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Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive

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  • madskilz929
    Hello, I have an optiplex GX280 Dell PC. It came with an integrated sound card. I have set up the driver and HDSDR software. With the ensemble 2 plugged into
    Message 1 of 16 , Mar 2, 2013
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      Hello,

      I have an optiplex GX280 Dell PC. It came with an integrated sound card. I have set up the driver and HDSDR software. With the ensemble 2 plugged into the USB and starting the HDSDR I see lots of noise. Mind you I have not plugged in any audio cables yet....just USB cable.

      The noise is considerable. When I connect everything up I can hear strong stations with static but the ones I hear on my HAM radio I can not hear on this radio.

      Is the noise from the sound card? How can I test the sound card to see if the noise floor is from the card or radio?

      thanks
      Nick
    • Adam Jacobs
      It sounds to me like you re listening to the noisefloor on the integrated soundcard. There are a couple of problems with this: 1) Integrated soundcards aren t
      Message 2 of 16 , Mar 2, 2013
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        It sounds to me like you're listening to the noisefloor on the integrated soundcard. There are a couple of problems with this:

        1) Integrated soundcards aren't very good. Motherboard manufacturers make a lot of compromises when they're integrating peripherals. The worst are the integrated soundcards on older computers like that GX280.

        2) You don't have the receiver plugged into the audio input, so you're not seeing anything that is coming from the receiver... You're only looking at audiocard noise. 

        Why haven't you plugged the receiver into the soundcard?

        -Adam W7QI


        On Sat, Mar 2, 2013 at 8:03 PM, madskilz929 <madskilz929@...> wrote:
         

        Hello,

        I have an optiplex GX280 Dell PC. It came with an integrated sound card. I have set up the driver and HDSDR software. With the ensemble 2 plugged into the USB and starting the HDSDR I see lots of noise. Mind you I have not plugged in any audio cables yet....just USB cable.

        The noise is considerable. When I connect everything up I can hear strong stations with static but the ones I hear on my HAM radio I can not hear on this radio.

        Is the noise from the sound card? How can I test the sound card to see if the noise floor is from the card or radio?

        thanks
        Nick


      • warrenallgyer
        High Nick With no audio cables plugged in the computer is likely using an onboard microphone and picking up room noise. The signals coming from the Ensemble
        Message 3 of 16 , Mar 2, 2013
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          High Nick

          With no audio cables plugged in the computer is likely using an onboard microphone and picking up room noise. The signals coming from the Ensemble are simple audio signals and whatever you have selected on the PC Audio input will be displayed on the HDSDR sceen with the low frequencies at the center of the screen and high frequencies further out on each side. As a test, just talk.... I am guessing you will see the HDSDR noise jump with your speech.

          You will need to mute this microphone and then make sure the "Record" device is set to "Line In" to see signals from your Ensemble.

          Warren Allgyer - W8TOD

          --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hello,
          >
          > I have an optiplex GX280 Dell PC. It came with an integrated sound card. I have set up the driver and HDSDR software. With the ensemble 2 plugged into the USB and starting the HDSDR I see lots of noise. Mind you I have not plugged in any audio cables yet....just USB cable.
          >
          > The noise is considerable. When I connect everything up I can hear strong stations with static but the ones I hear on my HAM radio I can not hear on this radio.
          >
          > Is the noise from the sound card? How can I test the sound card to see if the noise floor is from the card or radio?
          >
          > thanks
          > Nick
          >
        • Alan
          ... Subject: [softrock40] Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive ... Nick, Just about any soundcard will be good enough, at least for testing. As Warren says,
          Message 4 of 16 , Mar 2, 2013
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            ----- Original Message -----
            Subject: [softrock40] Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive


            >
            > I have an optiplex GX280 Dell PC. It came with an integrated sound card. I have set up the driver and HDSDR software. With the
            > ensemble 2 plugged into the USB and starting the HDSDR I see lots of noise. Mind you I have not plugged in any audio cables
            > yet....just USB cable.
            >
            > The noise is considerable. When I connect everything up I can hear strong stations with static but the ones I hear on my HAM radio
            > I can not hear on this radio.
            >
            > Is the noise from the sound card? How can I test the sound card to see if the noise floor is from the card or radio?
            >

            Nick,

            Just about any soundcard will be good enough, at least for testing.
            As Warren says, mixer settings may be at fault.
            You must use a stereo Line Input.
            And the Softrock needs a good antenna to work properly, a short piece of wire will produce results you describe.
            Bad cables will pick up noise.
            What noise level does HDSDR show?

