New to the FCD? Here’s a top tip!


Let’s cut to the chase – update your firmware! The latest is 18j.

I’ve noted that a lot of people just starting out with the FCD start by using some of the great newer software products out there, like SDR Radio for example, that weren’t about or set up to directly work with the FCD when we first designed it.

Almost all of this software is dependent on later versions of firmware that you’ll need to install first before you can use the FCD with them.

To update your firmware, you need to follow these steps from Windows…

o Download the original FCD controller program FCHID003 (, FCHIDBL bootloader program (, and the firmware image itself (

o *Important*! Exit any applications that may try to access the FCD. These will break the update process as they coexist on the same USB communication channel, so they must be closed down first.

o Plug in the FCD and let the drivers install if necessary. If it’s the first time you’ve inserted the FCD, it might take up to a minute or so to install.

o Run the FCHID003 FCD controller program (FCHID.exe), and press “Reset to bootloader”. This puts the FCD into a special “bootloader mode” to allow you to upload new code. Ignore any errors you see in FCHID – this is because FCHID is trying to communicate with the FCD but, because it’s now in bootloader mode, FCHID won’t be able to interpret what it’s getting back from its USB commands.

o Exit FCHID.

o Run the FCHIDBL.exe program you just downloaded, press “Open file”, and select the “” file you’ve also just downloded.

o From FCHIDBL, press “Write firmware”, and then wait a few seconds for the process to complete.


o Remove the FCD and then reinsert 10 seconds or so later. This automatically takes the FCD out of bootloader mode and back to its normal SDR operating mode.

o You will see an error like this if FCHIDBL is still running when you reinsert the FCD:

HIDOpen of Vid_04d8&Pid_FB56 returns 1
USB VID/PID found.
HIDQuery returns 1
Query message: FCDAPP 18.10 Brd 1.1 No blk
Error: not in recoginised FCD mode

This is actually correct despite it suggesting it’s an error! It is just the FCHIDBL program not understanding that the FCD is in normal SDR mode: the FCHIDBL program only understands the FCD when it’s in bootloader mode.

Many thanks, Howard

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22 Responses to New to the FCD? Here’s a top tip!

  1. Ben - AA7AS says:

    Are you shipping current orders with the latest firmware installed?

  2. admin says:

    Hello Ben

    FCDs are all currently shipped with a base firmware version (18b), although I’m working on a new program mask with an updated version.

    Many thanks, Howard

  3. Francisco Villanueva Chavarría says:

    Please tell me how to get the device, how much does it cost in US dollars and how I can get it here in Monterrey Nuevo Leon México.

  4. Jim says:


    I have serial number 5871 with a label that says v1.1 but Macintosh Audio/MIDI says its is V0.0.

    Do I need to update the FW?

    I am running DSP Radio 1.3.5 on a Mac and only get noise. Using an Indoor or Portable Dipole Scanner Antenna 25-1300 MHz.

    Thanks, Jim

    • admin says:

      Hello Jim

      Certianly you should update the firmware. Your serial number will have been sent as the original 18b firmware.

      It is probably safest to do the firmware update in Windows I’m afraid, but thankfully firmware updates for the FCD are infrequent nowadays.

      Many thanks, Howard

  5. Serge Szpilfogel says:

    Hi bought an FCD on Ebay. upgraded the firmware with 18J. It appears to be working but does not decode EME signals from the moon.I am using it with MAP65.Map65 sees the fcd ok but nothing. I pointed to a beacon NOTHING, the controller settings are ok as well. this FCD is serial number 1936 a pro model V1.1. Is there a newer version on the market??
    Thank you
    Serge VE1KG

    • admin says:

      Hello Serge.

      I don’t have any experience of MAP65 myself.

      You say that it does not pick up a beacon. First thing, let’s do a quick front end check, can you let me know if the noise floor rises when you plug in an antenna, and by how much?

      Many thanks, Howard

  6. Chris says:

    Bought a Funcube Dongle Pro off EBay Serial # 5862. Trying to up grade not easy at all. Multiple steps. Should have bought on here with the updates already installed. Hope I can get it to work soon.

