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Reviews For: Free DV (Digital Voice)

Category: Ham Software/Apps - Other than logging

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Review Summary For : Free DV (Digital Voice)
Reviews: 5MSRP: Free
Free DV (Digital Voice)
Product is in production
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# last 180 days Avg. Rating last 180 days Total reviews Avg. overall rating
K2RWF Rating: 2015-01-17
Really Neat Stuff Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Seriously, this is neat stuff.

Is this software/codec a miracle worker on signals near the noise floor? Absolutely not. Is it a lot of fun to play with? You bet.

After realizing that DStar on HF occupies 7kHz of bandwidth, I came across FreeDV. Free DV fits it's digital transmission within 1.1kHz of bandwidth. MAJOR difference there.

Right off the bat, you need to be familiar with your rig and your audio interface. If you're already putting out nice clean signals on JT65 or PSK31 or RTTY, then you'll be just fine setting this up. Jam as much audio as you can into your rig without driving the ALC.

Also, you really need to note what bandwidth "mode" others are using (either 1400, 1600, or 1600 Wide). Head on over to the FreeDV QSO Finder to chat with other ham's to coordinate at

Consider this a digital transmission, much like JT-65 or PSK31. This is the same as a key-down for the length of transmission. Please note the max power output for digital transmission for your rig as well as tuner. My IT-100 would turn to smoke if I put 100 watts of this through it.

That aside, it works wonderfully if you set your expectation levels correctly. You absolutely need a CONSISTENT signal. If you have an S5 signal with no fading, it'll decode just fine. You do not need a S9+20 signal for this to work properly.

Fading presents issues. And low signal levels near your noise floor just won't decode. This is certainly not JT65.

There are hams out there that will always hate digital voice. Good old analog phone still works worlds better than FreeDV.

Considering it's free and very bandwidth efficient, and the audio being clean as a whistle when you have a strong, consistent signal, it's A LOT of fun to play with.

KD2E Rating: 2014-02-09
Fail Time Owned: more than 12 months.
Listening to a DV qso as I type. Signal is S8 to 9. The decode is about 20%. I get a few words now and then, but unless the signal is about 20db...It is only making things worse.
Fun to play with, but totally useless at the moment!
WA0TPN Rating: 2013-12-07
Good Experience Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
A friend sent me a USB digital headset and suggested that I try FreeDV. I had it downloaded, installed, configured, and working with no difficulty in 30 minutes or less. I first spoke the word "test" on 14.236 mhz and a fellow in Texas immediately answered. Within a couple of hours I had at least 8 digital voice QSO's around the country. 4 of the local hams are now using FreeDV. We are having a lot of fun with digital voice. The program is easy to download, setup, and it works great. Stations currently setup for any digital mode, PSK, RTTY, SSTV, etc. can be on digital voice mode with FreeDV in just a few minutes. And...the cost is zero.
N9RES Rating: 2013-11-30
Terrible Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
Digital voice is a joke, as the other reviewer said, works great on strong signals. Well if the signal is strong why do I need digital? I've used FDMDV and Windrm and both at least work. Free DV works for some it seems. Didn't work at all for me. This is the worst software I have EVER used for digital. This software could not even decode it's own signal. I wouldn't waste my time on this one. There are much better options out there. Which would be the software that's been out there for years, that WORKS. FDMDV and WinDRM.
KB3FXI Rating: 2013-04-02
Free Digital Voice Time Owned: 0 to 3 months.
This is yet another impressive free software package for amateur radio.
I got up and running with Free DV in just a few minutes. It took a few days to find someone for a qso, but first shot worked great.
I'm sure the mode won't do well on a weak or noisy HF path, but the audio sounded great on a 20 over path. Very cool stuff.