FUNcube Dongle Guides by David Barber

An introduction to the FUNcube Dongle
Setting up Spectravue with the FUNcube Dongle
Firmware Update Guide (Updated!)
WRPlus & FCD configuration (updated 8 Feb 2011)
WRPlus Satellite & FCD setup (updated 8 Feb 2011)

Some software downloads…

Windows fully functional front end
Windows fully functional front end with source (needs firmware 18d or above)
Windows fully functional front end with source (needs firmware 18f or above)
Basic front end with source code
Boot loader with source code
First public firmware release v18b
Beta firmware release v18c
Firmware pre-release v18d
Firmware pre-release v18e (don’t bother, 18f is your man)
Firmware v18f (very stable release)
Firmware v18h (I/Q correction included in firmware)
Firmware v18i (fix to clicking when streaming)
Firmware v18j (Recommended current version: fix the filter preselection between 868MHz & 1GHz)

Qt cross platform source code (original by your truly, a bit flaky)
Much better Qt cross platform frequency control app with source code by Alexandru Csete


The fully featured front end makes use of some functionality that exposes some NDA device functionality via a back door API that I used in the early days, so there’s no source available I’m afraid. That functionality will be available in the documented API firmware that I’m working on as we speak.

Tip: with the fully featured front end, pressing the “Defaults” button is almost always the right thing to do when you first plug in the FCD or launch the app. It resets a bunch of gain parameters to something sensible. The basic front end only allows frequency changing.

Known ‘features’ of the Qt host code (this has been written from scratch and these bugs not apply to the earlier Windows-only code)…

o Under Windows, when switching back from bootloader to normal “application” SDR mode, the FCD seems to stay in bootloader mode. Workaround: remove FCD and plug back in again a few seconds later.

o Under OS X and Linux, Switch to bootloader crashes the app. Workaround: Restart the application without removing the FCD. The FCD should now be in bootloader mode.

o Under OS X and Linux, Switch to application crashes the app, and FCD remains in bootloader mode. Workaround: Kill app, remove and reinsert FCD after a few sconds, then restart the application. The FCD should now be in application mode.

Using the bootloader

1. From the fully featured front end, put the dongle into Bootloader mode by pressing the “Reset to bootloader” button.

2. The Frequency Control app will no longer be able to send messages to the dongle once it is in bootloader mode. (Don’t panic, as long as you haven’t erased the device or written a bad binary image [aka a .bin file], if you unplug and plug it back in, it’ll go back to normal SDR mode. If you erased it or wrote a bad image to the device, it will spend its life in bootloader mode until a correct image is written. I spent an awful lot of time trying to make sure it’s very difficult to “brick” the FCD, in fact I haven’t managed to do it yet in its current version).

3. Run the FCHIDBL.exe program. It should show something like this:

HIDOpen of Vid_04d8&Pid_FB56 returns 1
USB VID/PID found.
HIDQuery returns 1
Query message: FCDBL
FCD in bootloader mode
Byte address range: 0x002A00 - 0x007E00
PC address range: 0x001C00 - 0x005400
Device ID address set
Device ID read, DEVID=0x4203, DEVREV=0x0200

4. Open the .bin firmware image file with the “Open file” button.

5. Press the “Write firmware” button. This takes about ten seconds or so. (When in bootloader mode, the soundcard interface says “BOOTLOADER” in 24WPM CW if you run your SDR program)

6. Press the “Reset to app” button and the dongle will now be back in SDR mode. Note that the bootloader app will show the following after “Reset to app” is pressed:

HIDOpen of Vid_04d8&Pid_FB56 returns 1
USB VID/PID found.
HIDQuery returns 0
Error, query device failed

This is normal as the bootloader has realilsed the FCD’s no longer in bootloader mode.


135 Responses to Downloads

  1. Ken Eaton says:

    Hi Howard,
    Congratulations on your recent success and the amazing response to the sell out of the
    Funcube Dongle. Apart from your very valuable contribution ( not only money but
    time and effort ) to making our hobby an asset also to education – you have made history ! – Fantastic.
    Unfortunately due major problems with my Paypal account being used to gain access
    and withdraw money from my bank account , I was advised to stop any transactions
    whilst investigation are taking place.
    Not sure even if things had been OK whether I would have been quick enough on the draw at my age to beat the rapid response on the day of the sale anyway.
    I have been invited once again to put on a table on behalf of Amsat at the Swansea
    Amateur Radio Society here in Wales during February.
    It would be an apportunity that I would not like to miss to show and perhaps demonstrate the Funcube Dongle along with details of the Funcube satellite.
    Also talking to members of ISSET ( International Space Educational Trust ) in response to the request for support needed fro the project etc.
    Happy New.
    Ken de GW1KY

  2. PaulC says:

    Are there any hints on compiling the cross-platform Qt code (under Mac OS-X) – I have downloaded the source but can find a Makefile.

