The FUNcube Dongle Pro+: LF to L band software-defined radio

 Click here to order.

Any mode, anywhere

No drivers required! Device drivers are already included in your operating system – Windows, Linux or Mac OSX, 32 or 64 bit.

* The guaranteed coverage of the FUNcube Dongle Pro+ is from 150kHz to 1.9GHz, and there is a gap in coverage between 240MHz and 420MHz.

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76 Responses to The FUNcube Dongle Pro+: LF to L band software-defined radio

  1. Great news, this device will give a step forward for SDR hobbist.

    Btw there is a license for the hardware/firmware? are you planning release it to the public?

    • admin says:

      Hello Cristian.

      Thanks for your note.

      Currently there are no plans to release the detailed hardware deisgn or firmware: this is largely because it’s tied to an NDA agreement on one of the devices that we’ve used which is commonly used in mass market set top boxes and TV dongles. The benefit of using such a device is that it significantlly reduces unit cost due to its high integration of several parts including RF and IF VGAs, RF & IF filters, mixer, mixer, fractional-N PLL, low phase noise reference oscillator and VCO. The down side is that for hardware and firmware tinkerers, the IP and anything that would aid reverse engineering is not allowed by the NDA.

      All is not lost however as the programming interface for the host to talk to the deviceis open.

      Howard

  2. Mike says:

    That is great news Howard,

    Have you managed to do any tests on the gain stability?

    Mike

    • admin says:

      Hi Mike

      We are currently optimising out of band strong signal handling and intermod performance particularly with the internal reference at the moment which currently looks like a small rework job of a high pass filter onto the front end.

      We’ll be limiting the gain parameter settings of the device to sensible values: for example, taking the tuner’s LNA anything over 20dB has no benefit.

      Howard

      • Rich N1DDY says:

        Looking forward to placing my order so I can add support to Pebble (http://sites.google.com/site/pebblesdr/home)

      • Mike says:

        Hi Howard,

        How is the high pass filter modification going?
        Thanks.

        • admin says:

          Hi Mike

          I have a number of different filters I’m testing. I also need to do a little more tweeking to the tuner settings. It’s that last 5% of the design that takes 95% of the time! Everything from the USB interface to the mixer in the tuner are solid as a rock now. It’s now a matter of tweaking the the front end. We fixed sensitivity several weeks ago now. It’s now IMD and out of band strong signal handling we’ve turned our attention to. As with any wide band device there are compromises. The tuner has band pass filters on its front end for UHF and above, but on VHF is uses low pass filters and that’s predominently where we are concentrating efforts.

          Howard

  3. Shankar says:

    Waiting to order!

  4. Dear Howard,

    Since I have not found how to post the questions directly to you, I am using Shankar’s message to get in, sorry for that!
    I am member of the management board of the SwissATV association (ATV=Amateur TV) and interested to order 5 Funcube Dongle Pro to experiment applications in analogue and digital TV.
    I would appreciate if you could put me on your list.
    73’s Pierre-André/HB9AZN

    • admin says:

      Hi Pierre.

      Thanks for your note. I’ll be limiting numbers to two per person to start with. For ATV, remember that the unit’s passband is 96kHz. I can let you know where to solder wires if you want a wider bandwidth to an external ADC…

      Howard

      • Hi Howard,

        thank you for your reply.
        For the beginning, if I can get two for our Association, it is fine.
        About the bandwidth, we are now transmitting digital TV signals with about 1,5 MHz in QPSK (1.024 Msy/s). Therefore, it will be very interesting to try to extend the bandwidth with an external DAC as you said!

        73’s
        Pierre-André/HB9AZN

  5. admin says:

    Pierre-André,

    IC2 is the ADC. For the best SNR, you should use short length differential connections.

    I recommend that you take the connections to the right of C6-9 on the tuner side, and AC couple all four connections. Output load is 15k ohm so keep the lead lengths very short and use buffer amps for your ADC as necessary. Also remember to take care of biasing for you ADC!