            73 Alan G4ZFQ
          • madskilz929
            I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and comments. Alan, I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and
            Message 5 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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              I want to thank everyone for their suggestions and comments.

              Alan,

              I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.

              I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
              So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.

              Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?

              Best Regards,

              Nick

              --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > Subject: [softrock40] Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
              >
              >
              > >
              > > I have an optiplex GX280 Dell PC. It came with an integrated sound card. I have set up the driver and HDSDR software. With the
              > > ensemble 2 plugged into the USB and starting the HDSDR I see lots of noise. Mind you I have not plugged in any audio cables
              > > yet....just USB cable.
              > >
              > > The noise is considerable. When I connect everything up I can hear strong stations with static but the ones I hear on my HAM radio
              > > I can not hear on this radio.
              > >
              > > Is the noise from the sound card? How can I test the sound card to see if the noise floor is from the card or radio?
              > >
              >
              > Nick,
              >
              > Just about any soundcard will be good enough, at least for testing.
              > As Warren says, mixer settings may be at fault.
              > You must use a stereo Line Input.
              > And the Softrock needs a good antenna to work properly, a short piece of wire will produce results you describe.
              > Bad cables will pick up noise.
              > What noise level does HDSDR show?
              >
              > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
              >
            • Alan
              ... Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive ... Nick, If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated. ... As I
              Message 6 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                ----- Original Message -----
                Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive



                >
                > I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no
                > mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.
                >

                Nick,

                If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated.

                > I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
                > So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.
                >
                > Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?
                >

                As I said, I think it is very unlikely for you to have a card that is totally unusable. How does it seem if you feed music into it?
                What do you see when you connect the Softrock? At least strong signals should be seen and heard unless the card is faulty.
                You have setup the USB driver?
                Have you looked at my pages, especially mixer settings?
                What happens when you adjust the input slider?
                But if you want try any USB device if it has stereo line input. I say again virtually no card is totally useless.

                73 Alan G4ZFQ
              • madskilz929
                Hello Alan, Today skip rolled in on 11m & 10m. I was able to hear the SQ calls from just about everywhere using my 10m vertical. The signals that made it
                Message 7 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                  Hello Alan,

                  Today skip rolled in on 11m & 10m. I was able to hear the SQ calls from just about everywhere using my 10m vertical. The signals that made it through were better than S7 going into the red 20+. Signals below S7 got buried in the noise floor of the sound card.

                  When I disconnect the audio line-in cable from the pc and run the HDSDR software, the noise floor is S7....there is really nothing else that could be generating that kind of signal no matter the band selected in the HDSDR. All sound options were selected or disabled in the integrated sound configuration software for both record and playback. Even when I disable all inputs into the sound card the noise floor is still there at S7.

                  I am sorry, I must have missed your calibration info, please forward to me. Thanks.


                  Best Regards,
                  Nick



                  --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > ----- Original Message -----
                  > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > >
                  > > I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no
                  > > mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.
                  > >
                  >
                  > Nick,
                  >
                  > If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated.
                  >
                  > > I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
                  > > So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.
                  > >
                  > > Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?
                  > >
                  >
                  > As I said, I think it is very unlikely for you to have a card that is totally unusable. How does it seem if you feed music into it?
                  > What do you see when you connect the Softrock? At least strong signals should be seen and heard unless the card is faulty.
                  > You have setup the USB driver?
                  > Have you looked at my pages, especially mixer settings?
                  > What happens when you adjust the input slider?
                  > But if you want try any USB device if it has stereo line input. I say again virtually no card is totally useless.
                  >
                  > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                  >
                • warrenallgyer
                  Nick I find an S7 indication on HDSDR is very normal. I cannot explain it but it seems to have no bearing on the actual noise floor of your card. The level
                  Message 8 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                    Nick

                    I find an S7 indication on HDSDR is very normal. I cannot explain it but it seems to have no bearing on the actual noise floor of your card.

                    The level indications on the spectrum display are a better indication of the true noise floor of both your card and the antenna noise.

                    In order to calibrate HDSDR you need to inject and tune a signal of known strength into the receiver. Then click on Options/Misc Options/S-Meter Calibration. Accept the instructions and then right click on the S meter at the point equal to the level of the known signal. Do it as often as necessary to get it exactly where you want it. Left click to end the calibration. I find it easier to use the two Spectrum sliders to expand and center the scale vertically.

