Sunday, October 27, 2019


Recently, some people have observed a DPGS signal on 318 kHz. Existing software displays its location as Shepelevskiy (Leningrad Oblast) ; however KiwiSDR TDoA shows a different likely location.
318 kHz DGPS

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Chirp sounder measurements with KiwiSDRs (2)

Using the recent work on KiwiSDR waterfall recording (see kiwiclient/ it becomes possible to search for chirp sounder signals in KiwiSDR waterfall data, continuing the topic from this post. connects both to the 'SND' and the 'W/F' websocket streams. The 'W/F' stream contains sequence numbers for each waterfall line which are used to synchronize the waterfall to the audio data. These sequence numbers can also be used to attach to each waterfall line a corresponding GNSS time tag obtained from the 'SND' stream. As the waterfall data can arrive before or after the audio data, both are combined in a third thread using python Queues for thread-safe communication.

About half an hour of waterfall data was recorded on the AB1LD KiwiSDR using the highest KiwiSDR waterfall speed which turns out to provide waterfall data about for each SND frame, i.e, each 512/12000 seconds. Thanks to the owner for setting up this KiwiSDR and allowing unrestricted access!.

Then the recorded waterfall data (saved in a .npy formatted file) was rebinned in time to 1024/12000 second bins and exported as a .png file. Switching from python to octave, a search for chirp sounders was performed for chirp rates from 80  kHz/s to 130 kHz/sec in steps of 1 kHz/sec: for each chirp rate and for each start time the content of the waterfall bins was summed up along the corresponding line (Hough transform).

Two chirp sounders were found, each having a repetition rate of 720 seconds (12 minutes) with chirp rates of 82 kHz/sec and 100 kHz/sec, respectively. It might be interesting that this list of chirp sounders contains entries for three chirps sounders with 720 second periods located in Norfolk, VA, Kingsville, TX, and in Puerto Rico.

The plots below show zoomed waterfall diagrams around the chirps and on the bottom panel the result of the chirp search, i.e, the sums of waterfall bins along lines with a given slope.

1st chirp sounder detected using the AB1LD KiwiSDR

2nd chirp sounder detected using the AB1LD KiwiSDD

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Talk on KiwiSDR TDoA is available on YouTube

This is just a short note that my recent talk on KiwiSDR TDoA at the Software Defined Radio Academy 2019, which took place during the German Ham Convention in Friedrichshafen, Germany, is now available on YouTube.

For other talks from this meeting see

Saturday, March 16, 2019

KiwiSDR IQ data streams with >20.25 kHz bandwidth (5)

By now, gr-kiwisdr can coherently combine between 2 and 6 IQ data streams recorded from the same KiwiSDR.

Following an idea by WA2ZKD, the following test was made with DRM signals: three data streams were recorded, one centered on the DRM signal on 15120 kHz and two more centered on 15112.5 kHz and on 15127.5 kHz which were then coherently combined into a signal data stream. The GNURadio display is shown below:

Coherent combination of two IQ data streams using gr-kiwisdr.

Both, the WAV file centered on 15120 kHz, and the combined WAV file were successfully decoded by DREAM:

DREAM display

The SNR is comparable for both files, taking into account that it fluctuates by about ±0.5 dB:

DREAM waterfall display for the combined WAV file.

DREAM waterfall display for the WAV file recorded on the center frequency.

Only one slight difference was found in the SNR per carrier display: although the SNR per carrier is fluctuating quite a lot, for the combined WAV file there is a dip around the center which is not there for the WAV file recorded on the center frequency:

DREAM SNR per carrier display display for the combined WAV file.

DREAM SNR per carrier display for the WAV file recorded on the center frequency.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

KiwiSDR IQ data streams with >20.25 kHz bandwidth (4)

This is a follow-up to this blog post.

The figure below summarizes how three IQ data streams with equal frequency offsets Δf are combined into a single IQ data stream with sampling frequency 4Δf:

Coherent combination of three KiwiSDR IQ streams

Note that the center frequencies are set to exact values, using GNSS timestamps to correct the local KiwiSDR oscillator, while the sampling frequencies of the IQ data streams are derived from the local KiwiSDR oscillator and are not exact. As a consequence the three IQ data streams are not coherent.

The three IQ data streams can be made coherent by 1) correcting for the frequency offsets and 2) aligning the relative phases.

1) Correcting for the frequency offset 

One way of describing this correction is by comparing a signal in stream#1 with frequency ΔF/2  and another signal in stream#2 with frequency -ΔF/2, taking into account that there are two different sampling rates: the true (GNSS aligned) sampling rate Fs and the sampling rate according to the state of the local KiwiSDR oscillator, F′:
         z1(n) = exp{2πinΔF/2F′s}
         z2(n) = exp{2πinΔF/Fs - 2πinΔF/2F′s} .
The beat offset signal is given by
         z1*(n) z2(n) = exp{2πinΔF(1/Fs - 1/F′s)} ,
and is used to correct for the frequency offset, where F′s is determined from the GNSS time tags in the KiwiSDR IQ streams.

2) Relative phase alignment 

Having corrected the frequency offsets, we are left with constant relative phase differences, Δϕ(0,1) and Δϕ(1,2). These global phase offsets are estimated by cross-correlating the overlapping parts of the spectra, indicated in yellow in the figure above. GNURadio makes it easy to do this, using a combination of freq_xlating_ccf and conjugate__cc and a simple block which estimates the phase difference between two vectors of IQ samples.

Because the overlaps between IQ streams are needed to estimate the phase offsets, recordings with should use the full available bandwidth.

The method described above has been implemented using GNURadio and is available as part of gr-kiwisdr. Please note that this is work in progress and might need further improvements.