    Thanks, Paul

  3. Mike says:

    Try using QT Create – you should find a project file.

  4. Frank PH2M says:

    Hello, is already someone busy with designing a DLL to use with Winrad or WRplus (to tune the FCD LO without having to use the “Windows full-on front end” ?

    Last week I have seen a nice DLL for the PM-SDR (see, it also had some preset buttons for several Broadcast & HAM bands, including frequency steps (e.g. 9 KHz for AM broadcast), something like this should be wonderful for the FCD.

    Sorry I’ am not a programmer my self…

    73 de Frank PH2M

  5. ad says:

    hi all, i just got my funcdongle and im trying to get to run under ubuntu, spectravue is already installed and running well via wine, i have installed the windows full on front end and get this error:

    HIDOpen of Vid_04d8&Pid_fb56 returns 0
    Error, FCD not found: is FCD correctly installed?

    Though my ubuntu system is listing it will as a sound card available to the system

    any tips greatly appreciated,

  6. ad says:

    ok, i made some progress trying to compile the qt sources, now after i got the executable permissions i hit a devices permission:

    USB device /dev/bus/usb/001/008: Permission denied

    will make it read – write and report back.

  7. Rob says:

    Have a read of the Q&A here
    may help.

  8. ad says:

    now, if i ran it as root i get a segmentation fault, same as when i give all permissions to the device.

    im wondering if theres a better place to give feedback and debug the funcdongle for ubuntu than this blog comments?

    anyone up for an IRC channel? im at #funcdongle in freenode but there’s no soul in there yet

  9. Rob says:

    You could always try the Funcube yahoo group with over 250 members , some one maybe able to help.

  10. Alexander says:

    Hello FunCube Dongle fans!

    Did someone used the software “SDR-Radio” from Simon Brown successfully with the FunCube Dongle?
    Looking forward to every hint.
    73, Alexander (DE7ALG)

    • Rob says:

      Hi Alexander
      Yes and works very well, audio quality is great, at the moment we don’t have frequency change of the FUNcube dongle via Simon’s software ,but works great via the sound card input and the front end software.

    • Frank PH2M says:

      Hello Alexander,

      With use of the App. FUNcube Dongle Frequency Control it works, but if you want to tune like with WRplus using the ExtIO_FCD_G0MJW.dll this is not working, sadly SDR-RADIO doesn’t recognize this DLL file.
      Sadly Simon doesn’t have a FCD and is not busy making SDR-RADIO compatible with a DLL file like this…

      73 de Frank PH2M (FCD #111)

  11. Alexander says:

    @ Rob an Frank:

    Many thanks for your feedback.
    Ok, so I can use it only together with FCD frequency control software…

    73, DE7ALG

  12. Rob Thompson says:

    The link to the “Windows fully functional front end with source” is Broken.
    I get a 404 page not found error
    After playing around for a bit I managed to get
    Here is a link that should work for everyone.
    I must admit I did find it strange that the error was caused by not having the filename all in uppercase. (Must be something to do with the webserver)
    Hopefully this helps…

    De. Rob 2E0RPT
    P.S. Once this error is fixed please feel free to remove this post.

    • Rob Thompson says:

      Just to clarify:
      I was talking about the
      “Windows fully functional front end with source (needs firmware 18d or above)”
      Also has anyone got any ideas on what settings to use when living in an RF Noisy location. (I have experimented with settings but it only gets worse)
      I have found using a HS-790 Duplexer as a bandpass filter for UHF helps a bit.
      Also have found using a SSE RF Notch Filter to block out pagers on 153 MHz helps a bit on VHF.
      But I am not getting half the result I can get using normal VHF & UHF Radios.
      I had hoped to make some good youtube videos to show off my FCD. But the only one i’v made so far is using it to listen to my local repeater. (What i forgot to mention in the video text that the dongle was on a Watson W30 Colinea while I was comparing it to a cheapy handheld on it’s own antenna)
      My youtube vid is hear:
      The FCD demo is in the last 2 mins of this vid. And I did slip up because the other SDR i use requires I&Q be swapped.

