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Author Topic: PowerSDR Development  (Read 2977 times)
W7SMJ
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Posts: 120




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« on: June 11, 2009, 11:21:45 AM »

Hi,

I'm considering acquiring a Flex and was wondering if anyone here has any experience with custom development of PowerSDR.

I know some folks have performed some development based on PowerSDR, like PowerSDR-sr40, so I know it can be done.  What I'm wondering is how hard is it to get started? What level of expertise is required, assuming some proficiency with C#, C/C++, how steep is the learning curve?

Can anyone provide some feedback along those line?

Thanks and 73,
Scott
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N9DG
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Posts: 307




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« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2009, 05:51:00 AM »

First I would get onto the email reflector discussion list:

http://mail.flex-radio.biz/mailman/listinfo/flexradio_flex-radio.biz

If you can't find the info your looking for in the archives then be sure post your question to the group.

I would also do some searching in the knowledge center for information about developing software:

http://kc.flex-radio.com/search.aspx

Note that PowerSDR currently transitioning to VS 2008, so going forward the main development PowerSDR branch will be based on that. All the binaries and source code can be found in a Tortoise SVN source control repository. The KC has all the info that you need for getting yourself setup with that. The UI side of it is mostly written in C#..

Also be aware that there is a totally "new architecture" "PowerSDR" in the works, and once that that hits the mainstream, it will greatly simplify doing you own UI interface designs because it de-couples the UI from the back in DSP/SDR code.

So definitely do some research on the above listed areas. And then dive into it and have fun.
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K7PEH
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« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2009, 07:54:19 AM »

I heard rumors that PowerSDR will be ported to Mac OS X.  Does anyone know anything about that?
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W4TME
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Posts: 299




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« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2009, 06:48:35 PM »

The rumor is false.  FlexRadio Systems has no intention of porting PowerSDR to OS X or anything else for that matter.  Someone else might do it.

FlexRadio is working on the next generation of SDR software for their radios, based on a modular design rather than the monolithic design of PowerSDR.  It is being developed so that it is platform independent (not locked into Microsoft).  The first iteration of it will be a Windows program.  I suspect that the second iteration will be OS X.
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W7SMJ
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« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2009, 11:14:31 PM »

Thanks for the info N9DG!
73,
Scott
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W9OY
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Posts: 1290


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« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2009, 08:52:02 AM »

In response to the question of Flex's openness to developing flavors of PowerSDR.  There is an active collaborative effort toward that end.

Flex has its software available on Subversioning server (SVN)  On that server is a Trunk branch, the company "test" branch several flavors of various company projects, such as the new "pretty betty" console makeover, and several branches devoted to users who are interested in development.  

The users often have specific interests like CW or system analysis like moving modules around within the software to make it work better.  The advantages of this is that as users develop things of interest they can be integrated into "test" and eventually "trunk" so all users can experience the advantage of the that persons particular development.  The development can also be collaborative, that is several experts can put their heads together and improve things.  It is a very open and forward thinking kind of philosophy as opposed to the typical ham radio company that closes development and "owns" the intellectual property

By having the company do its development side by side with others the whole process of software production is enhanced, but also as users become disinterested the forward progress continues since no one user stops the forward progress.  The relationship is symbiotic.  The company benefits from the interest and unique perspective of the user and the user benefits from the perseverance and persistence of the company in its development.  In the end everyone gains, and the state of the art is advanced.  

In addition Flex as a tier of volunteer beta testors that do iterative testing on the software, a kind of "stress the hell out of it to work the bugs out" format and occasionally users can make use of the beta testor team to tear up their ideas to find the weaknesses.

This approach of Flex Radio to product development is different than any other approach in ham radio.  Many brains working together for the betterment of the product for all users.

73  W9OY
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K7PEH
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2009, 06:38:01 PM »

It would be nice if PowerSDR took on a modular plug-in architecture such as the Eclipse IDE.  Unfortunately, given that they plan to use VS2008 and the heavy investment into C# (is this true), this is not likely.

However, a plug-in architecture if done right would enable more development because it will be easier to focus on the topic area of the plugin itself.  Also, plug-in architecture should support multiple languages although mixing Java and C# might be tricky as you would have to pick a virtual machine (I prefer JVM).
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N9DG
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« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2009, 02:52:03 PM »

"However, a plug-in architecture if done right would enable more development because it will be easier to focus on the topic area of the plugin itself. Also, plug-in architecture should support multiple languages although mixing Java and C# might be tricky as you would have to pick a virtual machine (I prefer JVM)."

Do some digging in the Flex email list archives and the knowledge base. This subject has already been discussed some time ago. Much of what you describe is very close to the overall concept for future generations of software for the Flex.
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W6RMK
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Posts: 649




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« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2009, 08:37:54 AM »

The advice to check the Flex-radio archives is good. A few cautions..

1) Take estimated schedules for "new" development environments (e.g. VS2008) with a big grain of salt. It's a tedious painful transition from one environment to the next, and essentially, there's probably one guy at Flex spending part time doing it (he also has to do other support and development). Go back through the archives for a few years, and compare plans against reality to calibrate yourself.

2) Do not expect any design documentation, other than what you can figure out by looking at the code, particularly for the DSP core. Folks are willing to answer specific questions, but general "roadmap" sorts of information is hard to come by.  "open source" means "you can get a copy of the source", it does not mean "fully documented software with support for customer development".

3) Although there has been talk of "new architecture" for many years on Flex, it's slow in coming. Yes, when it comes, it will have better decoupling between UI and radio functions, but just as #2, above, don't expect a manual with message formats or API calls. You'll need to read the Erlang code and figure out how to use the interface.

4) There's a fundamental tension between Flex-Radio, who are developing for the masses, using Windows, and the developers of the underlying DSP core, who are F/OSS afficionados and have no love for Windows. I can't think of a good way to describe this.. perhaps grudging acceptance of accommodating the windows user base.

The PowerSDR product is a very nice piece of software and provides nice functionality for the Flex platform. And, Flex is to be commended for publishing the source code and having their heart in the right place.  There are just some realities of relying on mostly volunteer developers.

73,
Jim
w6rmk
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WB2GBF
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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2009, 05:22:06 AM »

Jim,

At a high level, your SDR-1000 software documentation page < http://home.earthlink.net/~w6rmk/sdr1000/sdrdocs.htm > is still somewhat relevant.  Most of the changes that have gone into it since then are switches to support various new machines as well as eliminate support for other machines.

Pat
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N2LEE
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« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2009, 07:29:58 AM »

If this were true I would buy a Flex today ! Windows and the ever changing tide of versions and stability is the only thing holding me back.
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