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Old 01-05-2013, 18:29   #1
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WFAX With a Software Defined Radio -- It Works!

Note: I am copying this post that I made in the "Are all SSB Receivers crap, or is it just mine?" topic. In it we ended up discussing Software Defined Radios. This is an interesting and useful topic by itself, so I'm re-posting it as a new topic

My "FUNcube Dongle Pro+" arrived, and within 15 minutes I had it receiving WFAX. I downloaded and installed the SDR# control program, and JVComm32, then attached my ham radio dipole to the Dongle. I found the WFAX frequencies, and tuned in Point Reyes on 12.7841 MHz (remember, you have to tune the receiver 1.9 KHz below the published frequency).

Here is the dongle:



And here's what my computer screen looked like:


I started the WFAX reception on 12.7841 MHz, but when the signal started fading I switched to 8.6801 MHz. I don't have the "skew" fine-tuned yet, so the image is a little slanted. Note that in the SDR# control panel I have the "Swap IQ" box checked. For some reason the radio has upper and lower sideband reversed, but swapping the I and Q take care of that.

You can receive SSB WFAX more cheaply, but this is looking quite useful. It's sure easier to tune the signal properly than when using a Kaito SSB receiver.

You can also use this receiver to listen to SSB voice broadcasts. For that matter, you could use it to listen to VHF weather, or anything you like in the HF and VHF bands. It's not going to be a bulletproof receiver, and I see what look like spurious responses as I tune around the bands, but it appears to be a quite functional receiver. I was pretty surprised at how quickly I got from taking the envelope from the mailbox to HF SSB WFAX reception
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Old 01-05-2013, 19:05   #2
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Re: WFAX With a Software Defined Radio -- It Works!

Thanks for cross-posting this; I would have missed it otherwise.

I'm messing with the $20 DVB dongles using SDR#... I don't know if I can get WFAX this far inland, but I'll give it a try sometime.
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Old 01-05-2013, 19:40   #3
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Re: WFAX With a Software Defined Radio -- It Works!

Some, if not all, of the low-cost dongles don't go low enough in frequency to cover the HF frequency range. Let me know if you find one that does, OK? The FunCube Pro+ cost me about $208, which would buy two of the Kaito receivers.

Not having to mess with audio cables, soundcard interfaces, and touchy analog frequency fine-tuning might be worth the difference. Of course each radio has it's advantages and disadvantages. I do enjoy playing with this stuff!
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Old 10-05-2013, 22:01   #4
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Re: WFAX With a Software Defined Radio -- It Works!

Paul,
Thanks for posting this!!!

I've seen some of the DVB dongles and read the articles about using them as SDR's, but as you write some of them are not capable of HF operation, etc...

So, thanks again for this....maybe I'll have a new toy to play with this summer...

73,
John
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Old 12-05-2013, 17:17   #5
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Re: WFAX With a Software Defined Radio -- It Works!

Useful bit of kit, there. Thanks.
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