Q. What is the frequency range?
A. 64-1,700MHz, although straw poll tests on pre-production units indicate that units can be stretched down to 51.5MHz or so. The upper frequency limit is beyon 2,000MHz haven’t been tested yet. In tests, we have found a gap between 1,100 and 1,270MHz where the local oscillator is not stable.
Q. What can the FUNcube Dongle receive?
A. The FUNcube Dongle has no restriction on modulation schemes: it is limited only by the application program running on the host computer. As long as the signal fits within about an 80kHz bandwidth, the FUNcube Dongle is capable of receiving the radio signal. So, for analogue reception, as well as narrow band FM and SSB, it is also possible to receive, for example, sound subcarriers for TV broadcast. Similarly for data reception, as long as a data demodulator has been written that will accept standard soundcard quadrature I/Q reception, that will work too.
Q. What is the bandwidth?
A. 96kHz is the quadrature sampling rate. Once the ADC’s decimation filter skirts have been taken into account, you have about 80kHz.
Q. What applications work with the FUNcube Dongle?
A. As well as the forthcoming FUNcube front end application, any application that understands a standard stereo soundcard configured for quadrature, or I/Q, reception should work. Examples include Linrad, Spectravue, Rocky and M0KGK.
Q. What operating systems are compatible?
A. Currently Windows XP 32 bit, and Vista and Windows 7 32 and 64 bit have been tested. The sound card element works with Mac OSX and Ubuntu 10.10 32 and 64 bit, but the frequency setting application has not been ported yet.
Q. What’s the difference between versions?
A. There are two versions, the Base and the Pro models. The Base model is frequency restricted and designed as an entry level minimal cost device, targetted for educational outreach. The Pro model is unrestricted in its frequency coverage.
Q. Can I upgrade a “Base” version to a “Pro” version?
A. At present, the upgrade will require a return of the device so that it can be modified to accept “Pro” firmware.
Q. Is the firmware upgradeable?
A. Yes, already the devices can have their firmware upgraded in a matter of a few seconds by the user. However, Pro firmware and Base firmware are not interchangeable.
Q. How much?
A. The Pro version should be around GBP100/USD150, although this is only indicative pricing as it is highly dependent on batch volume and assembly costs. Pricing for the base educational outreach model hasn’t been finalised yet, but it will be significantly less than the Pro model.
A. Pro devices are tentatively scheduled for December 2010. Base device release will be confirmed once precise launch dates for FUNcube become confirmed.