– A Worldwide Open SDR Network

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    • #1251
      Josh W4JLN

      I saw some news and discussions yesterday that I felt might be of interest to GARA members. The website is a collection of “shared” software defined radio receivers all over the world, accessible by any modern (HTML5) browser. By “shared” I mean they are hosted on the Internet by volunteers. They use OpenWebRX to offer a fairly performant SDR experience over your broadband connection, including a waterfall display, point-and-click tuning, and a variety of common demodulation modes. Up to four web users can connect to a given radio, allowing each user to tune and listen individually across the radio’s supported spectrum. The system seems mostly focused on HF (some offer full HF spectrum; others offer only specific bands but at higher performance).

      OpenWebRX Interface

      While the latest count on their site shows 19 radios available worldwide, they are looking to expand. The KiwiSDR project is currently hosting a Kickstarter funding campaign to begin mass-producing their Beaglebone-powered SDR (several prototypes of which are currently available on for listening now). A pledge of $199 gets you the first-run expansion board, designed to plug into your own Beaglebone Black or Green developer board; $299 or more gets you a more complete kit (including a Beaglebone board and a reasonably quiet “wall wart” power supply vs. the cheap, noisy ones that come with the Beaglebone and other boards). The more expensive kit also comes with a preloaded SD card so getting up and running involves plugging the board and SD card into the Beaglebone, connecting your HF and (supplied) GPS antenna, an Ethernet connection to your home network, then applying power. The system boots (and reboots) automatically into OpenWebRX, ready for you to use on your own network or, with additional configuration, shared on the Internet for others.

      Beyond just allowing users the world over to give HF listening a try, the creator hopes to use this worldwide SDR network to provide realtime propagation analysis, interferometry experiments, and many more capabilities typically available only to governments and well-funded universities. The KiwiSDR radio includes a GPSR that is used by the software to synchronize the signals in realtime to allow for such capabilities in the future.

      At the very least, if you were interested in experimenting with software defined radio but didn’t want to invest in anything more than a simple and fidgety RTL-SDR dongle / up-converter, this provides a realtime playground for Windows, Mac, and Linux users. Granted, there is a bit of lag (both in receiving the signal over the Internet and in controlling the receiver via a browser interface) that doesn’t exist with an SDR receiver in your shack on your own computer, it’s still a pretty neat experience.

      I hope you find this as neat as I do. 🙂

      • This topic was modified 7 years ago by Josh W4JLN. Reason: Added OpenWebRX UI screenshot
    • #1253
      Cameron Conover

      This is pretty cool! I didn’t know about this. Thanks for sharing with us. I’m definitely going to be checking it out.

    • #1261
      Josh W4JLN

      Less publicized but related:

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