Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Which is best for weak signal RDS?

In this strange world of self-isolation, I am staying on my girlfriend's farm and find myself in the fortunate position of being truly isolated in the countryside of South Lincolnshire (South Holland area) and I have the use of a lot of land. She is fascinated by my radio hobby and has been more than happy for me to erect a beverage antenna for the last few months. This will come down at the weekend and will be replaced by my flag antenna. I will also be erecting my Triax crossed FM5 array on a telescopic mast, hopefully today.

Now then, things never go that smoothly and I am finding it impossible to get RDS Spy to work. Skip the next paragraph if you don't wish to trawl through another ramble, but for the record ...

I replaced my computer's motherboard a few years ago. All radio equipment was fine under Windows 7, but I recently updated to Windows 10 and several things no longer work. My sound card is no longer supported as this particular motherboard replacement, bought from Maplin (Don't ask! There was a good reason at the time), is non-standard and there are few drivers which support it. I have had to find all kinds of complicated ways to route audio through the computer, including the use of Virtual Audio Cable, which has been a life-saver, but no matter what I do, I cannot get RDS Spy to work under the Elad FDM-S2. It's always been a problem to do this, even under Windows 7, but I always managed it somehow. The FDM-S2's own RDS decoder is hopeless and nowhere near as good as it used to be. I rivalled RDS Spy's sensitivity quite well under Windows 7, but I could only get an older version of the FDM-SW2 software to work at that time. Now, with my new Windows 10 installation, I have braved the latest edition of FDM-SW2. It crashes all over the place, so I am tempted to revert to v1.5 or earlier once again, but it's safe to say that the built-in RDS decoder of the FDM-S2 is shockingly poor, not just in sensitivity, but it just can't handle the presence of co-channel interference in the slightest. I note thins after checking some old Es files.

So, it's question time again. The latest Console v3 looks impressive and I have been getting on with it really well. The RDS sensitivity seems OK, but I'd really like to compare it to the sensitivity of RDS Spy under the FDM-S2. Does anybody have any experience of this? Which is best? If necessary, I will replace this motherboard again as I want to get the best RDS sensitivity I can.

I really need some help setting up Console again. Where is File Analyser? I can't find it anywhere. I thought this came with Console v3? If it's embedded into the software, I haven't been able to find it. I have found that there's quite a learning curve associated with Console after being used to the FDM-SW2 software, though I have little doubt which is best. I just wish I could loop a small part of a file as I could with SW2. Or can I now? The +/- 10 second button is OK, but not as useful as a precise user-definable loop.

Thanks if anybody can throw a few lights on this.
satnipper

Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by satnipper »

In V3 SDR Console File Analyser is accessed from View/More Options
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by daveB »

Where is File Analyser?
I admit to not using SDR Console very often - I've only got the Jan 7, 2020 build (was it that long ago?) - but on that version:

One the top menu bar click on View then on the menu bar that appears below the furthest rignt option "More Options" has the Data File Analyser in the middle.

It is very different to the v2 Data File Analyser - the most important bit being that it plays back the file through the Main SDR Console.

The SDR Console v3 now logs RDS data to an SQL Database and can be exported as text. And the filter options now includes an asymetric option.

The sensitivity of the RDS decoder is pretty good but not as good as RDSSpy - but I've yet to check out the very latest kit.

A reason for me not using SDR Console is that is CPU hungry - so I stick with SDR# older versions which of course can link to RDSSpy via the MPXOutput plug-in
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Thank you Stuart and Dave.

I found File Analyser, thanks to your instructions.

I also found something unexpected with Console. It is deaf compared to the FDM-S2. How can that be? I used 88.3 BBC R2 from Sutton Coldfield as a test to see if it would RDS on both software. This was noise free on the FDM-S2, but very noisy on Console. I didn't expect that.

If the RDS is not as sensitive as RDS Spy, then it seems pointless me using Console. But then, if I can't get RDS Spy working, and Console is more sensitive with RDS ... but then, Console is relatively deaf. Hmm. A dilemma. I don't see any attenuation active on Console. I really can't believe there is such a big difference in sensitivity. Am I missing something here? Is there some sort of pre-amp on Console that I haven't found yet?
satnipper

Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by satnipper »

Are you sure you are using WFM setting with 110 kHz filter and not NFM?

