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.


          • Rob Thompson says:

            Tested the dongle with single beam away from my home town out in the sticks, A place called Herstmonceux (Where I grew up)
            I was amazed how well it worked.
            Only problem was the laptop I was using did not want to record in WRPlus without stuttering the sound. (Believe laptop needs tighter rubber band or something LOL)

            I will try this again sometime with external PSU for laptop (so it runs faster) and I can then record the band and playback later while recording my screen for a YouTube video.

            Great work Howard.
            Thanks for all the help.

  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.


  24. Please Howard,
    May you add a date of the release to all the files , in the download page?
    Just the same as is for the WRPlus download.
    It would make it easier for the end user, I guess.
    Many thanks for the fine job and all the things you’re doing,
    73 de Augusto

  25. Hi Howard

    I am trying to develop an FCD instrument for my astronomical software ‘Starbase’, written in Java, with the help of Phil Ashby’s Java wrapper code. I was wondering if there is an ‘approved’ logo or icon for the FCD that I may use?

    Starbase is open source (GPL) distributed by the UK Radio Astronomy Association (UKRAA) , in conjunction with the British Astronomical Association. We are making an integrated observatory for radio and optical observations, using a variety of hardware. The FCD offers an opportunity to make e.g. a spectrometer for radio observations of the Sun, accessible to amateurs and schools, and we are keen to collaborate if we can.

    Laurence Newell

    • admin says:

      Hello Laurence

      The FCD is strongly connected to the FUNcube satellite and so it borrows its “branding” from AMSAT-UK’s FUNcube satellite project. Happy to help here if I can, you might find it easier via email though.


  26. Derek ZS5Y says:

    Is there any instalation guide ?step by step ? Iv never worked with SDR.’s and Spectra vue.
    I need tes from getting the FCD….any one ???


  27. David says:

    Hello i am using the funcube dongle with spectravue but cant get the demod option to work any idears


    • admin says:

      Hi Dave

      Not sure if you have followed the documentation in the downloads section, but if you email me some print screens of your settings I may be able to help.

      Also note that there’s a FUNcube Yahoo group with plenty of helping hands.


  28. matt says:

    hi was wondering when the next sale will be as was all sold out last night when i tried to get on

    thanks matt

    • admin says:

      Hello Matt

      Recently I have been trying to do a sale on Tuesday each week, but we have had some delays over the past couple of weeks procuring parts due to the tranche of no fewer than four public holidays in ten days here in the UK. As soon as I know I will confirm it here, but it will be as close to next Tuesday as we can make it.


  29. Andy says:

    Just wondering how one sets the sample rate as I seem to have only 48000. The sound card input setup shows 96000SPS, 96000Hz, 0Hz as the paramaters but the 2D plot screen clearly shows a drop off after -/+ 0.0192

    • admin says:

      Hello Andy

      I assume you’re using Spectravue. Have you tried both (a) setting the Soundcard In Setup to 96000, 96000, 48000, Stereo I/Q complex and (b) the main screen’s span to 0.096000MHz?


  30. gary goelz says:

    Being new to this, can the Pro be used with IF out from a Amateur radio & used as a Pan-adapter?? Given the right software??


  31. EA3MS says:

    I just received my FCD yesterday, works fine but I think it is very deaf. I cannot receive even the local QSO’s without the RX preamp on 2m and on 70cm. Is there a special configuration to increase sensitivity? I do not expect a super sensible rx but even local repeters or qso’s should be possible to receive. I have updated the firmware to v18f and tried to play with the parameters on the FCHid control software. I see an improvemens in increasing the S/N ratio by reducing theLNA gain to 0dB. Can I do some thing elese to improve the rx performance?
    Further, I would like to know if someone has experience with FCD working with wsjt or Linrad?

    • admin says:


      I suspect that you may be seeing some receiver blocking from some other signals. Typically people have been adding front end filtering to improve this.

      The FCD itself is pretty sensitive: I personally test every one for 12dB SINAD at 0.15uV prior to dispatch. However the front end filtering on VHF in particular can block.

      In addition, you may have a noisy PC: I am aware that filtering on some USB hosts is not the best. I strobgly suggest using a USB extension cable on the FCD to separate it from the PC particularly if you are encountering the situation you appear to have.

