Radio/Amateur Radio Software
There are a lot of available apps and software for radio, scanner, amateur radio out there. Listed here are ones that I have tried, used, or still using. Software and links are to Windows based software, unless otherwise specified.
APRSISCE/32 is an advanced Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) Client for Amateur Radio, written for Windows (x86 and x64) and Windows Mobile (CE). It will also run on Linux and Mac OS under WINE, as well as other virtual machines. APRSISCE/32 can be configured to run connected directly to the APRS-IS via an internet connection, as well as connected to the APRS-RF network via software modems such as UZ7HO Sound Modem, Dire Wolf or AGWPE, using a TNC, or one of the APRS capable Radios including the Kenwood TH-D72/TM-D710 and Yaesu FTM-350.
APRSISCE/32 is a sophisticated Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS) client, which unlike many other clients aims to accurately implement the entire APRS specification. And make allowances for those clients that do not. The software also includes many advanced features, that other APRS software do not have.
APRSISCE/32 is under active development, and the development version is regularly updated and also freely available, New users are encouraged to use the general release version until they are familiar with the software.
EchoLink® software allows licensed Amateur Radio stations to communicate with one another over the Internet, using streaming-audio technology. The program allows worldwide connections to be made between stations, or from computer to station, greatly enhancing Amateur Radio’s communications capabilities. There are more than 200,000 validated users worldwide — in 151 of the world’s 193 nations — with about 6,000 online at any given time.
EchoLink is a full-featured software package with many important and useful features.
SDR# (pronounced “SDR Sharp”) is the most popular free RTL-SDR compatible software in use at the moment. It is relatively simple to use compared to other SDR software and has a simple set up procedure. SDR# is designed to be use with the $199 Airspy SDR, but works just fine with the RTL-SDR.
SDR# is a simple to use program that also has some advanced features. It has a useful modular plugin type architecture, and many plugins have already been developed by third party developers. The basic SDR# download without any third party plugins includes a standard FFT display and waterfall, a frequency manager, recording plugin and a digital noise reduction plugin. SDR# also decodes RDS signals from broadcast FM.
HDSDR is based on the old WinRAD SDR program. HDSDR supports the RTL-SDR through use of an ExtIO.dll module. To install HDSDR, download the program from the link on the main HDSDR page, then to use the RTL-SDR you will need to download the ExtIO_RTL2832.dll file an place it into the HDSDR folder. When opening HDSDR, select the newly copied ExtIO_RTL2832.dll. The other dlls that come with HDSDR will not work with the RTL-SDR, even though they have RTL-SDR in their filename. The official installation instructions can be found here.
Along with a FFT display and waterfall, HDSDR has some extra advanced features. Users will also find an Audio FFT and waterfall display on the bottom of the screen. The output audio can also be bandpass filtered by dragging the filter borders on the display. Bandpass filtering the audio can really help clean up a noisy signal. The audio processing also supports placing of notch filters either manually or automatically. There are also noise reduction and noise blanker features and an automatic frequency centering algorithm which will automatically center the signal, so you don’t need to click exactly in the center of a signal. Traditional ham radio users will also enjoy the S-units signal strength meter and the built in frequency manager.
Satellite Tracking Software
There are numerous satellite tracking programs out there and they are all very nice programs. But there are those that stand out as some of the best. Below are some of the programs that I believe are well worth your time to look into. Take a look at them and see if they are right for you.
David Ransom Software
STSORBIT PLUS, usually known as STSPLUS, is intended for use during Space Shuttle missions and for general satellite tracking using NASA/NORAD 2-Line Orbital Elements. One primary satellite and up to 32 additional “static” or “real time” satellites may be simultaneously tracked in real time on most computers.
David Ransom’s site was reported non-operational as of December 1, 2006 – David passed away on November 5th, 2006. As a tribute to Dave and his hard work for NASA, USAF, Amateur Radio operators and every satellite tracker, David Cottle and myself have made the full STSPlus package available to all.
You can get the entire package here.
WXtrack is designed to predict the tracks of satellites both as paths above the earth, and as images produced by these satellites when scanning the ground. WXtrack is used by many Universities and satellite enthusiasts across the world, and is also used with the industry. WXtrack can drive a number of popular antenna tracking systems.
Orbitron is a satellite tracking system for radio amateur and observing purposes. It’s also used by weather professionals, satellite communication users, astronomers, UFO hobbyist and even astrologers. Orbitron shows the positions of satellites at any given moment (in real or simulated time). Orbitron is available for Windows, but can be operated on Linux via Wine.
Sebastian Stoff has done a great job on taking satellite tracking to the next level. Even though satellite tracking hsn’t really changed much through the years, Sebastian has given it a new look. I have been very proud to help Sebastian with a very small part on his project, by providing the satellite information.
After taking some time off, Sebastian has returned and is looking at improving his very popular software. He is even looking at a new web based project as well. For more information, please visit his site or his new forum by clicking here .
Gpredict is a real-time satellite tracking and orbit prediction application. It can track an unlimited number of satellites and display their position and other data in lists, tables, maps, and polar plots (radar view). Gpredict can also predict the time of future passes for a satellite, and provide you with detailed information about each pass.
Gpredict is different from other satellite tracking programs in that it allows you to group the satellites into visualisation modules. Each of these modules can be configured independently from the others giving you unlimited flexibility concerning the look and feel of the modules. Naturally, Gpredict will also allow you to track satellites relatively to different observer locations – at the same time.
Gpredict is available for Linux and Windows operating systems.
Two-Line Element Files – TLE
The following information provided by numerous sources that is updated on a almost daily basis.
- Dave Cottle’s TLE files available at http://www.tle.info
- Secondary site TLE files available at http://www.idb.com.au/files/tle_data/
Operated by David Cottle. Aus-City has provided a forum, that not only provides the latest space related information, but also provides a place for you to ask questions and participate in the ongoing, near-real time discussions. Aus-City has provides satellite two line elements (TLE’s) via the TLE.INFO web site. The TLE’s are update every 6 hours.
** As of April 21, 2006 – Aus-City joined a small elite group that has received permission from Space Command / DoD to re-distribute TLEs. **
Not only is Aus-City.com authorized to redistribute (via the tle.info site gateway), but idb.com.au also has received permission to re-distribute, and also has authority to re-distribute by email as well!
Operated by Dr. T.S. Kelso since 1985, CelesTrak has established a credible reputation worldwide for providing educational materials and standard data to the space community such as two-line element sets, earth orientation parameters, solar weather data, geomagnetic indices, precision orbit ephemerides, and associated models and documentation.
“On May of 2001, ScannerDesk/SpaceLodge had been selected by “The Ol’ Pad Rat” for the coveted and selective “Pad Rat Award for Launch-Quality Space Pages” . “Pad Rat” has been used as a colloquial term for those Cape Canaveral/KSC Launch Processing folks who exemplify exceptional devotion to Safety, Reliability and Quality in Launch Facility and Processing matters, Spacecraft Hardware, and to the Flight and Ground Support Personnel who work with and/or fly in The Manned Space Programs. A “Pad Rat” (The omnipresent “Ghost” of a 1960’s version appears in the Award), spent so much time, usually above and beyond the required, at the Pad or other Processing facilities, that they were barely discernible from the other resident denizens. Some say they still “haunt” the premises.
ScannerDesk/SpaceLodge’s Space page exhibits a quality of positive Space Program promotion and an accuracy of presentation that “The Ol’ Pad Rat” feels is deserving of this “Pad Rat” award..”