                    Once the calibration is done the baseline of the spectrum display will be a good indication of the noise floor of your sound card.

                    Note that this "visual noise floor" will not match the definition of noise floor found in the ARRL handbook unless both the resolution bandwidth and the filter bandwidth settings are the same as used in the standard.

                    Alan would have told you similarly if he were still awake. :-)

                    Warren Allgyer - W8TOD

                    --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > Hello Alan,
                    >
                    > Today skip rolled in on 11m & 10m. I was able to hear the SQ calls from just about everywhere using my 10m vertical. The signals that made it through were better than S7 going into the red 20+. Signals below S7 got buried in the noise floor of the sound card.
                    >
                    > When I disconnect the audio line-in cable from the pc and run the HDSDR software, the noise floor is S7....there is really nothing else that could be generating that kind of signal no matter the band selected in the HDSDR. All sound options were selected or disabled in the integrated sound configuration software for both record and playback. Even when I disable all inputs into the sound card the noise floor is still there at S7.
                    >
                    > I am sorry, I must have missed your calibration info, please forward to me. Thanks.
                    >
                    >
                    > Best Regards,
                    > Nick
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > ----- Original Message -----
                    > > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
                    > >
                    > >
                    > >
                    > > >
                    > > > I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no
                    > > > mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > > Nick,
                    > >
                    > > If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated.
                    > >
                    > > > I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
                    > > > So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.
                    > > >
                    > > > Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?
                    > > >
                    > >
                    > > As I said, I think it is very unlikely for you to have a card that is totally unusable. How does it seem if you feed music into it?
                    > > What do you see when you connect the Softrock? At least strong signals should be seen and heard unless the card is faulty.
                    > > You have setup the USB driver?
                    > > Have you looked at my pages, especially mixer settings?
                    > > What happens when you adjust the input slider?
                    > > But if you want try any USB device if it has stereo line input. I say again virtually no card is totally useless.
                    > >
                    > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                    > >
                    >
                  • warrenallgyer
                    Sorry! Got my clicks backward. As per the instructions: Left click to set the level and right click to exit the setup.
                    Message 9 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                      Sorry! Got my clicks backward. As per the instructions: Left click to set the level and right click to exit the setup.

                      --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "warrenallgyer" <allgyer@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Nick
                      >
                      > I find an S7 indication on HDSDR is very normal. I cannot explain it but it seems to have no bearing on the actual noise floor of your card.
                      >
                      > The level indications on the spectrum display are a better indication of the true noise floor of both your card and the antenna noise.
                      >
                      > In order to calibrate HDSDR you need to inject and tune a signal of known strength into the receiver. Then click on Options/Misc Options/S-Meter Calibration. Accept the instructions and then right click on the S meter at the point equal to the level of the known signal. Do it as often as necessary to get it exactly where you want it. Left click to end the calibration. I find it easier to use the two Spectrum sliders to expand and center the scale vertically.
                      >
                      > Once the calibration is done the baseline of the spectrum display will be a good indication of the noise floor of your sound card.
                      >
                      > Note that this "visual noise floor" will not match the definition of noise floor found in the ARRL handbook unless both the resolution bandwidth and the filter bandwidth settings are the same as used in the standard.
                      >
                      > Alan would have told you similarly if he were still awake. :-)
                      >
                      > Warren Allgyer - W8TOD
                      >
                      > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@> wrote:
                      > >
                      > > Hello Alan,
                      > >
                      > > Today skip rolled in on 11m & 10m. I was able to hear the SQ calls from just about everywhere using my 10m vertical. The signals that made it through were better than S7 going into the red 20+. Signals below S7 got buried in the noise floor of the sound card.
                      > >
                      > > When I disconnect the audio line-in cable from the pc and run the HDSDR software, the noise floor is S7....there is really nothing else that could be generating that kind of signal no matter the band selected in the HDSDR. All sound options were selected or disabled in the integrated sound configuration software for both record and playback. Even when I disable all inputs into the sound card the noise floor is still there at S7.
                      > >
                      > > I am sorry, I must have missed your calibration info, please forward to me. Thanks.
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > Best Regards,
                      > > Nick
                      > >
                      > >
                      > >
                      > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@> wrote:
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > ----- Original Message -----
                      > > > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > >
                      > > > > I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no
                      > > > > mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > Nick,
                      > > >
                      > > > If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated.
                      > > >
                      > > > > I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
                      > > > > So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.
                      > > > >
                      > > > > Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?
                      > > > >
                      > > >
                      > > > As I said, I think it is very unlikely for you to have a card that is totally unusable. How does it seem if you feed music into it?
                      > > > What do you see when you connect the Softrock? At least strong signals should be seen and heard unless the card is faulty.
                      > > > You have setup the USB driver?
                      > > > Have you looked at my pages, especially mixer settings?
                      > > > What happens when you adjust the input slider?
                      > > > But if you want try any USB device if it has stereo line input. I say again virtually no card is totally useless.
                      > > >
                      > > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                      > > >
                      > >
                      >
                    • madskilz929
                      Hello Warren, Great! I will drag my HP signal generator into the house (when my wife is away...LOL ) it has a direct programmable menu..dial it to -73dbm for
                      Message 10 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                        Hello Warren,

