My suggestion is to make your Afedri SDR-Net first contact with HDSDR. This popular software radio program is included in the box on your Afedri CD.
When you get a new radio, the first thing you want to do is “use it”. Yes, I know we should read the manual first, but really, who does? So here is how to get up and running in a minute and begin to explore your new radio and what it can do.
First, you plug plug your AFE822x into a USB port on your PC. Wait a moment for the LED indicators on the radio to settle down. You should see Red and Yellow on steady and Blue flashing slowly.
Second copy the contents of the Afedri CD to your hard drive. None of the software requires any Windows installation. Navigate to the HDSDR folder and just run the program.
Third, select AFEDRI-SDR-Net Audio as the sound card input, and press Start. That’s it. You can tune the radio with HDSDR normally. Most SDR users are familiar with this popular software.
HDSDR controls the radio using the Afedri ExtIO dynamic link library contained in its folder. ExtIO is a standard approach for controlling software defined radios, as long as the radio maker has written this DLL. Alex has. So, while the Afedri radios don’t have dedicated OEM SDR software, the HDSDR with ExtIO driver comes pretty close.
As you can see in the picture above, I just tuned to my local AM broadcast band and started listening to some strong stations.
Just so you know how it works, when you plug the AFE822x into a USB port, the radio installs a Windows “audio endpoint” on your computer. This audio line input is used to send IQ data from the radio to your SDR software over USB.
Afedri SDR-Net First Contact – About the Control Box
Doing your first contact with HDSDR is also a great way to become familiar with the basics of the SDR Network Control Box provided by Afedri. Control Box is a separate program to configure many settings in your radio. It runs either stand alone, or as the supporting GUI for the ExtIO library.
We will talk more about Control Box later. And, yes, you do need to read the manual. But here are the few things you should know to get started. When running with HDSDR, the main page of Control Box shows the tuned frequencies and gain settings for the radio. In particular, you need to understand “FE Gain”, which controls the input range of the ADC, and “RF Gain” which controls the VGA in the radio.
Also, you can use the “Network Sample Rate” box on the Network tab to set the sample radio being fed to the software. I have mine set to 192,000 samples per second.
That’s enough to get started. Our next article in this series will explore Control Box in more detail. In the meantime, here is a video from K5KNT demonstrating Afedri and HDSDR in action.