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Looking for a Panadapter "Primer"

Discussion in 'Software Defined Radio (SDR)' started by W4ATX, May 4, 2019.

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  1. W4ATX

    W4ATX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not sure if this is the proper area...apologies if it is not!

    I recently picked up a Yaesu FTdx3000 and I think I may be interested in playing around with a panadapter. I use HRD and its limited panadapter function is intriguing. However, I know NOTHING in regards to what is required. I need direction as if I am a complete noob! (I'm electronically competent...just don't have a clue about this topic.)

    So...are there any sites or manuals available that can get me up to speed?
    W9WQA likes this.
  2. W4ATX

    W4ATX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Clarification: In HRD the "bandscope" is what I've been playing with.
  3. WA0YDE

    WA0YDE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Not related to HRD, but the SDRPlay site has a primer on panadapters. You could also check out HDSDR, RTL SDR and others for general info.
    W9WQA likes this.
  4. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Wow, not a lot of replies yet.

    I've only played with SDR panadapters a bit and have used more traditional means like spectrum analyzers and analog bandscopes for years so I'm no expert here in SDR capabilities but here's what I've observed:

    - Choosing your signal tap point has a big impact on capabilities and that can vary from rig to rig. For instance I've run both SDRs and more traditional bandscopes driven from the first IF of many radios. That's convenient and gives whatever external spectrum monitoring solution you use a lot of signal to work with and protection via T/R switching. But depending on the rig it can also seriously limit the viewable spectrum on the panadapter. Tapping the IF limits how much spectrum you can view in a glance and on rigs with tighter front end filtering or preselectors it can really limit that viewable bandwidth. Tapping signals on the receiver side of the T/R relay forces your spectrum monitoring solution to work with much lower power received signals but minimizes any bandpass filtering prior to the signal tap which can allow wide frequency monitoring and even multi-band monitoring. Tapping outside the rig introduces the need to deal with T/R switching issues but can be managed if you suitably switch and or protect the front end of your spectrum monitoring receiver while transmitting.

    - My limited experience with SDR panadapters shows they can be very powerful and can support advanced features like CW skimmers that show in a glance where CQs are being called and even the call signs associated with energy signatures on the panadapter display. But your IT and basic SDR skills should be pretty good (or will get pretty good) if you go down this path. I'm primarily a hardware guy and though I've written plenty of code and can fight my way through software and network configuration when I have to, that's not the world I live in so configuring and then optimizing configuration of SDR based panadapters was really a challenge for me. It doesn't help that a lot of this stuff is open source or driven by hobbyists so software packages vary and hardware platforms vary and getting the two to play well can be a challenge for those that don't live and breathe driver updates, code patches, sampling rates, soundcard configurations, port configurations and a host of other small stuff. This stuff can all be managed and there's online help communities but take it into consideration when going down the SDR panadapter path.

    Here's some good starting points:
    W9WQA likes this.
  5. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Check out "The Lazy Man's Panoramic Adapter" in Nov. 1954 QST
  6. W4ATX

    W4ATX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for all the detailed info David! I'm working through the links you posted. I'm sure it will eventually lead to some understanding...right now it's all just "random" info spewing at me like a fire hose!

    Let me attack this from a different angle:

    I would like to hear from anybody who has an actual installation of a panadapter with a Yaesu FTdx3000. What are you using and how well does it work? Any issues?

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