Airspy HF+ Discovery, Raspberry PI, SatNOGS - Need help

Hi together,

I have my SatNOGS running with RPI4 and AirSpy R2 for a month now, so I’m still a newbie here :wink:

I’m very satisfied with the AirSpy R2 performance compared to an ordinary RTL-SDR, but today I wanted to upgrade to an AirSpy HF+ Discovery to further improve VHF performance and also prepare a station for DK0SB at Sternwarte Bochum, which is also the AMSAT-DL HQ.

When I installed the new SDR it was not detected by SoapySDRUtil and I quickly learned that I need to install https://github.com/airspy/airspyhf

However, after following all the instructions and rebooting, “SoapySDRUtil --probe” still doesn’t find it :frowning:

Here I’m stuck now…

Any hints appreciated, Thanks!
73s Peter, DB2OS

Hi Peter,

Do you have the SoapySDR plugin for the Airspy HF+ installed? You can check it with SoapySDRUtil --info it should print a line that looks similar to this:

Available factories... airspy, airspyhf, bladerf, hackrf, lime, plutosdr, redpitaya, remote, rtlsdr, sdrplay

73
Alex OZ9AEC

Hi Alex,

thank for your reply, this is what I get… obviously airspyhf is missing. I was trying to install the airsphy hf as described above, but did I perhaps miss something?

pi@satnogs:~ $ SoapySDRUtil --info
######################################################

Soapy SDR – the SDR abstraction library

######################################################

Lib Version: v0.7.1-3
API Version: v0.7.1
ABI Version: v0.7
Install root: /usr
Search path: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7
Search path: /usr/local/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7 (missing)
Search path: /usr/local/lib/SoapySDR/modules0.7 (missing)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libHackRFSupport.so (0.3.3)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libLMS7Support.so (20.01.0)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libRedPitaya.so (0.1.1)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libairspySupport.so (0.1.2)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libaudioSupport.so (0.1.1)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libbladeRFSupport.so (0.4.1)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libosmosdrSupport.so (0.2.5)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libremoteSupport.so (0.5.1)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/librtlsdrSupport.so (0.3.0)
Module found: /usr/lib/arm-linux-gnueabihf/SoapySDR/modules0.7/libuhdSupport.so (0.3.6)
Available factories… airspy, audio, bladerf, hackrf, lime, osmosdr, redpitaya, remote, rtlsdr, uhd
Available converters…

  • CF32 -> [CF32, CS16, CS8, CU16, CU8]
  • CS16 -> [CF32, CS16, CS8, CU16, CU8]
  • CS32 -> [CS32]
  • CS8 -> [CF32, CS16, CS8, CU16, CU8]
  • CU16 -> [CF32, CS16, CS8]
  • CU8 -> [CF32, CS16, CS8]
  • F32 -> [F32, S16, S8, U16, U8]
  • S16 -> [F32, S16, S8, U16, U8]
  • S32 -> [S32]
  • S8 -> [F32, S16, S8, U16, U8]
  • U16 -> [F32, S16, S8]
  • U8 -> [F32, S16, S8]
    pi@satnogs:~ $

73s Peter

Peter,

What you installed is the Airspy HF+ driver library, which is necessary to use the Airspy HF+. But you also need the SoapySDR plugin for the Airspy HF+ available here: https://github.com/pothosware/SoapyAirspyHF/wiki

Hi Alex,

tried to install the plugin, but it did not finish as described…
Should have mentioned that I have the pre-build SatNOGS image for the RPI and I’m rather a Linux user than an Linux expert :wink:

pi@satnogs:~/SoapyAirspyHF/build $ cmake …
CMake Error at CMakeLists.txt:9 (find_package):
Could not find a package configuration file provided by “SoapySDR”
(requested version 0.4.0) with any of the following names:

SoapySDRConfig.cmake
soapysdr-config.cmake

Add the installation prefix of “SoapySDR” to CMAKE_PREFIX_PATH or set
“SoapySDR_DIR” to a directory containing one of the above files. If
“SoapySDR” provides a separate development package or SDK, be sure it has
been installed.

not sure what I need to do… :slightly_frowning_face:

73s Peter

Hi Peter,

I think you have to install the libsoapysdr-dev package which contains some files necessary to build SoapySDR plugins. Try this in the terminal

sudo apt install libsoapysdr-dev

Unfortunately, the AirspyHF plugin is not yet available in Debian, but perhaps it can be included in future SatNOGS image builds :slight_smile:

Alex

1 Like

Thank you Alex, you made my day (Monday) !! :slight_smile:

pi@satnogs:~/SoapyAirspyHF/build $ SoapySDRUtil --probe=“driver=airspyhf”
######################################################

Soapy SDR – the SDR abstraction library

######################################################

Probe device driver=airspyhf


– Device identification

driver=AirspyHF
hardware=AirspyHF
serial=dd52fc5d86cb39cc


– Peripheral summary

Channels: 1 Rx, 0 Tx
Timestamps: NO


– RX Channel 0

Full-duplex: YES
Supports AGC: YES
Stream formats: CF32, CS16, CS8, CU16, CU8
Native format: CF32 [full-scale=1]
Antennas: RX
Full gain range: [0, 54] dB
LNA gain range: [0, 6, 6] dB
RF gain range: [-48, 0, 6] dB
Full freq range: [0.009, 31], [60, 260] MHz
RF freq range: [0.009, 31], [60, 260] MHz
Sample rates: 0.768, 0.384, 0.256, 0.192 MSps

pi@satnogs:~/SoapyAirspyHF/build $

now I will adapt the SatNOGS configuration and will see how it works… I will report later…

73s Peter

… it works perflectly with the Airspy HF+ Discovery. Will continue to play with some Gain settings, but the results are already nice… it’s quite an improvement.

Sounds good, Peter. I think that for the Airspy HF+ it is best to leave it with automatic gain ON, as it has a rather high dynamic range already, but it will be interesting to see if it can be imnproved with manual gain settings.

Alex, do you have a hint for me how to enable AGC? I couldn’t figure out…
The rest of the settings do not make a big difference as you suggested…
However, I’m very satisfied with the HF+Discovery … I do see quite an improvement even over the Airspy R2… hope to have a few more running soon; but more about that later… :wink:

AGC ‘should’ be enabled as the default…
For quite some time the developer of the Airspy HF+ claimed that there would never be a need to turn off the AGC and control gains manually, since the receiver was that good. Of course, those controls eventually were added because there are situations on MF/HF where it does help, but for VHF observations I’d think the AGC should work fine.

I would expect the HF Discovery to be an excellent receiver for the 2m and weather sat bands. It’s a shame there isn’t something similar available for UHF!

I agree…
In fact, the “overall” gain setting seems to have no effect on the HF+ Discovery.
I tried values from 0 to 54 for the Full gain range: [0, 54] dB without any or little difference.
Interesting side node, the CubicSDR connected via SoapyRemote does not show a slider for this when AGC is disabled, only LNA and RF gain which seem to have no effect either.
Beside these limitations, I´m very impressed by the Airspy HF+ Discovery and would strongly recommend it to everyone who wants to listen on VHF… it’s like day and night…
73s Peter