SRM_tips_01_setting_IF_capture_settings_01

SRM GUI tips and tricks series – RF record and playback

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Hi Everyone,

We at Spectrafold thought it would be helpful for the community if we provided some tips on how to use SRM – even the simpler functions. This is the first piece of this “tips and tricks” or “best practices” series. We are going to look into record and playback this time. Playback and recording will be essential for both amateur and professional SRM use.

For testing purposes I am always using the latest stable release of our software (release 20150415 at this point), which you may get from our support site: http://spectrafold.com/quadrus/support/

RF Record and playback

Looking into the RF record and playback functionality, one will quickly realize that most of the time we deal with .DSRS binary files (essentially saved samples), which are unique to SRM as an IF file type. I will cover audio recording in a separate post.

Playback

We have recorded and shared some IF spectra in a prior blogpost. Feel free to download any of them -  I have chosen 14100+-100KHz-20140316-111835-0984.DSRS, because it has a 200 kHz bandwidth.

You may open and load such a file in SRM by selecting FILE as an input method, then choosing the appropriate file from your hard drive or other location. Start playing it by clicking on ‘Start’.

SRM_tips_01_play-rec_01_dsrs_file_open

The user may freely change a number of functions while listening, for example:

Demodulation

SRM_tips_01_play-rec_02_demodulations

You may choose from the following demodulation types:

  1. AM – amplitude demodulation
  2. USB – upper sideband (single sideband) demodulation
  3. LSB – lower sideband (single sideband) demodulation
  4. ISB – independent sideband (or Kahn method) demodulation
  5. FM – frequency demodulation
  6. CW – continuous wave demodulation
  7. IQ – ‘I’nphase ‘Q’uadrature demodulation

If you are using the IF spectrogram (or ‘Waterfall’ as it’s colloquially called), you may want to understand the use of Reference signal strength and the AutoMax/AutoMin functions. You may re-shape the appearance of your waterfall with these, which is very useful to find weaker signals and to separate them from noise more effectively.

SRM_tips_01_play-rec_03_IF_ref_signal

Please note that recorded files will be played back continuously and restart unlimited times.

Recording

SRM will record into the same DSRS files, which we have discussed at Playback. Firstly, I would recommend to set up a proper folder to save into, which may be done on a per channel basis.

  SRM_tips_01_setting_IF_capture_dir_01SRM_tips_01_setting_IF_capture_dir

Then you choose the spectrum type in Control -> Recording as shown.

SRM_tips_01_setting_IF_capture_settings_01Recording will start as soon as any source starts feeding data to SRM – just hit the start button. In my case, seen below, I have been generating a known signal with the Internal Generator, to make sure I get the exact same result back.

SRM_tips_01_setting_IF_capturing_01

Saving a spectrum is quite storage intensive: a 1 minute long recording will be approximately 30 MiB with 100 kHz bandwidth. Also, note that due to longer buffering times, your file will appear somewhat later after recording. In my case, it was some 30 seconds after recording stopped. You may close SRM to ensure your file is saved.

The files follow a naming convention:

IFtoBinaryFile_CH01-20151021-192510-0710.DSRS

{filetype IF/AF_channel number-/YYYYMMDD/-/HHMMSS/-/code/}

SRM_tips_01_setting_IF_captured_file_01

Feel free to download the SRM-3000 SDR software receiver from the support page and some recorded IF files with different bandwidths from the 20 m and the 15 m HAM radio bands. Using the recordings feels like having actual receiver hardware under your SDR.

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