                        Great! I will drag my HP signal generator into the house (when my wife is away...LOL ) it has a direct programmable menu..dial it to -73dbm for S9 ( i think this is the correct value).

                        Best Regards,
                        Nick



                        --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "warrenallgyer" <allgyer@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Sorry! Got my clicks backward. As per the instructions: Left click to set the level and right click to exit the setup.
                        >
                        > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "warrenallgyer" <allgyer@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > Nick
                        > >
                        > > I find an S7 indication on HDSDR is very normal. I cannot explain it but it seems to have no bearing on the actual noise floor of your card.
                        > >
                        > > The level indications on the spectrum display are a better indication of the true noise floor of both your card and the antenna noise.
                        > >
                        > > In order to calibrate HDSDR you need to inject and tune a signal of known strength into the receiver. Then click on Options/Misc Options/S-Meter Calibration. Accept the instructions and then right click on the S meter at the point equal to the level of the known signal. Do it as often as necessary to get it exactly where you want it. Left click to end the calibration. I find it easier to use the two Spectrum sliders to expand and center the scale vertically.
                        > >
                        > > Once the calibration is done the baseline of the spectrum display will be a good indication of the noise floor of your sound card.
                        > >
                        > > Note that this "visual noise floor" will not match the definition of noise floor found in the ARRL handbook unless both the resolution bandwidth and the filter bandwidth settings are the same as used in the standard.
                        > >
                        > > Alan would have told you similarly if he were still awake. :-)
                        > >
                        > > Warren Allgyer - W8TOD
                        > >
                        > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@> wrote:
                        > > >
                        > > > Hello Alan,
                        > > >
                        > > > Today skip rolled in on 11m & 10m. I was able to hear the SQ calls from just about everywhere using my 10m vertical. The signals that made it through were better than S7 going into the red 20+. Signals below S7 got buried in the noise floor of the sound card.
                        > > >
                        > > > When I disconnect the audio line-in cable from the pc and run the HDSDR software, the noise floor is S7....there is really nothing else that could be generating that kind of signal no matter the band selected in the HDSDR. All sound options were selected or disabled in the integrated sound configuration software for both record and playback. Even when I disable all inputs into the sound card the noise floor is still there at S7.
                        > > >
                        > > > I am sorry, I must have missed your calibration info, please forward to me. Thanks.
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > Best Regards,
                        > > > Nick
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > >
                        > > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@> wrote:
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                        > > > > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no
                        > > > > > mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > Nick,
                        > > > >
                        > > > > If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > > I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
                        > > > > > So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.
                        > > > > >
                        > > > > > Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?
                        > > > > >
                        > > > >
                        > > > > As I said, I think it is very unlikely for you to have a card that is totally unusable. How does it seem if you feed music into it?
                        > > > > What do you see when you connect the Softrock? At least strong signals should be seen and heard unless the card is faulty.
                        > > > > You have setup the USB driver?
                        > > > > Have you looked at my pages, especially mixer settings?
                        > > > > What happens when you adjust the input slider?
                        > > > > But if you want try any USB device if it has stereo line input. I say again virtually no card is totally useless.
                        > > > >
                        > > > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                        > > > >
                        > > >
                        > >
                        >
                      • madskilz929
                        Or maybe I can disconnect the line-in cable and dial the S-meter down to 0? Would that work for calibration? Nick
                        Message 11 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                          Or maybe I can disconnect the line-in cable and dial the S-meter down to 0? Would that work for calibration?