      De. Rob 2E0RPT (FCD #302)

      • Rob says:

        Ok make sure the level on the FUNcube dongle is set to 1 in recording devices.
        Set the mixer gain to 4dB, If your level of noise is very high, you may have to change the antenna to a beam.

        • Rob Thompson says:

          Thanks for the reply Rob.
          You said set recorder level to 1 But.
          I’m using Windows XP and there is no slider available for the USB Audio Device so it’s already preset to what ever level the dongle gets when 1st plugged in.
          Also I don’t have any OS beyond XP and reading other posts I get the feeling Howard don’t want that adjusting.

          I did change the Mixer Gain to 4dB and that did lower the raised noise level seen +/- 15k of the Lo Frequency but has now made the local repeater inaudible and barley visible on the waterfall. So it got worse instead of an intermittent dropout I am now get nothing. 🙁

          As for using a beam I can’t aim toward my local repeater without aiming directly at the noise. I will give it a try later and compare the FCD using a beam to my Alinco DR-605 using a dipole, But I suspect the Alinco will provide a better result. (Even if I swap the antennas)
          I will post my results later.

          Just a reminder (As this is the Downloads section)
          The Windows Front End (HID004) for Firmware 18d(pre) can successfully downloaded using this link:

          Hope this helps.
          De. Rob 2E0RPT (FCD #302)

          • Rob Thompson says:

            I’m sorry to say my results are NOT GOOD.

            1) Using FCD & a beam has NOT allot of benefit. (Some but very little)
            2) Using Alinco & a beam has lots of benefit.
            3) FCD can NOT pick up AO-51 using a beam.
            (also tried the dipole just in case)
            4) Alinco can pick up AO-51 using a dipole.

            I’m confused now, I’m not sure if this is local RF Overloading it or a problem with sensitivity.
            I will proceed with more testing,

            If you want to see my satellite beams click hear:

            12 Ele J-Beam for UHF
            12 Ele ZL-Special for VHF
            Tripod is balanced with a bit of friction so we can let go of it.
            360* Azimuth (can spin about 3 turns) by 180* Elevation (No need to rotate 180* and loose polarization when sat passes over head)
            Tripod is a heavy duty light stand from Maplins (Cost APX ₤20.)

            Next tests will be with some filters & a preamp on loan.
            Anyone got any other ideas?

            De. Rob 2E0RPT (FCD #302)

          • admin says:

            Hello Rob.

            How far does the noise floor rise when you plug in the antenna?


  13. Rob Thompson says:

    Hi Howard,
    Thanks for your reply.
    Without an antenna I get a -100db noise floor on 145.0 MHz and 435.0 MHz
    with an antenna I get a -95db noise floor on 145.0 MHz and -85db on 435.0 MHz

    But I’v noticed two things and this could be the reason.
    1) If a apply a slight twist to the SMA the noise floor dances around and sometimes returns to -100 db with the antenna plugged in. (Returns to -100db but with carriers that are not there without the antenna)

    2) I believe i’m getting RF noise from the PC it’s self, On certain 2 meter frequencies there is a very wide noise that I can shift by placing my fist around the USB extension lead. (I use a floppy USB extension lead to release any tension on the dongle due to the stiff coaxes I have)
    I have also checked the VSWR using that same antenna connector while wiggling it and found no problem. (Just in case it was the BNC I fitted)

    Does it sound like:
    1) I have a hairline crack near the SMA connector?
    2) Need to dig out my other PC hoping it has less noise? (BTW I’ll try this later today)

    Thanks in advance.
    De. Rob 2E0RPT

    • admin says:

      A 5dB increase in noise floor with the antenna plugged in on 2m is good and what I would hope for. However if you are seeing intermittent connectivity issues then that is indicative of a possible failure in the AC coupling capacitor in the HPF that I have seen occur in some units particularly if significant physical stress has been applied at the SMA end. As part of checkout, this is specifically tested for with stress applied. I am happy to check it out for you. The two units I have had returned with this fault have been fixed and back out the door the same day, one by post and one by personal caller which I fixed there and then – if you want a tour of the kitchen lab and a fix on the spot, let me know ahead though in case I’m out.