    Howard

    • Hi Howard,

      thanks a lot for your suggestion regarding the connection of an external ADC. Once we have the hardware and the schematic, it will be an excellent project for our association to extend the passband for DATV.

      Best 73’s
      Pierre-André/HB9AZN

  6. This is a really interesting project. Not only for satellite reception but for all experimentation with amateur radio SDR in general. Personally I see a great potential to use it with a converter for reception at the microwave bands, where SDR is essential to decode very weak signals.
    There are some SDR receivers available for amateurs today, but most of them are very expensive and are not suitable for the experimenter who wants an open SW interface.
    Do you think it is possible to tap the LO signal and use it for transmission? (With external TX-mixers of course)
    What is the step size of the PLL?
    73s

    • admin says:

      Hello Daniel.

      The LO signal is trapped within the tuner chip I’m afraid.

      The PLL step size varies depending on the frequency. Up at 2GHz, it’s 187.5Hz. At 64MHz it’s 7.8125Hz.

      The VCO always operates in the low to mid GHz. There is then a programmable divider applied to produce the LO.

      Note that the FCD’s current HID API firmware only allows resolution of 1kHz anyway, although I’m considering changing that.

      For SDR, generally this isn’t a problem as you use your host software’s NCO to fine tune.

      Howard

      • Thanks for this info. Such a small step size is great, I hope you enable it in the firmware.
        I would also like to add the comment that most SDR receivers designs only focus on shortwave, which is often too low as first IF for microwave converters. With your dongle one could go for 144 or 432, which are common IF frequencies, of obvious reasons.
        Maybe it could be worth while to experiment with a tuned pick-up coil placed directly at the chip to extract the LO electromagnetically at e.g. 144 MHz and amplify it for TX use. But signal-to-noise ratio might be too bad for this.

  7. Sven says:

    I’ve read the article in AMSAT-DL journal today, I can’t await to place my order!

  8. Ray Boyle says:

    Does the dongle come with a manual? Will it work with a long wire antenna?
    Regards,
    Ray Boyle,
    Stockport

    • admin says:

      Hello Ray

      Thanks for your message.

      I am in the process of writing a manual, and it will be published on this website. If you’ve used SDR before such as a Softrock, it’s fairly self explanatary. If not, you’ll need a quick tutorial on it and this is in the manual.

      It’ll work on a long wire, but in general for VHF and above, there are other better alternatives, but it depends on what you’re trying to achieve with it.

      Discones are wide band antennas, but compromise on gain. Band specific antennas are by their very nature optimised for narrow band(s) but will tend to have better gain.

      Howard

  9. Enric says:

    do yo plan to build some more ?
    I miss last ones
    cheers Enric

  10. Paolo Valfre' I1VPJ says:

    Hallo dear Howard,
    my PAYPAL document show 129,25 GBP to Hanlincrest: is this correct?

    Which is the better performant SOFTWARE for FCD? Only LINRAD?
    My notebook have already WINRAD installed, is this OK?
    Thanks and 73 de Paolo I1VPJ

    • admin says:

      Hello Paolo

      Yes that sounds right for the EU.

      If Winrad supports a standard soundcard for its I/Q, then Winrad should be OK. I personally use SpectraVue, but I know others are using programs such as WRPlus, which I believe is a Winrad variant.

      Howard

  11. Rick, PE2AAB says:

    Hi Howard!

    The batch of 20th february was run out in less then 2 minutes! Cool!
    Too bad for me. I was to late. (only a few min’s)

    Are you planning a next batch? and do you know when this batch will be sold?

    With kind regards,
    Rick, PE2AAB

  12. SV8GTC says:

    Being the third Greek who received the FUNcube Dongle with serial number #506, I would like to congratulate the developing team for the excellent work.

  13. Mike says:

    Hi!

    When will be more units available?

    Thanks.

    Mike

  14. Hi folks,
    I’ve just released the latest version of my ExtIO_USRP+FCD & BorIP software.
    It’s made up of these two components:

    1) An ExtIO plugin for Winrad/HDSDR/WRplus that allows you to use your FCD or USRP as the baseband input (this plugin also features front-end gain control and baseband UDP relay).