                          Nick

                          --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Hello Warren,
                          >
                          > Great! I will drag my HP signal generator into the house (when my wife is away...LOL ) it has a direct programmable menu..dial it to -73dbm for S9 ( i think this is the correct value).
                          >
                          > Best Regards,
                          > Nick
                          >
                          >
                          >
                          > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "warrenallgyer" <allgyer@> wrote:
                          > >
                          > > Sorry! Got my clicks backward. As per the instructions: Left click to set the level and right click to exit the setup.
                          > >
                          > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "warrenallgyer" <allgyer@> wrote:
                          > > >
                          > > > Nick
                          > > >
                          > > > I find an S7 indication on HDSDR is very normal. I cannot explain it but it seems to have no bearing on the actual noise floor of your card.
                          > > >
                          > > > The level indications on the spectrum display are a better indication of the true noise floor of both your card and the antenna noise.
                          > > >
                          > > > In order to calibrate HDSDR you need to inject and tune a signal of known strength into the receiver. Then click on Options/Misc Options/S-Meter Calibration. Accept the instructions and then right click on the S meter at the point equal to the level of the known signal. Do it as often as necessary to get it exactly where you want it. Left click to end the calibration. I find it easier to use the two Spectrum sliders to expand and center the scale vertically.
                          > > >
                          > > > Once the calibration is done the baseline of the spectrum display will be a good indication of the noise floor of your sound card.
                          > > >
                          > > > Note that this "visual noise floor" will not match the definition of noise floor found in the ARRL handbook unless both the resolution bandwidth and the filter bandwidth settings are the same as used in the standard.
                          > > >
                          > > > Alan would have told you similarly if he were still awake. :-)
                          > > >
                          > > > Warren Allgyer - W8TOD
                          > > >
                          > > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@> wrote:
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Hello Alan,
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Today skip rolled in on 11m & 10m. I was able to hear the SQ calls from just about everywhere using my 10m vertical. The signals that made it through were better than S7 going into the red 20+. Signals below S7 got buried in the noise floor of the sound card.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > When I disconnect the audio line-in cable from the pc and run the HDSDR software, the noise floor is S7....there is really nothing else that could be generating that kind of signal no matter the band selected in the HDSDR. All sound options were selected or disabled in the integrated sound configuration software for both record and playback. Even when I disable all inputs into the sound card the noise floor is still there at S7.
                          > > > >
                          > > > > I am sorry, I must have missed your calibration info, please forward to me. Thanks.
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > Best Regards,
                          > > > > Nick
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@> wrote:
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                          > > > > > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no
                          > > > > > > mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > Nick,
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > > I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
                          > > > > > > So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > > > Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?
                          > > > > > >
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > As I said, I think it is very unlikely for you to have a card that is totally unusable. How does it seem if you feed music into it?
                          > > > > > What do you see when you connect the Softrock? At least strong signals should be seen and heard unless the card is faulty.
                          > > > > > You have setup the USB driver?
                          > > > > > Have you looked at my pages, especially mixer settings?
                          > > > > > What happens when you adjust the input slider?
                          > > > > > But if you want try any USB device if it has stereo line input. I say again virtually no card is totally useless.
                          > > > > >
                          > > > > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                          > > > > >
                          > > > >
                          > > >
                          > >
                          >
                        • Alan
                          ... Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive ... Nick, I d say you are worrying too much! S meter readings can be ignored, the
                          Message 12 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                            ----- Original Message -----
                            Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive


                            > Or maybe I can disconnect the line-in cable and dial the S-meter down to 0? Would that work for calibration?
                            >

                            Nick,

                            I'd say you are worrying too much!
                            S meter readings can be ignored, the important thing is whether the radio picks up signals.
                            If you feel it necessary to worry about calibration leave that till last.

                            My page on HDSDR https://sites.google.com/site/g4zfqradio/installing-and-using-hdsdr

                            73 Alan G4ZFQ
                          • warrenallgyer
                            I don t think that is going to work Nick. Maybe Alan or someone else can explain the S meter noise level indication in HDSDR. It has always been a mystery to
                            Message 13 of 16 , Mar 3, 2013
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                              I don't think that is going to work Nick.

                              Maybe Alan or someone else can explain the S meter noise level indication in HDSDR. It has always been a mystery to me and I have not taken the time to figure it out.

