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Please explain differences in SDR software

Discussion in 'Software Defined Radio (SDR)' started by KX5ALC, Oct 7, 2021.

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  1. KX5ALC

    KX5ALC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just got a used RSP2. It will soon be time to download the software. When I went to their site, I found there were 4 under the title of SDR Software and 8 more under Other Software. I'm really a newbie here with all this stuff. I've seen the waterfall screens on YouTube videos, but that's about all I know about it. Why are there so many different software programs available to run one piece of equipment? How do they differ? Do they have different screens or do they all look the same? Completely confused here is putting it lightly!!!!! :confused::rolleyes:;)

    Any comments and insight will be much appreciated.
    KX4O likes this.
  2. AG5CK

    AG5CK Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    The programs were designed by different people, so they will look different and have different features. The best answer I can give you is to try a few and use the one you like best. I bounce back and forth between SDR Console V3 and SDR Sharp. I like that I can mute SDR Sharp with the space bar when I key the transmitter but sometimes it's buggy. SDR Console has an auto mute feature but when band conditions are good it can be problematic. When it's set high enough not to clip stronger signals it will not mute when I transmit. I didn't care for SDRuno that the SDRplay folks recommend. It works but feels awkward to me.
    K6AEA, KX4O and KX5ALC like this.
  3. KV6O

    KV6O Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are lots of email clients, Ham logbook programs, etc. They all do the same thing too, but with differences. They have different look and feels about them, different performance levels, different options available.

    Try a few out and see what you like!
    KX5ALC likes this.
  4. KX5ALC

    KX5ALC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, that's the problem..................don't know enough about them to try them out to see what I like and don't.
  5. N6YWU

    N6YWU Ham Member QRZ Page

    No different from a new ham walking into HRO and seeing a couple dozen different HF rigs up on the shelves. Which one to pick? Play with one and start learning. Or read the review sites on SDR software. SDR is all about the software. Most often, the SDR hardware does nothing useful without SDR software.
    KX5ALC likes this.
  6. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have used about 20 different versions of SDR software over the years on 20 different sdr radios.
    There were/are things I like about some more then others, and things I hate or that are missing in other programs.
    Some software is more for SWL listening, while others are more for ham use.
    Some are harder to get working, others are a snap.
    Some are geared to a particular radio and some only work with one radio.
    Almost all are free which is very nice!

    You buy one piece of hardware, but you really have 4 different radios to try as the software IS the radio....
    KX5ALC likes this.
  7. AJ4GQ

    AJ4GQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    One good way to learn and get a basic understanding is to watch the videos on the SDRPlay web site, particularly the introductory ones. Then, as others have stated, try a couple. SDRuno and HDSDR would be good choices.
  8. KX5ALC

    KX5ALC Ham Member QRZ Page

    You're the first person I've talked with who's mentioned HDSDR.
  9. KE5MC

    KE5MC Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    SDRuno is the 'native' application made for their hardware like the RSP2. The default startup will fill the screen with a number of panes. Each having its own function. Not all are needed so just work with the ones the introductory videos talk about and ignore the rest until later. Once you get the hang of it different work configurations can be made and saved for recall later. Many don't like SDRuno coming from other applications that have only one pane with many of the configurations are drop down selections. SDRuno seems messy and cluttered and it is at first.

    As SDRuno is native to the hardware nothing has to be added/installed for it to work like you will find for some of the other applications. Also all the functionally of the hardware can be utilized. RSP2 might not be a good example as I recall it only has one antenna port, but RSPdx had three and usually the other application will not be able to switch ports. Front end RF filters might be another, really not sure.

    It is really easy to make application selections that mess with getting a good signal. The typical hardware/knob radio has already been internally adjusted and set for best typical reception. With the RSP2 and SDRuno combination or any other application you can easily break the radio combination. Nothing damaging or permanent, just a 'well that didn't work...' moment.

    I started with a Funcube years ago and worked my way up to an RSPdx. I'm going to stick with that and SDRuno. There is 'better' hardware ($$$), but not sure the incremental performance increase is worth the huge jump in price.

    Good Luck!
    KX5ALC likes this.
  10. AJ4GQ

    AJ4GQ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It does everything I need and it's simple to set up and operate. The other choices are also excellent and you may prefer one of them. My point was watch the videos to get a basic understanding, get started and try some of the software, then you can decide what you like. Jump in with both feet and flail around. You won't hurt anything and you'll learn a great deal.
    KX5ALC likes this.

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