    2) The BorIP server, which allows you to use your FCD/USRP remotely over a LAN (the client can be any of the aforementioned SDR receiver apps, GNU Radio, or something of your own creation – extend via IP, not coax!).

    Download & info here: http://wiki.spench.net/wiki/USRP_Interfaces

    If you try it out, please let me know how you go with it. (Make sure you use the “FCD” device hint so your FUNcube is selected!)

    73 Balint VK2FUNK

  15. Don McPhee says:

    I ordered and it arrived in Canada on my doorstep in only two days! With two hours of minor frustration cursing over my laptop, I have upgraded my firmware, attached the arrow antenna and ready for the sun to come up so I can try to work some satellites.
    The Peel Amateur Radio Club has a Satellite Group being formed, this will be a big hit.
    Thank you, way cool.
    Don VE3REO

  16. ENZO VONELLA says:

    GREETINGS TO ALL, I WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF I CAN WITH THIS SOFTWARE TO INTERCEPT TRANSMISSIONS TETRA. LET ME KNOW AS SOON AS POSSIBLE THANKS.

    • admin says:

      Hello Enzo

      The FUNcube Dongle itself can receive TETRA, but you will need an appropriate software package on the host PC to demodulate, decode and (if necessry) decrypt it, and deal with handover. I don’t know of a package that does this myself, although you may well find some suggestions on the FUNcube Yahoo group.

      Many thanks, Howard

      • ENZO VONELLA says:

        HOWARD HELLO, THANKS FOR YOUR RESPONSE. I want to ask HOW CAN I FIND THE CODES FOR TETRA, I OWN A 850 AND I WANT MOTOROLA MTP PUT UP YOU COULD HELP ME? THANK YOU SOON.

        • admin says:

          Hello Enzo

          I am afraid I don’t know much about specific Tetra implementations, or how to find them. Are there scanner groups that have such information?

          Many thanks, Howard

  17. Pirajá says:

    Where I can get information on which the tupported SDR Softwares by FUNcube Pro. Thank you for your attention.

    Pirajá

    • admin says:

      Hello Piraja

      It is compatible with SDR software that supports a soundcard for quadrature signals. I don’t have a definitive list, but almost all freely available SDR software will work with soundcards. If you have a particular product in mind, I can let you know its compatibility. Alternatively you might also like to take a look on the FUNcube Yahoo group where there are many references to various software products compatible with the FUNcube Dongle.

      Many thanks, Howard

  18. John Shidler says:

    Hello, I just ordered my Fun Cube Pro. While waiting for it I thought that I would purchase a fast USB Sound Card. I am considering the E-Mu 0202. Do you have any comments on this one or any other reccomendations?

    73 John NS5Z

    • admin says:

      Hello John

      Before you purchase, I should let you know that you don’t need an extra sound card to use the FCD – it has its own internal USB sound card hardware integrated into it.

      You will of course need a sound card to hear the audio itself, but any old sound card will work, usually the one integrated into the computer itself these days.

      Many thanks, Howard

  19. Alexander Antonov says:

    Is it available now for purchase?

  20. Serge Szpilfogel says:

    Hello Howard
    Want to thank you for checking my FDC. Got it back a week ago & working on setting it up this time with HDSDR.
    I also want to thank you for shipping it back FREE of charge. That is what i call getting the Royal treatment.
    It is good to know that you stand behind your product & provide support to folks who need it,
    Best regards & again thank you
    Serge Szpilfogel VE1KG

  21. Frank Kostelac says:

    Will the fun cube decode Dstar signals?

    N7ZEV

    • admin says:

      Hello Frank

      The FCD itself is the RF section of a software defined radio, and as such it does no demodulation or decoding, that is done by software the host PC.

      If there is software on the host PC that will decode DStar from a soundcard based SDR then that will work: the FCD itself doesn’t care what the modulation scheme is.

      Many thanks, Howard