                              Yes -73 dBm should be set to correspond to S9. I recommend however you set it by placing the signal peak on the spectrum display at -73 there. If you expand the vertical you can get 1 dB resolution on this scale and then all other signal levels, including the noise floor, can be accurately read from the Spectrum display. I use the S meter only as a quick visual reference and do all of my measurement using the spectrum display.

                              Warren Allgyer - W8TOD


                              --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Or maybe I can disconnect the line-in cable and dial the S-meter down to 0? Would that work for calibration?
                              >
                              > Nick
                              >
                              > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > Hello Warren,
                              > >
                              > > Great! I will drag my HP signal generator into the house (when my wife is away...LOL ) it has a direct programmable menu..dial it to -73dbm for S9 ( i think this is the correct value).
                              > >
                              > > Best Regards,
                              > > Nick
                              > >
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "warrenallgyer" <allgyer@> wrote:
                              > > >
                              > > > Sorry! Got my clicks backward. As per the instructions: Left click to set the level and right click to exit the setup.
                              > > >
                              > > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "warrenallgyer" <allgyer@> wrote:
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Nick
                              > > > >
                              > > > > I find an S7 indication on HDSDR is very normal. I cannot explain it but it seems to have no bearing on the actual noise floor of your card.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > The level indications on the spectrum display are a better indication of the true noise floor of both your card and the antenna noise.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > In order to calibrate HDSDR you need to inject and tune a signal of known strength into the receiver. Then click on Options/Misc Options/S-Meter Calibration. Accept the instructions and then right click on the S meter at the point equal to the level of the known signal. Do it as often as necessary to get it exactly where you want it. Left click to end the calibration. I find it easier to use the two Spectrum sliders to expand and center the scale vertically.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Once the calibration is done the baseline of the spectrum display will be a good indication of the noise floor of your sound card.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Note that this "visual noise floor" will not match the definition of noise floor found in the ARRL handbook unless both the resolution bandwidth and the filter bandwidth settings are the same as used in the standard.
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Alan would have told you similarly if he were still awake. :-)
                              > > > >
                              > > > > Warren Allgyer - W8TOD
                              > > > >
                              > > > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "madskilz929" <madskilz929@> wrote:
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Hello Alan,
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Today skip rolled in on 11m & 10m. I was able to hear the SQ calls from just about everywhere using my 10m vertical. The signals that made it through were better than S7 going into the red 20+. Signals below S7 got buried in the noise floor of the sound card.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > When I disconnect the audio line-in cable from the pc and run the HDSDR software, the noise floor is S7....there is really nothing else that could be generating that kind of signal no matter the band selected in the HDSDR. All sound options were selected or disabled in the integrated sound configuration software for both record and playback. Even when I disable all inputs into the sound card the noise floor is still there at S7.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > I am sorry, I must have missed your calibration info, please forward to me. Thanks.
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > Best Regards,
                              > > > > > Nick
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > > > --- In softrock40@yahoogroups.com, "Alan" <alan4alan@> wrote:
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > ----- Original Message -----
                              > > > > > > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > > I did some testing. I have the integrated sound card configured to line-in in record and wav/phone playback. With no cables, no
                              > > > > > > > mic connected my noise floor is S7...bounces above this occasionally.
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > Nick,
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > If I remember correctly this is not unusual before HDSDR is calibrated.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > > I didn't not find a correlation between noise and noise I made by talking, clapping or playing music near the computer.
                              > > > > > > > So I would assume it is the integrated sound card.
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > > Any suggestions on what card is low noise? Also, with all cables unplugged what should be an acceptable noise floor?
                              > > > > > > >
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > As I said, I think it is very unlikely for you to have a card that is totally unusable. How does it seem if you feed music into it?
                              > > > > > > What do you see when you connect the Softrock? At least strong signals should be seen and heard unless the card is faulty.
                              > > > > > > You have setup the USB driver?
                              > > > > > > Have you looked at my pages, especially mixer settings?
                              > > > > > > What happens when you adjust the input slider?
                              > > > > > > But if you want try any USB device if it has stereo line input. I say again virtually no card is totally useless.
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > > > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                              > > > > > >
                              > > > > >
                              > > > >
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >
                            • Alan
                              ... Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive ... Warren, You mean that thing that jiggles about at centre left? No, I do not pay much
                              Message 14 of 16 , Mar 4, 2013
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                                ----- Original Message -----
                                Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive


                                >
                                > Maybe Alan or someone else can explain the S meter noise level indication in HDSDR. It has always been a mystery to me and I have
                                > not taken the time to figure it out.
                                >

                                Warren,

                                You mean that thing that jiggles about at centre left?
                                No, I do not pay much attention to that.

