The Ugly Soft Underbelly of SDR Software Defined Radio

Actually I shoudl have titled this post “The Ugly Soft Underbelly of SDR Software Defined Radio that Uses a Separate Windows Computer to for anything other than User Interface!”

As described my contesting weekend was a bust – with a good share being basic computer woes.

The PowerSDR version of SDR I am using in the shack is absolutely dependent on having PowerSDR running successfully.

And PowerSDR is just yet another Windows program.

My particular Dell has having huge issues with wanting to call the mothership, update everything and demanding a series of reboots and software repairs.

There was absolutely no reason for this misbehavior, having ran 100% the weekend before and the weekend before that.

So what happened?

Windows XP had a bunch of updates, triggering a series of catch-up updates for Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Javascript, Java and right down to Notepad++ … then in the background other programs like Apple’s iTunes stuff all started calling home too.

It was like every program on my machine wanted to get in on the update fun!

Then DDUtil either was updated or first recognized an update, and got into a locked processes battle with AVG Anti-Virus which was doing its own update,

PowerSDR crashed or part crashed every couple minutes or it if didn’t DDUtil took the lead and crashed.

AVG required a c complete removal and reinstall as it was convinced its installer had been hijacked.

Now I have Linux based computers that I shut down once a year to dust out and check. At work we even had a OS-2 Warp system that ran for years untouched.

But not Windows which just can’t seem to leave a working configuration alone.

Now this will all change with the next generation of SDR radios which return the Windows PC to what it is reasonably good at – as a user interface – and these new SDR have all real processing internal in their box with Linux running on a high powered processor.

I am sure there is amuch I can do to limit – to mitigate – the downside of Windows, but I ask “why should I have to?”



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3 thoughts on “The Ugly Soft Underbelly of SDR Software Defined Radio

  1. kd0npu says:

    It totally amazes me the reactions I get when I ask if radio software I’m looking at is ported to Linux. I do not understand the infatuation the coders have for MicroSoft. I do have a drive with Windows but only because of RT Systems and a couple of other programs.

  2. Ted K5TED says:

    I don’t have these problems with Windows/PSDR. I have it running on a homebrew AMD 965 and Windows 7 Pro 64bit. Runs like a champ with several other radios and soundcards connected via USB at the same time.

    • k9zw says:

      Hi Ted K5TED

      Good point – your Quad Core gaming level machine is holding up well, where my pedestrian Core Duo weak-kneed obsolete machine is being killed by SDR duties.

      As an update I am finding that at the point of major issue a non-user initiated Task is showing up as a resource hog. Doing so debugging to capture exactly what it is, but it looks like some version of Dell’s self-diagnostic package.

      More as I debug the old machine.

      And I will keep your experience in mind if I upgrade.




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