Following up on my not too successful first contact with the Cubieboard, I have decided to try it one more time. It has been annoying me to have a computer board lying on the shelf not doing anything and since I wanted to migrate my Linux-based Funcube telemetry decoder from a PC to a single board computer this was an excellent opportunity / excuse to try the Cubieboard again.
About a year ago I wrote about my modified fcdcontrol application that could be used with the Funcube Dongle Pro and Pro+. The news back then was that it could be used on the Raspberry Pi to control the FCD instead of the continuously failing attempts at running qthid. Unfortunately, the fcdcontrol application often crashed due to a problem at the hidapi / libusb layer.
Although I have had a Raspberry Pi rev B for several weeks now, it wasn’t until last night that I got a chance to try it out. Since several people have reported failed attempts at getting the Funcube Dongle Pro and Pro+ play nicely with the Raspberry Pi, I decided to take it as far as I could in those few hours. The result is this very brief tech note about how to make the Funcube Dongle Pro and Pro+ work on the Raspberry Pi.
Support for RTL2832U-based DVB-T devices is available via the rtl-sdr and gr-osmosdr libraries. This also provides support for Ettus Research USRP’s if the gr-uhd package has been installed prior to compiling gr-osmosdr. A complete build from scratch that would support all hardware devices would thus include the following steps:
I have previously written about interference from FM stations on the HO-68 linear transponder. Now it appears the other satellites with linear transponders also suffer from local FM traffic by people who haven’t got a clue that they are transmitting in the satellite uplink segment of the 2 meter band.
Here is a new recording showing an updated Gqrx receiving the FO-29 amateur radio satellite using the Funcube Dongle. Previous recordings used an early version of Gqrx. It was a very quiet pass, most notable thing was probably the Russian and Spanish hams using FM. They probably don’t have a clue that their signal comes over a satellite transponder. Another video recording focusing on the FM transmissions during this FO-29 pass is available here.
I don’t think I ever posted a video showing the built-in AFSK1200 demodulator and decoder in Gqrx, so here it is. The video show local APRS traffic in Copenhagen on a Sunday afternoon. I also tried to receive from the ISS but nothing heard this time.
Here is a short demo showing how to receive broadcast FM with Gqrx. This demo uses the Funcube Dongle, which is really not suited for broadcast FM reception. Gqrx does not employ any tricks to make it sound like it works properly – it just does straightforward FM demodulation with wide FM parameters and you will hear the lack of sufficient bandwidth as distortion on some stations (not all though).
I was playing with my Funcube Dongle last Saturday testing Gqrx for the long awaited 2.0 release. I was using the Funcube Dongle together with the shortwave converter I got some time ago and a 5 meter long wire attached via an antenna tuner. Amongst all the traffic there is on shortwaves I recorded these two transmissions: UVB-76 aka. The Buzzer, and whistle like signal believed to be a radar in Israel.
Just a quick note that Gqrx now uses pulseaudio for all audio I/O, which includes I/Q input from the Funcube Dongle.