Thursday, September 19, 2019

Rumble: SDR# Versus SDRangel

The new "Community Plugin" option by Rodrigo Perez of SDR Chile for SDR# allows near automatic installation of more than 27 optional plug in functions to the popular software defined radio application offered by Airspy.

Upgrading versions of SDR# is now much easier for those like me who customize this software with  helpful tools such as CTCSS decoders, recording tools, signal analysis and so much more....

While all  plugins will not be useful to everyone, this does make SDR# seem fresh and able to compete with SDRangel, my favorite SDR software for off the shelf, ready to go multi purpose wireless signal exploration. Lets compare the two!

SDR# 1713+Community Package to SDRangel v4.11.9

Only very recently did Edouard F4EXB reintroduce compiled Microsoft Windows to make the use of his fantastic SDRangel software.

Attempting to compare the two is very hard, so will start with comparing the 27 plugins first against features of applicable SDRangel functions.

Lets start out with a few of the stand out plugin options that are exclusive to SDR# compared to SDRangel.

  • Plugin Calico CAT - Used for controlling radios such as the Kenwood TS-2000 
  • Plugin DDE Tracker - Dynamic Data Exchange. For those interested in scheduling activity related to tracking satellites such as weather imaging NOAA 16, 17, 19, 20. 
  • Plugin File Player - Provides the ability to play different audio or baseband files in SDR#
  • Plugin Frequency Scanner  - Offers ability to save and scan frequencies in a list
  • Plugin Gpredict Connector - Helps control satellite tracking equipment such as Az/El rotators
  • Plugin IF Recorder - Records intermediate frequency signals
  • Plugin Meteor Demodulator - Decodes Russian weather satellites
  • Plugin MPX Output - Useful for streaming FM broadcast audio with RDS signals
  • Plugin SDRSharp Net Remote -  Allows remote access and control of SDR#
  • Plugin Time Shift - Save and replay spectrum almost like a Slingbox or VCR

What is actually missing from the larger list is more detail about decoding digital voice modes such as DMR, TETRA, D-Star, Fusion/C4FM, NXDN and P25.

While the SDR# Community Plugin does add in DSD+ functionality and Tetra decoding, it is not as straight forward to use compared to SDRangel's implementation of DSD. SDRangel also adds in FreeDV and a LoRa decoder as additional "channels".

SDR# through the television plugin allows the viewing of PAL, SECAM and NTSC analog signals, whereas SDRangel only allows PAL and SECAM but also adds DATV for amateur TV enthusiasts.  These are the older analog television protocols no longer in use, so will not enable the reception of newer digital broadcast television directly with an SDR.

Final Verdict

In summary,  SDR# along with the plugin additions may create better feature sets for those interested in certain recording and signal analysis features plus better satellite related decoding or ground station control.  SDRangel does not offer any of this, but does provide some basic recording and signal analysis.

Both pieces of software really can not be easily compared since they do many things better than the other.  The big point to make is that between both pieces of software, you have almost everything one could need that appeals to a modern radio hobbyist not just looking to monitor typical amateur radio or shortwave activities which SDRuno or SDR-Console seem to appeal towards more easily.

Hopefully this article encourages further experimentation with SDR# if you have forgotten about it or have yet to try SDRangel.

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