  7. Serge Szpilfogel says:

    Gm Howard
    It rises by 11 db Looking at a beacon 300km away WSJT shows the trace.The fcd nothing.I have tried various settings on the fcd controller window nothing shows.Now i used 3 watts on a dummy load & the FCD showed a trace on MAP65.BTW MAp 65 was designed by Joe Taylor K1JT & many folks who have the Fcd have no trouble using it with MAP65.So it works for some.I upgraded the firmware with 18J bin file.Map65 sees the Fcd.The FCD controller window shows in green FCD ACTIVE
    18J.Howard i appreciate your interest

    • admin says:

      Hello Serge.

      This is confusing. If the noise floor rises by 11dB when you plug in the antenna, then that is good, the front end is working.

      I assume that you are running 3W from a handheld nearby into a dummy load? I wasn’t sure what you were saying.

      It almost sounds like the LO is way off frequency, although I have only seen this in two units out of the thousands we’ve sold, and this is found in testing before the unit goes out of the door..

      I am happy to replace the unit for you: I’ll email you a return address.

      Many thanks, Howard

  8. Serge Szpilfogel says:

    Howard it is very generous of you to replace the unit.I should point out that it is not under warranty since i bought it used on Ebay.I will be happy to pay for shipping at least.
    Again thank you.

    • admin says:

      Hello Serge,

      Send it to me and I’ll take a look at it. If you can email me your return address, I’ll see what I can do for you!

      Many thanks, Howard

  9. Serge Szpilfogel says:

    Hello howard!
    What is the address to send the FDC back to?

  10. admin says:

    Hello Serge,

    You should have an email from me with it – let me know if not.

    Many thanks, Howard

  11. Kari says:

    I having problem with listening. I can hear only a noise. I have new firmware 18J. Win7 Mic-level is set to “1”. Background noise is +20 continually. I have discone-antenna up of my house.
    If i push ptt in my handhend like 433.00 mhz, i can not hear anything 433.000. Only +/- 40kh at the 433.00 i hear my transmission voice. Still i can not hear nothing else, only my strong transmission.

    What i doing wrong?


    What i am doing wrong?

    • admin says:

      Hello Kari

      A couple of things.

      Firstly, you should try to recieve offset from the middle peak where there is local oscillator phase noise, say about 10 to 35 kHz away.

      Second, you will need to set the frequency calibration. You don’t say what softwre you’re using, and it is set differently in different software. For FCHID, the correction factor is about 999988 for units with serial numbers over 810, but it varies slightly from device to device. You calibrate it by using a known good source.

      I can recommend Mark Culcross’s excellent documentation here: for getting started. Note that if you are already at firmware 18J you can of course miss out the firmware update procedure.

      Many thanks, Howard.

  12. Hi There!!!

    Just updated my FCD Pro (NOT the + version!!) to firmware 18j

    When I check the version (using the FUNcube Dongle Bootloader program), I see the following reponse:

    HIDOpen of Vid_04d8&Pid_FB56 returns 1
    USB VID/PID found.
    HIDQuery returns 1
    Query message: FCDAPP 18.10 Brd 1.1 No blk
    Error: not in recoginised FCD mode

    Looks OK to me.

    Now the question here:

    Is this the latest version, or it there a higher version update for my FCD Pro (SN: 0003021). Board version is v 1.1

    Can I upgrade to a higher version, of even to a Pro + version?

    Thanks for any help!!


    Robbert / PA3BKL

    • admin says:

      Hello Robert

      That is good! 18.10 is the same as 18j. (J is the 10th letter of the alphabet so 18.10 = 18j).

      Many thanks, Howard

  13. dg8yhh says:

    Hello ,

    my FCD Pro V1.0 #155 hangs in Bootloadermode.

    The dongle runs for a long time perfekt , but without any activity of mine the bootloader mode is on .
    I tried to updated the firmware , reinstall all drivers … nothing work. Tried everything on different PC´s with XP an Win7

    Can anybody help me ?

    best 73
    Alfons DG8YHH

    • admin says:

      Hi Alfons

      That is an old FCD!

      I’ve sent you an email with repair/return details. I’ll gladly repair it free of charge.

      Many thanks, Howard