Cross Country Wireless Sentinel SDR program with noise measurement
The Sentinel SDR program is designed to work with our Sentinel 2 SDR receiver and our new Sentry 5 SDR transceiver under development.
The program sends and receives commands using CAT control emulating the Elecraft K3 transceiver over a USB serial port link.
The program has some interesting features. As the Sentinel 2 is a true zero IF receiver clicking on the display moves the frequency of interest to the centre of the display. The display is 48 kHz wide and there is a zoom facility to enlarge the display to 12 kHz wide with greater resolution. This is particularly useful for CW operation as clicking on a CW signal moves it into the filter which can be a narrow as 50 Hz. A fine tuning knob with 10 Hz steps is perfect for precision tuning and is ideal for use with touchscreens and mouse operation. In addition frequency entries can be made by typing the frequency into any of the Memory, VFO-A or VFO-B text boxes and clicking recall or update. In Memory 1, 2 and 3 clicking on Save saves the current frequency for later use. Transceiver split or crossband operation is already ready for use. Options to pause the display to save CPU cycles and change the display colour to black and white are also included. A UTC clock in the top program bar and a button to the latest Space Weather bulletin complete the program features.
The program is designed for all versions of Windows from XP to 10 and has the facility to make and report RF noise measurements for the RSGB noise measurement program .
This receiver and program are designed to replace the original Sentinel SDR receiver. The receiver was designed to accurately measure the HF noise floor and send telemetry reports by APRS.
The Sentinel 2 receiver and Sentinel SDR program also works well as a general purpose SDR receiver covering 0.85 to 70.5 MHz.
Recent telemetry reports from a prototype receiver can be viewed here.
The software scans five HF frequencies and provides the peak, median and minimum levels of 500 measurements per frequency every 10 minutes. The receiver bandwidth is 500 Hz.
The five frequencies monitored are:
3.499 MHz just below the 80m amateur band
5.258 MHz just below the 60m amateur allocation
6.999 MHz just below the 40m amateur band
10.090 MHz an unused frequency in the aeronautical mobile allocation
13.400 MHz in the radio astronomy allocation
As the receiver uses a built-in sound card the calibration is independent of the PC used and it will be supplied with calibration information traceble back to National Standards. This will allow the RF level and frequency measurements to be calibrated to a professional standard.
The program uses CAT control emulating an Elecraft K3 over a USB serial port. The program runs on Windows XP, 7, 8 and 10 with a low CPU load so that older PCs and laptops can be used.
The current version of the program can be downloaded free of charge here .
This is a link to our CloudMe folder allowing the files included on the CD shipped with each receiver to be downloaded here .
A FAQ sheet for the Sentinel 2 receiver can be downloaded here.
This development ties in with the Noise Measuring Campaign launched by Gwyn Williams, G4FKH of the RSGB Propagation Studies Committee. The Noise Measuring Campaign records HF noise levels regularly recorded by many participating radio amateurs.
This development will add a number of calibrated noise measuring receivers to provide additional information to the project.
More information on the Noise Measuring Campaign is available here.
The Sentinel 2 receiver set-up FAQ sheet can be downloaded as a PDF file here .
The Sentinel 2 USB driver installer can be downloaded as a zip file here . The USB driver can also be loaded via Windows Update.
Contact Chris Moulding, G4HYG via Email address hidden from spambots for more details. This software is based on the SDRConsole source code written by Gerald Youngblood, K5SDR under the GNU General Public License. A copy of the Sentinel 2 source code is available on request under the same license.
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