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SmartSDR Software Rocks – Well Done, Flex

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SmartSDR configured for dual SWBC receive

Three cheers to FlexRadio for SmartSDR software. Great job, and improving all the time. 

Flex 6300 radio is a back end. It’s the actual radio but with no user interface. That is provided by SmartSDR software, the front end for display and control. There are lots of videos available that demonstrate features and performance.

There are two things to consider with Software Defined Radio applications: performance and user interface. I compared SmartSDR to my other favorite program SDR-Console, which I use with the Perseus receiver. You will find the user interface different but similar in terms of features and ease of use. The main difference is that SDR-Console provides a few more low-level user configurations. Both are excellent in terms of setting up user profiles. With profiles, you can set up the software differently depending on what you want to do. For example, shown above is a profile for receiving two different shortwave bands at the same time. I have removed all of the “transmitter-related controls” to keep things simple.

Performance is not easy to compare because SmartSDR delegates digital signal processing to the radio, whereas SDR-Console does all the processing on your computer. That said, actual SWBC receiving performance is quite comparable between the FlexRadio 6300 and the Perseus/SDR Console combination. I would give the edge to the Flex, based on early testing.

Installing SmartSDR Software on your computers

When you unbox your Signature Series radio, the odds are good the enclosed DVD contains an outdated version of SmartSDR software. It gets updated often. Your best bet is to surf to the FlexRadio web site downloads page and grab the latest version. It installs quickly. When you run it, SmartSDR searches on your LAN for the radio. Just click the “connect” button and you are in business.

In addition to providing the front end, SmartSDR also contains the latest firmware for the actual radio. If it has also been updated, one click will update the radio firmware, as well. The whole process takes a couple of minutes. Then, you are in business.

Installing SmartSDR software also installs and runs two companion programs. SmartSDR CAT provides various methods for connecting the software to external control programs. Using either TCP or Serial communications, SmartSDR CAT always runs in the background. The second program, DAX Control Panel also runs in the background, providing audio or signal data to other software or devices. You can configure these to your requirements easily – but they won’t reconfigure while SmartSDR is running.

Finally, you can install SmartSDR on as many computers as you want. Since connection with the radio is over the network, you can operate from anywhere.

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