      • Rob Thompson says:

        Hi Howard,
        I’v been trying to contact you about my repair.
        1) Did you receive it (I did check the tracker on Wednesday but did it get to YOU?)
        2) Did you fix the problem?
        3) Have you posted it back yet?
        4) If you posted it back on Wednesday or Thursday can you tell me the tracking number?
        It hasn’t turned up yet and might still turn up on Monday.
        But I can’t ignore the fact the lazy posty leaves failed delivery notices in the common hall of my block of flats and allot of mail goes missing round hear.
        (Plus the luck I’m lacking recently – Bad things happen in 3’s)
        Thanks in Advance
        De. Worried Rob 2E0RPT

        • admin says:

          Hello Rob

          1) Yes, 23 Feb in the morning, I signed for it personally.
          2) Yes, took five minutes, it was the 1nF cap that I suspected.
          3) Yes, the same morning I received it, on 23 Feb, by next day 1pm Special Delivery, sent to the address written in your accompanying note.
          4) Yes, but you will have to wait until tomorrow morning for the tracking number as I am away from home this weekend and I don’t have the records with me.


          • Rob Thompson says:

            Thanks Howard,
            Can you give me the tracking number.
            It is Monday now and still nothing turned up.
            I might need the tracking number for the P.O. to start investigating.
            De Rob 2E0RPT

          • Rob Thompson says:

            IT’S ARRIVED 🙂
            Hi Howard,
            I pleased to say the dongle was waiting at the sorting office for collection and the area manager will be having stern words with the posty who left the delivery note in the common hallway.
            Especially as in the last 2 years missing post has cost them just under 1000 quid.

            Many thanks for the fix,
            De. Rob 2E0RPT (FCD #302)

          • Rob Thompson says:

            I’v still got problems receiving everything. 🙁

            My Noise floor keeps changing like local transmitters are de-sensing it.
            (Sounds like too much gain)

            And I can’t pick up ANY satellites on FCD even when the packet from ISS is very clear on the other radios.
            (Sounds like not enough gain)

            A 5&9 signal on the Alinco = a weak signal on the FCD using the same antenna (Not at the same time LOL)

            Did also try FCD using Arrow antenna on the downs away from town & everything electrical (Except Laptop) but didn’t hear ANY satellites.

            So what should I do now?
            Do I go buy preamps or filters?

          • SM3KYH says:

            I would go for bandpass filters

          • admin says:

            Hello Rob

            Sorry for the delay in replying, it’s been a little busy over the weekend with the sale: I have to be careful about my internet immersion during these times otherwise I’d never finish the distribution in time for the next post.

            If you’re seeing more than about a 5dB increse in the noise floor when you plug in an antenna, then you’re suffering desense.

            In this case I suggest either a low insertion loss filter or a preamp with integrated filter.

            As you probably know we’re investigating some reasonably priced options.


  14. Jordan rubin says:

    Any Linux hamlib support for apps such as gpredict??

    • admin says:

      Hello Jordan,

      Hamlib support has been written by some guys from the Netherlands and they have requested that it be put into the standard distribution.


  15. Wilmar Wounnsoscky says:

    Hi Howard!
    Could you please send me or post pictures taked by the both side of the electronic board with all components??? I would like to compare this with my 197 in special the inlet filter.

  16. Wilmar says:

    Hello Howard.
    Could you please put some pictures about the funcube electronic board with all components (both side) or pcb diagram ….
    I would like to compare the inlet components disposition (antenna side) with my board!

    • admin says:


      Let me know what you are trying to achieve here.

      SMA – BAV99W ESD diode to ground – 1nF – 150nH to ground – 27pF – 68nH to ground – 68pF to LNA.


      • Wilmar says:

        In my board:
        SMA – BAV99W – 150nH to ground – ? 27pf or 1nF ? – 68nH – 68nH to ground – 68pF to LNA. There isn´t on component.
        I think this is the problem why I´m only receiving strong signals.
        73 de PU9WIL

        • admin says:


          I do check every unit before packaging several times. The parts in the picture you sent me look correct to me. What is your antenna setup and what frequency are you looking at? How does the noise floor fluctuate as you put the antenna in and out.


        • admin says:


          The BAV99W is on the reverse side of the board.


  17. Roggen Bram says:

    If I bend the SMA connector on the dongle a litele I see the noisefloor rise, i have no idea if the reception is also better then. still have to do some test.

    I dit notice this when it was connected to the preamp and i moved the dongle a little.

  18. Hello, I’m confused about firmware releases… What are the differences?.
    I updated my FCD to v18f found in Yahoo groups, but not sure if I did well.. help me please…

    73 de Nacho, EB1GER

    • admin says:

      Hello Nacho

      It depends what you’re trying to do. The later firmware versions open up the FCD’s functionality for third parties to develop code beyond simple LO frequency changes. Typically I would expect third party developers to state “requires version xxx of firmware”.