The receiver specific settings including gain are under the Home menu - RF Gain and Radio Configuration though I don't have my FDM-S2 here to check exactly which options are present for this rig.
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

I am using the Broadcast FM settings. Is that wrong? I couldn't get the IF filtering wide enough under standard "W-FM". Much to learn with this software of course and I'll check the Home menu after File Analyser has finished running. My overnight recording went well (I used the FDM-SW2 software). Lots of MS pings visible. I hope some of them are strong enough for RDS. Thanks Stuart.
satnipper

Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by satnipper »

No - you are right and I was wrong....

The BFM settings are correct - I've just connected my new Airspy HF+ Discovery (the bees knees btw) and tuned to a BBC Radio 2 frequency (using a Wellbrook loop - eh ho). Using WFM at 110 kHz it was noisy. Switching to BFM in the left hand side mode buttons fixed the issue straight away. However if you have selected WFM then clicking Broadcast FM in the top horizontal menu bar (under Receive) does not switch to BFM.

So - double check that you have BFM selected on left hand side mode button.

If you have and the gain settinsg look reasonable then I am stumped. Of course make sure you have the latest version of SDRC mine is 3.0.21 build 1785
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Thanks Stuart.

I have the latest version. v3.0.20 build 1773. This is a new learning curve and very different to FDM-SW2. Excellent software though.
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Can somebody please point me to the RF Gain control in Console? I don't see it in the Home menu, or any other menu for that matter.

The gain in Console is about 15 dB down on the FDM-SW2 !!!
satnipper

Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by satnipper »

The gain settings are off the Home menu. To the right of the Start/Stop buttons. However each receiver has different options exposed. I don't have my FDM-SW2 here but I still have the definition set up. I changed to it and the Gain settings I saw disappeared...

This is really odd. Maybe ask on the SRDC FB group?
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

It's not there. Maybe it's been removed in this version. Thanks anyway.
Attachments
console.jpg
satnipper

Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by satnipper »

What's the LPF Filter On (HF enabled) button? I'm assuming you don't want a HF LPF on for Band II?
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

I don't even know what the LPF filter is. I chose this setting for the zoom It was preferable to seeing the whole band in that window.
satnipper

Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by satnipper »

LPF = Low Pass Filter so you don't want that at Band II.

I would also check the ATT (attenuation) number. I think No attenuation would be highest gain but maybe worth experimenting?
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Neither made any difference. Oh well. Back to the FDM-SW2. I just hope I can get RDS Spy working.

Windows 10 is a pain. Even with the auto-driver installation/update feature disabled in the registry, Windows still manages to force its own driver over the top of the correct Realtek driver installation.
satnipper

Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by satnipper »

That's a bummer. Only other thing I can think of is to ask on the SDR Console GroupsIO group - https://sdr-radio.groups.io/g/main
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Yes, I will do. Thanks again.
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by simbeav »

What is you problem with FDM-SW2 and RDS Spy, John ?

Presume you have the Aux output device on VRX1 set to Enable Aux out, Output device to the VAC line you are using and mode WBFM MUX ?

In Windows your sound control Panel settings for the Line you are using should be 2 channel, 126 bit,192000 Hz (Studio quality) - And for some reason you have to have this set in Recording as well as playback.

In VAC - I have (using line 1 for RDS Spy
Vac.PNG
That should work !
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

Absolutely Simon. That's exactly what I've done, but it doesn't work. There are a lot of issues with my computer as my motherboard does not have the correct drivers for Windows 10. For instance, my soundcard driver is for Vista - the latest I could get and the one most compatible. But some good news yesterday - I found some new(er) drivers on the manufacturer's site so I need to do a few updates this morning. It's becoming more and more apparent that this computer is now just plain old and needs a complete overhaul, i.e. needs a new computer. I need some more pennies first. Here goes with the updates. (If you don't hear from me again, blame the new drivers!)
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Re: Console v3 / RDS Spy / FDM-S2 / Damn Windows 10!

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness »

The installation of the latest soundcard driver (2015!) has cured the problem. RDS Spy now works! Must have been some kind of conflict. VAC was obviously set up correctly and it all just sprung to life with the installation of the new driver!
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