken up into three areas where History Grid settings are available, UID Grid settings are available, and FTO Grid settings are available.
    • Recorder – this tab allows you to customise what is recorded and what is not. Settings such as transmissions < 2 seconds can be turned off. You can set the maximum recording time, and auto delete recordings after a period of time.
    • Scanner Specific – this tab allows you to change specific details according to the scanner selected such as colours etc. Depending on the model selected, depends on what is available to change and what is not.
    • Recording Text Tags – You can select the file output and title, artist etc for each recording made.
  • Scanner Type – this menu allows you to change the scanner type should you not have the correct one selected.
  • Comm Port – you can change the comm port settings if you are having trouble connecting to your scanner. From the Comm Port dialog box, either select the Port, or click on the red Auto Detect button where you can then see the scanner on the list. If you don’t, then make sure the scanner is on, connected and been connected to Windows for a while. You can also press the Windows Device Manager option to make sure Windows see’s the scanner connected. After selecting the scanner and port, press Set Selected Available Port so the port number is updated at the top of the screen. Then after setting the baud rate, select the red set box. The highest Baud Rate the scanner supports, the better reliability. After selecting set select close to continue.
  • View – You can change how and what you want to display. You may want a small display or a normal display depending on how much screen space you have. You can also select to always be on top if required.
  • Tools – There are four options available on this menu item
    • Google Maps & Lookup – this will allow you to look up locations using Google Maps. There are a lot of settings available here, and some great things you can display or not display on the map. This includes a range map etc.
    • FCC Callsign Lookup – Here you can put in a call sign and look it up. These don’t work very well outside of USA.
    • Location Converter – Here you can convert positions to other formats
    • Remove Activation – use this to transfer your licence to another PC
  • Support – There are four options available on this menu
    • Manual – a searchable PDF manual which is a great help and well written
    • ProScan Home Page
    • Check for newest version
    • About

Download from Scanner

If you already have a scanner setup, you may want to press the download from scanner button from the Database tab then Systems tab. If the window below says database locked, then you may want to start a new one via the Database menu. Select all systems and configuration and download from the scanner. This is a good starting point to make sure the scanner and ProScan software are the same.

This post is not intended to replace the manual, it is more about getting you started and reviewing the software. The above is enough to get anyone started, so here are some things I have liked in this program.

History Logging

Under the History Logging tab is a great feature if you want to just scan a set of programmed frequencies and see how often you receive them, and what their signal was like. This is good if you want to just let the scanner just tick away. I find this option as one of the better parts to the software that other software seems to lack. For example, you could have a set of frequencies scanning for a few days, and then see how often the scanner stopped on that frequency, when the first and last time it was, and the total duration it spent on that frequency. Some frequencies are hardly used, where others like freight and transport services are more used which this report highlights.

Each column is sortable which is fantastic. So you can sort in order of Frequency, RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indicator) or time first or last time the scanner heard a transmission on that frequency. You can tick the box for Each Transmission New Row, or as I do just have that un-ticked so each frequency is only listed once, so you can see how often each frequency was heard. If you tick the Active Row In View the displayed list will always include the current active frequency on screen.

However, the best part is you can copy or move any selected rows, or all rows, to a database or another file such as a text file that can easily be imported into Excel. Now you can have a spreadsheet with all your frequencies, and next to them have data such as when you last heard it talk, what the RSSI was and so on. Frequencies change all the time, so this is a very handy feature if you are not sure if the one you are interested in is still in use or not.

You can also adjust how it is logged, via the Options menu at the top of the screen and go to the Logging tab. Here you can state the file you want to save your logs to, if you only want to log frequencies that have a signal for longer than 2 seconds and so on.

Recording Tab

This sometimes can be hard to set up in some software packages, however in ProScan, I found it very easy. You will first need to set up the settings on the Audio Control tab which has a fantastic graphical display of the usually hard to understand settings.

Database Tab

This by far is the busiest tab, and has 15 tabs within it. It is here that all your frequencies and how they are stored is saved. This page will not go into how to save and store frequencies, and how systems and groups work, as this page is more about the ProScan software.

The Systems tab is where all your frequency data is stored and is set out in a very easy way to understand. Along the top of this tab though is some options in red. While most of them are obvious by how they are named, the Get Clipboard is something that needs to seen. Here you can copy from an excel file or database, and import it easily into the ProScan software. You can set special ignorer’s etc, it is well worth spending some time here.

The Statistics option will make sure you don’t overload your scanners memory.

Source Client Tab

This is a great tab if you want to easily connect your scanner to some on-line broadcasting services such as Broadcastify, Icecast2 and SHOUTcast.

Remote Scanner Over IP

This tab is where you can be a server or client to the rest of the world. You can allow others access to your scanner if you choose to, or you can select others who have shared theirs via client mode. If you just want to use the software as a client, then you might as well get the client software which is free and just has this part of the software as part of the insulation.

Audio Control

This tab will help you set up your recording and sound into you PC from your scanner and from your PC. The settings are very well laid out in a graphical display making it very easy to setup. The last tab, Audio Scope allows you to check the audio levels also. I routed my microphone to it and could then check base and tone levels which was an added bonus.

Band Scope

The Band Scope tab is one of the best parts of this software. Simply press the start sweep red button and the software will take over your scanner by sweeping across the bands drawing a graphical display on received signal levels. This not only graphically shows you where the signals are, but also shows the amount of notice on each different band also and how much noise you may be receiving in a range of frequencies.

