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software for decoding signals (1 reply and 4 comments)

Peter M0PWX (2E0PWX)
1 year ago

Hi, i am a new member from kent

i joined to learn more before deciding if i want to do the foundation or higher exams

i first became interested in radio at school (in the 80's), where i got bitten by the electronics bug, and computing, unfortunately then you had to pass the morse exam to get below 2mtr and all the interesting stuff and there was little computer help for decoding signals

i did a bit of CB and used to live in plymouth and did OND electronics at college, and used to go up on dartmoor and managed to get down contact into cornwall about 50 miles on a 2W legal FM rig which was way past what it was supposed to do

then moved up to kent and couldn't continue with radio, fast forward 40 years to now, and i came across these RTL dongles, which are a cheap way back into radio using various SDR sharp or cubic SDR programs, added a up converter and i am back into radio

so the advice i am looking for is around the software other use

i am interested in SSTV, RTTY, decoders for morse (i do hope to learn to read morse at some point)

so what software would others recommend for the above for a beginner, i am technical, my day job is an IT consultant, i love raspberry pi and arduino, and love tinkering, so i am not one for buying off the shelf if i can make it myself

E.G. my long wire antenna is 3mtrs of stranded copper wire, and i then stripped a 2mtr UTP cable and split it into the 4 pairs and solder the 4 pairs to the end to make about a 10-11mtr long wire antenna, found details of a 9:1 balun, found a ferrite ring and some suitable wire and made it from my scrap box and added that and getting surprisingly good results

so far i have only paid out for RTL Dongle and the upconverter and a few SMA cables and getting some good distance, heard hungarian, eastern europe, and western europe

so now looking to tweak the things as if i can do this with the cobbled together setup i have, what can i do if i do things better ?

next upgrade i am looking at is a preamp in front of the upconverter any thoughts on if this is a good option

any recommendations on software etc greatfuly recieved

thanks BC1

Pete M0PSX
1 year ago
Pete M0PSX 1 year ago

Welcome to the forum. From your post, it’s clear you’ve grasped the concepts and would make a good amateur - ”homebrew” and experimentation is encouraged in the hobby, so I’d suggest you consider Foundation. You can now take the exam from home, and we offer a free revision course (next one starts this Sunday)

As for software, there’s a lot of interest in FT8 (using WSJT-X) and you can judge activity at, which shows live reception reports.

Hope that helps,


Peter M0PWX (2E0PWX)
1 year ago

thanks for the reply

i have just found your page and will look at that with interest later

the thing i have struggle with, but now got my head around is i am using the RTL Dongle, and loading the additional software on the same machine (wxtoimg for weather satellite, psk31, cwget etc) but what i realised last night was i need a 2nd machine (that blinding flash of the obvious moment)
1 machine to run the the basic SDR software and dongle (like you would have a rig in your shack / radio room) and then that feeding audio to a 2nd machine running all the decoder software, as the software is looking at the mic input for the audio not the output of the sound card as it is written primarily for amateurs who transmit as well as receive
so now i have this obvious bit worked out i should get the next leap
i am starting to work out what signals look like on the waterfall display (LSB / USB , NBFM , data etc) but their seems to be little information out there to help with this that is easy to find
my initial reason for getting the dongle was weather satellite images and sstv from the ISS, but since found a whole new world to explore
and data mode mixed with team viewer (which allows audio as well as screen share unlike vnc) means i can sit and watch TV while exploring the world of radio without the wife complaining i am leaving her on her own :)

Peter M0PWX (2E0PWX)
1 year ago

Hi Pete

I got WSJT-X up and running, bit of help via youtube,

listening on 20mtr to stations all over EU :)

132530 -12 1.4 1617 ~ CQ F4GWY JN25
132530 -15 1.3 312 ~ VU2HIT IZ2JTL JN45
132530 -4 1.2 1389 ~ CQ F1CDD IN95
132545 -18 0.7 769 ~ E20EHQ IU2ICJ JN44
132600 -12 1.2 687 ~ CQ DL0SOP JO53
132600 8 1.2 1850 ~ SM6A G7AEY R-23
132600 -15 1.2 1390 ~ CQ F1CDD IN95
132600 -12 1.3 2201 ~ JJ1LAH OK1JB JO60
132600 -16 1.2 1716 ~ YB2TS SP5ATA KO02
132600 -17 1.7 1617 ~ CQ F4GWY JN25
132600 -20 1.0 1244 ~ Z31R IW3RPS R-22

next challenge is all the abbreviations :)

1 year ago

Look for a virtual line-in program can feed between programs.

Peter M0PWX (2E0PWX)
1 year ago


I am definitely considering doing my foundation, and probably intermediate

i am starting to get more into things and finding more and more i can do with this cheap little listening setup, i am now getting curious how far i could get transmitting :)

i have the pre-amp arriving tomorrow so should be able to pick up more signal types to decode from further afield, currently decoding FT8 signals from 2000-3000 miles

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