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Author Topic: Real-time band scope and frequency spectrum display?  (Read 14923 times)
KB3TWH
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Posts: 16




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« on: December 10, 2011, 02:09:09 PM »

Right now I have a Yaesu FT-450, and I'm pretty happy with it, but I'm looking to upgrade and get something that will support a real-time band scope and frequency spectrum display.   I've been looking at the Yaesu FT-950 hooked to either the Yaesu DM-2000 or an LP-PAN.   But I wonder, what other options are available to me for doing this without spending $3000?
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K8AC
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Posts: 1465




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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2011, 04:04:51 PM »

It depends upon your skills and interests. You can use an SDR-IQ receiver, sharing your receive antenna with your transceiver, and slaving the frequency control with the transceiver.  There are a couple of ways to accomplish that.  Or, if the transceiver had a low first IF (K2, K3, Orion, Orion II, etc), you can feed the IF signal to the SDR-IQ.  The free software, SpectraVue, that comes with SDR-IQ, is excellent for the panadapter operation.  I used to use an LP-Pan, but was not satisfied with the software required.  SpectraVue supports a limited range of rigs, but that includes many of the popular rigs including the 950.  Some folks also use one of the cheaper Flex rigs and feed the IF signal to  that for use as a panadapter.  All of those approaches gets you a good real-time display.  With the exception of the Elecraft P3, all other hardware-only approaches leave much to be desired.

73, Floyd - K8AC
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NA0AA
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Posts: 1043




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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 04:25:19 PM »

All the answers in one post.

Yea, right now, if it's easy to use it's not cheap, if it's cheap, it's not easy to use.

And pretty much all of them require you to have a PC for the display.
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K8AC
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« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2011, 05:32:06 AM »

One thing I encourage you to do: when evaluating the approaches, consider carefully all the hardware and software pieces/parts involved to make the panadaptor work.  When I first started my search, I ended up with a configuration that had so many boxes, cables, programs that it became a chore just to keep everything working every day.  Some of the "free" software often froze up regularly, and eventually I was unable to get the necessary drivers for the sound card when I upgraded my operating system.  I ended up using an SDR-IQ and SpectraVue, running off an IF tap on my Orion II, and sharing access to the Orion CAT port with VSPE.  No sound card to mess with, minimum cabling and not affected by system upgrades. 
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KB3TWH
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2011, 02:36:08 PM »

Thanks for the tips.   I'm starting down the PC-based approach, am in the process of upgrading the sound card from my on-board audio to a dedicated sound card, and then over the next couple of pay days I'll figure out the next step.   I'm still tending towards the FT-950 and LP-Pan.
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WS4E
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Posts: 204




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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2011, 08:24:13 AM »

You can connect your FT-450 to a HF All Band Softrock SDR Receiver like I did here:

http://ws4e.blogspot.com/2011/07/ft-450-sdr-interface-to-softrock.html



It love this setup for very little money its great!
« Last Edit: December 16, 2011, 08:31:22 AM by WS4E » Logged
KG6YV
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Posts: 506




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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2011, 09:36:45 AM »

If you are leaning toward an FT-950 you will need to get a suitable IF output to feed any panadaptor.  The FT-950 has a very high frequency first IF (~69 mhz)  LP-pan or any other SDR will not work that high in frequency so you will need to down convert the first IF to something suitable.  RF Space which sells the SDR-IQ for use with FT-2000/FT-950 has an IF card for both radios.  Its the IF-2000.  It down converts the first IF to 10 mhz and plugs into the FT-2000 or 950 in the same slot as Yaesu's IF card for the DMU. 

I use an SDR-IQ with the IF2000 on my FT-2000D.  The radio/IF/software combination is "fool-proof" and easily configured.  It took me a whole 10 minutes to install the radio/IF card and get the software configured and running.
Unlike the LP-Pan you need no fancy sound card.  The SDR-IQ creates USB I and Q signals so the only connection to the computer is one USB cable.  It is a quick and most-excellent implementation.

FYI,

Greg
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KB3TWH
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2011, 01:38:21 PM »

Thanks for the info.   I didn't find out about the SDR-IQ until after I had bought the sound card.    I'm going to have a hard time convincing the wife to let me spend $525 for that vice $230 for the LP-Pan.    She's already agreed to the new radio, so I don't want to push my luck.
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KG6YV
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Posts: 506




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« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2011, 10:37:14 AM »

LP pan will work fine, especially since you already have the sound card.  Enjoy it!

Greg
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NI0Z
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Posts: 560


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« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2011, 12:35:03 PM »

This is my version of it, one could always change the Flex 5000 for a 3000 to reduce cost and the audio equipment is not needed really either.

http://am4l.com/stationkansas/NI0Z_FlexStation2.jpg

I am very pleased with this setup as I have touch controls ( touch screen) , VFO knobs and tuning knobs on my most important controls while the monitors serve to display the spectrum and waterfall views.  CommCat live shows me DX's, logs and provides updates on the Internet.

The thing to look out for on Panadaptors is if the display is in near real time.  Some are far better than others.

73's!
NI0Z
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KB3TWH
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2011, 01:32:58 PM »

The LP-Pan should be here tomorrow.
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KB3TWH
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Posts: 16




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« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2011, 11:17:58 AM »

The LP-PAN got here, everything is installed and up and running great, using the NaP3 software from the LP-PAN web site.  It's nice having the panadapter.
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K2CMH
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Posts: 275




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« Reply #12 on: February 02, 2012, 12:44:49 PM »

Has anyone used an FT-950 (or other Yaesu) with the IF-2000 card driving an Electraft P3 Panadapter?  I was just curious especially now that the P3 has a VGA card that will allow you to connect the P3 up to a hi-res monitor and not be restricted to the small 4" display in the P3.  One thing I like about this approach is that it does NOT involve the computer, it is a complete stand-alone hardware solution.  I already have enough apps running on the computer fighting for sceen real-estate that I am trying to avoid adding another (the SDR application).  Before someone says "get another monitor for the computer", I already have four 19" monitors in use. :-)   Also, I currently have the DMU2000, and while it is satisfactory, the features and resolution of the P3 seem to be well above that of the DMU with respect to the panadapter functionality.
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N5RWJ
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Posts: 461




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« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2012, 02:03:47 PM »

Someone should talk to MFJ , about building Pan-adapters?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2012, 02:07:29 PM by N5RWJ » Logged
WA3UOO
Member

Posts: 6




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« Reply #14 on: May 25, 2012, 02:33:02 PM »

I don't think I would buy something as advanced as a panadapter from MFJ. Come to think of it I would not buy anything from MFJ. I have had too many problems with their products and read of countless more.
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