Band Scope Display

You can see on the above picture, the frequencies in the 53 Mhz area have a low noise level of reception, but above that the next band scanned has more. Move the graph my sliding the Window marker, then move the Marker slider to change the frequency. Press Stop Sweep to stop sweeping. You can save the data to a file also, or open one. It is a shame you can’t just press on the graph to update the frequency on the scanner, but this really isn’t a big deal.

If you want to adjust the frequencies scanned, press the Get / Set Custom Search In the Scanner button and adjust.

Updates

Under the Options menu if you go to the Startup tab there is an option to Check For Newest Version Upon Start Up And Once A Day which is a great feature as often I just leave it on for days or weeks. However, when an update is found, a pop up window as shown below will be displayed while the program continues to work as per normal until you click on next.

ProScan Update Screen

The screen has a list of what the update includes which is great. You can either install the update by pressing next or run with the current version by pressing close. If you select next if will close the program, download the update, then all you have to do is run the downloaded software and it will automatically install and pick up from where you were as if nothing has happened. Very easy for anyone.

Costs

At the time of writing this, the cost of this software is $50 which can be used on two different computers. You can deactivate it on a PC to activate it on another PC. This can be done via the Tools menu. You can use it free with all functions for 30 days though. More information is available here: https://www.proscan.org/purchase_info.html

Features

Occording to the ProScan website, the ProScan Features include:

  • Scanner Support – Supports 18 different Uniden models
  • Scanner Programming – Upload and download data to and from scanner.
  • Database – Full featured database with Find & Replace, Find Duplicates, Export and Imports data from ProScan database files, Uniden UASD database files, and RadioReference Web Service.
  • Source Client – Streams real time audio to Broadcastify, Icecast, and ShoutCast servers.  Source Client can replace Edcast/Oddcast and SimpleCast types of programs.  If you are a Broadcastify stream provider then the Source Client can be configured automatically.
  • Web Server – Servers a web page and serves real time audio and folders / files.  Audio and folders / files can be password protected.
  • Logger – Extensive logging with many options.
  • Remote Control Scanner Over IP – Control scanner remotely with streaming audio.
  • Recorder – No loss audio recorder.  Stereo or Mono.
  • Audio Flow Diagram – Shows audio flow along with the volume controls and level meters.
  • Band Scope – Great for testing antenna’s and interference tracking
  • Control Channel Data Monitoring – Monitor the trunking control channel data.  Works with XT series scanners only.
  • Sessions Manager – Manages multiple instances of ProScan running on same computer.
  • Virtual Display – With keypad and knobs emulates the scanner front panel.
  • Serial Port – Auto Detect.
  • Test Tab – Bonus items such as sending commands to the scanner and viewing returned data from scanner.
  • Tabbed layout – For easy navigation.  Each tab contains a major feature.

Model Support

According to the ProScan website at the time of writing this, the following models are supported:

  • BCT15,
  • BCT15X,
  • BC250D,
  • BC296D,
  • BR330T,
  • BC346XT,
  • BC346XTC,
  • BCD325P2,
  • BCD396T,
  • BCD396XT,
  • BCD436HP,
  • BCD536HP,
  • BC780XLT,
  • BC785D,
  • BC796D,
  • BCD996T,
  • BCD996XT,
  • BCD996P2,
  • SDS100, SDS200,
  • SDS100E,
  • SDS200E,
  • UBCD3600XLT, &
  • USDS100 scanners

ProScan is available via the above link. You can see some screen shots of the software via this link also.

Please note – we will soon be posting a review on this software.

ProScan Client

If you don’t have a scanner and are thinking about getting one, then this is for you.

This is a stripped down version of ProScan for connecting to ProScan RSOIP (Remote Server Over IP) Servers in Monitor Client mode only. Basically it is a list of peoples scanners who have chosen to share them online allowing you access to listen in to what they here at their location. The Audio Recordings and Logging features are enabled, so you can even record what you hear at your location if you want to.

You may want to share your own scanner and then you can listen to is when you are out and about and don’t have a scanner with you.

ProScan Client is available via the above link.

How to use the ProScan Client software

Once downloading and installing the software, click on the Remote Scanner Over IP tab. Select the Update button to generate a list of available published servers in the box below. You can sort the service in the box according to country and region if required by clicking on the headings. If you widen the software, or move across this box, you can see the description and type of scanner and further details of each server. All headings can be sorted.

Once you find the server you want to listen to, click on it so it appears in the boxes on the left side, then select the Start box. The server you selected may not work, details will be in the box down the bottom right. In this case select another server or try again later. When selecting a new server, make sure the server ID updates on the left side.

Once connected, the display of the scanner will update to the type of scanner you have selected.

When the scanner stops on signal, you can see it listed on the History Logging tab. You can select to list each transmission in a new row (which could end up being a lot of rows), or just list each different Talk Group ID/Frequency. The Fire Tone-Out Logging tab is interesting also if the correct frequency / scanner is compliant.

You can record via the Recorder tab. Select the Recorder button and then it will list all the recordings. Select Colors Defined to see what the colours mean. Once this is on, you can then play each recording on demand. You can adjust the Column headings by click and dragging them as required.

When you have finished with a server, select Stop to disconnect.

RadioFeed

This program will stream the audio from your scanner to Broadcastify, Icecast and Shoutcast servers. I think you can create your own web server also.

I have not used this program as yet.

RadioFeed is available via the above link.

Summary

So, what is your experience with these three software packages? Is it great for you? What would you like to see changed in the software? How long have you been using it? Do you agree with our comments? Please leave your comments below.

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