As can be seen in the updated GRC flowgraph below, IQ stream sample alignment, the correction for coherence, and the PFB synthesizer were combined into a single GNURadio block, called coh_stream_synth. In addition, exp{iΔϕ(0,1)} and exp{iΔϕ(1,2)} are shown in a constellation diagram display in order to monitor phase coherence (=stable relative phases).

GRC flowgraph

Using the GNURadio PFB synthesizer with 2× oversampling (twox=True), edge effects at the boundaries between IQ data streams are avoided:

Coherent combination of three IQ streams @12 kHz into a single IQ stream @32 kHz.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Chirp sounder measurements with KiwiSDRs (1)

The plots below show measurements of the chirp sounders from Cyprus (RAF Aktrotiri). There are two chirps (100kHz/sec) separated by 5 seconds and repeating each 5 minutes. In G3PLX notation they are called 300:240 and 300:245

Using GNSS timestamped IQ samples from the KiwiSDR @IU8CRI, tuned to 13,200 kHz, a pair of chirps was analyzed in terms of instantaneous frequency and of propagation time delays obtained from the FFT of the de-chirped signals.

Top: instantaneous frequency; bottom: propagation time delay obtained form the FFT of the de-chirped signal

In this earlier blog post a time offset of about δt=0.3±0.03 msec w.r.t. start time at the beginning of a given UTC second of the chirp signals from Cyprus was found in the chirp monitoring data from the U Twente WebSDR. This offset is also found in the KiwiSDR measurements, i.e., without applying this offset, the first peak in the propagation time delays would be below the equivalent time of propagation along the great-circle distance at the speed of light.

It would be very interesting to implement a more systematic monitoring of chirp sounders using KiwiSDRs.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

KiwiSDR IQ data streams with >20.25 kHz bandwidth (2)

This is a follow-up on the last blog post. Since then a compensation for the roll-off of the CIC filters in the KiwiSDR FPGA has been implemented in v2.162.

The plot below shows the correction w.r.t. normalized frequency for the 12kHz (20.25kHz) modes in blue (magenta). It is interesting that the main component is in both cases sinc(f)-5 and that the softening of the correction near f=0.5 can be modeled by an exponential function.

KiwiSDR CIC filter compensation
Another improvement w.r.t. before is to use ±4kHz out of the ±6kHz IQ bandwidth in order to avoid alias images from frequencies below and from above, so the GNURadio flow graph looks now like this:
GNURadio flow graph
This flow graph and the code for the KiwiSDR IQ wav file sources and for the stream align block can be found on GitHub (gr-kiwisdr).

In order to verify that the combination of three IQ data streams@8kHz each to an IQ datastream @32kHz does indeed work, two signals were recorded and processed with the above flow graph:
  1.  OTHR signal from Cyprus

    Cyprus OTHR on 14370 kHz @IS0KYB
    As is well-known this signal has a bandwidth of 20kHz and uses a FMCW waveform repeating each 0.02 seconds. When plotting the instantaneous frequency vs. time the FMCW sweeps can be see to be perfectly continuous, i.e., both the alignment of the IQ data streams and the PFB synchronizer work as expected.
    Cyprus OTHR on 14370 kHz @IS0KYB


    The two plots below show a local CODAR signal recorded on a KiwiSDR in Newport, OR. Also in this case the frequency sweeps can be nicely seen. However it is not clear if the second component in the instantaneous frequency having negative slope is due to interference or due to aliasing in the KiwiSDR downconversion processing.

    Local CODAR signal on 4875 kHz @Newport, OR
    Local CODAR signal on 4875 kHz @Newport, OR

The IQ streams used above were recorded using with commands similar to the  following:
./ -s,, -p 8073 -f 14362,14370,14378 -m iq -g 55 -w -L -4000 -H +4000 --log-level=info --dt-sec=60 --station=IS0KYB

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

KiwiSDR IQ data streams with >20.25 kHz bandwidth

Recently I got to implement a way of recording data from KiwiSDRs at more than 12 kHz (or 20.25 kHz) by combining streams of IQ data using a polyphase filter bank (PFB) synthesizer. Luckily the two most complicated blocks, the PFB synthesizer and delay blocks, are already available in GNURadio.

What was missing was a block reading KiwiSDR IQ data with GNSS timestamps and a block determining the delays of between the different IQ sources. As all of these come from the same KiwiSDR running the same ADC clock, the offsets are multiples of samples.

For testing I started with a CODAR signal centered around 4820kHz using the AB1BD KiwiSDR. IQ wav files with GNSS timestamps were recorded on 4808, 4820, 4832 kHz, each with 12kHz bandwidth. In order to avoid wrapping around one of the inputs, a PFB synthesizer with 4 channels and 3 inputs was used:

GNURadio flowgraph

The screenshot below shows the three input signals samples with 12kHz and the reconstructed signal @48kHz:
  • Gain vs. frequency for the input signals is not flat. This is a known feature of the KiwiSDR FPGA code (missing CIC filter compensation filters). As a consequence there are dips in the combined spectrum
  • Nevertheless the CODAR sweeps can be seen to be continuous in the combined waterfall display

Top: waterfall diagrams for three IQ streams @12kHz; bottom: combined IQ stream @48kHz

Another test is to look at the instantaneous frequency in the combined IQ data stream @48kHz which looks fine:
Instantaneous frequency vs. time for the combined IQ data @48kHz

Obviously this has more applications than CODAR data analysis, as it opens up the possibility to analyze signals with up to 36kHz bandwidths. When a PFB synthesizer with 6 channels is used, up to 5 KiwiSDR IQ streams can be combined which enlarges the bandwidth to 60 kHz. Instead of using prerecorded wav files, the KiwiSDR GNURadio block can be used to combine streams of IQ samples in realtime.

The code for this will be made available as part of gr-kiwisdr after some cleanup.