      The intention is alway to maintain backwards compatibility, so 18f should support all the functionality of previous versions. Later versions also have bug fixes as well as API enhancements.


  19. tony G3OVH says:

    Having successfully bought a FCD on the 4 Feb sale, I am trying to use QTCreator on my Mac to compile the application, but keep failing at the first hurdle with error:

    “Could not find make command: make in the build environment
    Error while building project hid002 (target: Desktop)
    When executing build step ‘Make’ ”

    What do I need to add to stop this error – I have got the working directory pointing at where the file is located?

    • admin says:

      Hi Tony

      This is resolved if you have Apple’s Xcode toolchain installed.

      When things settle down I’ll have chance to package this up, unless of course anyone else is offering! I’m not a Mac guy, and until a few weeks ago it had been 20 odd years since I’d last programmed for a Mac, so there’s rather a lot to take on board!


  20. tony G3OVH says:

    Hi Howard
    Thanks for the quick reply. I “appear” to have the xcode toolchain installed from when I upgraded to Snow Leopard, but I havn’t actually used it – it certainly appears when I click on an Xcode project, and indeed whenever I open any source code, so I don’t know whether some project building in Xcode has to take place to get QTCreator to have the correct environment. As you can guess I am a bit of a newbie with these huge development suites. BTW, I was somewhat taken aback by the enormous disc space QTC…. needed – 2.2GB.

  21. tony G3OVH says:

    Re Xcode, QTCreator etc

    ps is it better to post on the FCD Yahoo group or here for such dialogue?

    • admin says:

      Hi Tony,

      There’s also and FCD developer group that Rob set up.

      Regarding Xcode, for the vrigin Mac I purchased about three weeks ago, which had Snow Leopard on it, I installed QT Creator, and received the exact same error as you regaring the make utility. So I installed Xcode from the Apple dev site, and that fixed it immediately.


  22. tony G3OVH says:

    Hi Howard
    I registered as a Mac developer and downloaded the Xcode 3.2.2 upgrade. That cracked it. Now I can get probably as far as you got with a bunch of errors/warnings needing fixing, and also got the same application window – none of the buttons do anything yet – but on the other hand I havn’t yet got a FCD to talk to, so perhaps that’s why they are greyed out.
    More midnight oil to burn I guess.

  23. Terry G3VFC says:

    Hello all…
    I have just received my FCD (170 – it’s been around with my son for a month or so awaiting handover to me… birthday and all that…) and it has been known to work on a laptop not far from me. I have no idea how many PC keystrokes it took him to get itgoing, but eventually it did and we were delighted with initial results.
    Now – I try to install SpectraVue on the shack PC (WinXP). It wont run, and displays”SpectraVue MFC Application has encountered a problem and needs to close. We are sorry for the inconvenience.” Son has departed.
    So – awaiting reply from Moe about the possibility it might be unhappy about running in H:\ rather than C:\.
    Now – considering using WRPlus. However – how does one establish which firmware version is in my FCD? Must be 18c. Reading the Firmware Update Guide I see no reference to the actual current version nor the version which is about to be loaded.
    Downloaded Bootloader, double-clicked it but FCHDIDBL.exe seems to be buried in folder then a subfolder, running it needs zipped files within the folder unzipping, and is generally unfriendly to a non-PC guru. Advice please…

    • admin says:

      Hello Terry

      Thanks for your note. The firmware update guide was written before we introduced firmware numbering. You can determine the version by looking at the result of the “Query message” line (line 4) in the FCHIDBL.exe file while the FCD is in _application_ mode.

      If on the fourth line it says “Error, query device failed” then it is either 18b or 18c. To determine whether it is 18b or 18c, imediately after insertion, start Spectravue (if you can!) andthen use the _original_ Full function front end’s Default button. If there is no difference to the noise floor then it’s 18c. If it drops by about 15 to 20dB then it’s 18b.

      Later versions make it easier. These are the other possible strings for that fourth line in application mode:

      “Query message: FCDAPP 18.04” version 18d
      “Query message: FCDAPP 18.05” version 18e
      “Query message: FCDAPP 18.06” version 18f

      I am not sure why you “need zipped files within the folder unzipping”? The firmware is distributed unzipped, you just need to open the file in the appropriate folder where you downloaded it.