                                Nick,

                                As I've said I really do not think indicated signal strengths matter for normal reception.
                                But for technical purposes the calibrated spectrum is far better than the HDSDR "S" meter. Especially when you discover the controls
                                to zoom the scale. Some other SDR programs probably have a better meter.

                                You should be admiring the way a simple SDR works compared with other radios.
                                You have not said if the 10m vertical is your only antenna. A Softrock will probably not work very well on lower frequencies with
                                that.

                                73 Alan G4ZFQ



                                > Yes -73 dBm should be set to correspond to S9. I recommend however you set it by placing the signal peak on the spectrum display
                                > at -73 there. If you expand the vertical you can get 1 dB resolution on this scale and then all other signal levels, including the
                                > noise floor, can be accurately read from the Spectrum display. I use the S meter only as a quick visual reference and do all of my
                                > measurement using the spectrum display.
                                >
                              • EB4APL
                                Notice about S meter calibration: The Softrock Ensemble RX has 14 dB pads in series with the 2 lower bands. It purpose has been explained here, but as far as
                                Message 15 of 16 , Mar 7, 2013
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                                  Notice about S meter calibration:

                                  The Softrock Ensemble RX has 14 dB pads in series with the 2 lower
                                  bands. It purpose has been explained here, but as far as I know no any
                                  SDR software takes account of this, so if you calibrate in any of those
                                  bands, the S meter will indicate more than 2 S units high in the upper
                                  bands and the opposite will happen if you calibrate in the two upper
                                  bands. Since most S figures are relative indications it only has
                                  importance if you use the receiver for making measurements.

                                  73 de Ignacio, EB4APL


                                  On 04/03/2013 9:16, Alan wrote
                                  >
                                  > ----- Original Message -----
                                  > Subject: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive
                                  >
                                  > >
                                  > > Maybe Alan or someone else can explain the S meter noise level
                                  > indication in HDSDR. It has always been a mystery to me and I have
                                  > > not taken the time to figure it out.
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  > Warren,
                                  >
                                  > You mean that thing that jiggles about at centre left?
                                  > No, I do not pay much attention to that.
                                  >
                                  > Nick,
                                  >
                                  > As I've said I really do not think indicated signal strengths matter for
                                  > normal reception.
                                  > But for technical purposes the calibrated spectrum is far better than
                                  > the HDSDR "S" meter. Especially when you discover the controls
                                  > to zoom the scale. Some other SDR programs probably have a better meter.
                                  >
                                  > You should be admiring the way a simple SDR works compared with other
                                  > radios.
                                  > You have not said if the 10m vertical is your only antenna. A Softrock
                                  > will probably not work very well on lower frequencies with
                                  > that.
                                  >
                                  > 73 Alan G4ZFQ
                                  >
                                  > > Yes -73 dBm should be set to correspond to S9. I recommend however
                                  > you set it by placing the signal peak on the spectrum display
                                  > > at -73 there. If you expand the vertical you can get 1 dB resolution
                                  > on this scale and then all other signal levels, including the
                                  > > noise floor, can be accurately read from the Spectrum display. I use
                                  > the S meter only as a quick visual reference and do all of my
                                  > > measurement using the spectrum display.
                                  > >
                                  >
                                  >
                                • Alan
                                  ... Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive ... For really accurate measurements calibration must be done at least every time you
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Mar 7, 2013
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                                    ----- Original Message -----
                                    Subject: Re: [softrock40] Re: Ensemble RX II noisy and not sensitive


                                    > Notice about S meter calibration:
                                    >
                                    > The Softrock Ensemble RX has 14 dB pads in series with the 2 lower
                                    > bands. It purpose has been explained here, but as far as I know no any
                                    > SDR software takes account of this, so if you calibrate in any of those
                                    > bands, the S meter will indicate more than 2 S units high in the upper
                                    > bands and the opposite will happen if you calibrate in the two upper
                                    > bands. Since most S figures are relative indications it only has
                                    > importance if you use the receiver for making measurements.
                                    >

                                    For really accurate measurements calibration must be done at least every time you shift bands. The BPFs of any Softrock are unlikely
                                    to be perfectly level.
                                    As Ignacio says, with an Ensemble RX there will be big differences between some bands.

                                    73 Alan G4ZFQ
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