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Surfin: Negotiating the HPSDR Highway

09/30/2011

By Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU
Contributing Editor

This week, Surfin’ considers resources on the Internet to sort out HPSDR hardware, software and firmware.

I have written about the High Performance Software Defined Radio (HPSDR) project here in the past. In a nutshell, HPSDR is a hardware and software open source project (GNU type) intended as a “next generation” Software Defined Radio (SDR) for use by hams and short wave listeners (SWLs).

According to Wikipedia, “HPSDR is built around a modular concept which encourages experimentation with new techniques and devices without the need to replace the entire set of boards.”

According to openHPSDR, “The rationale behind the project is to break the overall design up into a number of modules. Each module is designed by an individual or group and connects to other modules using a pre-defined and common bus -- rather like plugging boards into a PC motherboard.”

The project is in its sixth year and there is now a proliferation of HPSDR hardware and software, as well as future ware that is in the works. All the hardware and software options can be daunting to a newcomer visiting the HPSDR world (or even an old timer who has been out of the country for a few weeks).

This very issue came up on the HPSDR e-mail list recently and Dave Larsen, KV0S -- the man behind the HPSDR website -- offered the following comprehensive response, for a hardware “road map, I would recommend the block diagram on the openHPSDR webpage. Each word in the diagram is a link to a page that tells you more about that bit or piece. On each of the website pages is a status sections on each hardware part.

“The software is a bit harder as the each program seem to go their own way. powerSDR is a gift from Flex open source that has three ports. The simple one (supported by Bill Tracey, KD5TFD) that works, the middle one that has more features (supported by Doug Wigley, W5WC) and the diversity one, if you have two Mercury boards (supported by Joe Martin, K5SO). We also have Kiss Konsole for Windows (maintained by Phil Harmon, VK6APH). I use the ghpsdr and ghpsdr3 (written by John Melton, G0ORX) on Linux, and there is Heterodyne for MacOS (code written by Jeremy McDermond, NH6Z). There are web pages describing each; which one you should use depends on what computers you have and what you want to do.”

Also, regarding what firmware to use, Dave wrote: “The base version of the firmware are on the download page along with links to all this software and the board firmware loaders. Some authors have modified the firmware to suit their needs and they should tell you about that on their website.”

Also, Jeremy, NH6Z, offered his Dayton Hamvention slide presentation, which was an overview of the openHPSDR software ecosystem. According to Jeremy, “It has changed slightly since then, but not a lot.”

Until next time, keep on surfin’!

Editor’s note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, likes roadmaps. To contact Stan, send e-mail or add comments to the WA1LOU blog.



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