      Many thanks, Howard

      • SDRsharp says:

        I have experienced the same problem here. I live less than 2km away from tens of multi kilowatt broadcast transmitters (FM/TV/DVB.) Reducing the gain helped a lot. A tracking filter would have been ideal, but I imagine how difficult it is to include such a functionality in a tiny USB dongle.
        Otherwise, everything is working OK.

    • EA3MS says:

      I was checking again, I have always been using a shielded USB cable extension for the FCD. I see that the trick is to set the initial 20dB for the LNA to a lower value (e.g. 0dB) and I reduce the mixing gain at the first mixer to 4dB instead of 12dB. I was comparing the FCD to my FT 847 and preamp I can hear better low signals on the FCD.

  32. David Cove says:

    I read about this on Sunday, ordered it Sunday night and was AMAZED to see the Federal Express truck show up in Rural Vermont, USA before noon on Tuesday.
    Thank you!!

  33. Aaron says:

    Hi Howard,

    I received my FUNCube Dongle today and am looking forward to getting a chance to write some code for it.

    Quick question: Is there a HID command (i.e. the second byte that I write to the HID device write handle) to retrieve the current firmware version so I can determine which revision is installed on the device?

    • admin says:

      Hello Aaron

      First you need to identify if it’s there at all using the basic USB primitives.

      Then you can send a “query” hid command to identify if it’s in bootloader mode or application mode (responds with a TRUE status byte followed by a string, [FCDBL], or [FCDAPP+version and board info]). The exception to this is if you’re in app mode and you have the base factory 18b: in this case, it doesn’t understand the “query” command so you get a FALSE status when you send a “query” command and it’s in app mode.

      So you need to do a little probing I’m afraid to determine this programmatically.

      You can also tell interactively by using the FCHIDBL program and a bit of detective work. Run the FCHIDBL program up and then insert the dongle. The FCHIDBL program automatically detects the FCD insertion and sends a “query” hid command, and displays the “query” result automatically. If it’s the base 18b, it will show “Error, query device failed”. Any other verision will show “Query message: FCDAPP xx.xx Brd y.y etc….”

      There is no harm in upgrading or downgrading to and from different firmware versions. Just keep in mind that when you do the firmware updates that no other apps are FCD running, as this interferes with flash uploading, and as often as not it will get stuck in the bootloader, which is the default “panic state” of the FCD – for good reason, otherwise it might end up bricked! There’s no harm done, if you end up in this position, just upload the firmware again but without any other apps running.

      Many thanks, Howard

  34. bk says:

    Are the dongles all functionally tested before shipping? I just received mine and updated firmware to 18i. Using Qthid and iSpectrum on Mac. Scanning the bands, I get nothing but noise or the occasional birdies… Nothing like the videos other users have posted on youtube. Just using a short wire as an antenna, but I’d expect to at least get some signal for the strong local FM radio stations. I’ve maxed out the all gains in Qthid. Reading other’s comments, I tried reducing the LNA and other gains. No joy. Possibly a bad dongle??

    • admin says:

      Hello BK

      Firstly I am sorry that you are having difficulties with your FCD.

      I personally test _every_ FCD end to end, and that includes RF sensitivity testing, just prior to shipping.

      Can you let me know what happens when you plug in and remove the antenna?

      Are you using a USB extension lead, or is it plugged straight into your Mac?

      Feel free to email me some print screens to my Paypal email account.

      Many thanks, Howard

  35. bk says:

    Hi Howard,

    Things are looking better now. After attaching a real antenna, and downloading some better software (DSP Radio 1.3.0), I’m getting much better results. I’ll try adding a USB extension cable, to get the FunCube farther away from the Mac.


    • admin says:

      Hello BK

      OK, any further problems please let me know. You might find it easier to email me screenshots on my Paypal account.

      There’s also an independent Yahoo FUNcube group that often has plenty of suggestions too.

      Many thanks, Howard

  36. Hi. I have written up a small step by step tutorial about how to upgrade the firmware of your funcube dongle. It is located here:


    • admin says:

      Hello Marius

      Excellent. Do you want me to put it on this site or would you prefer it on the Yahoo site?

      Many thanks, Howard

  37. Wolfgang Arnold , Dj3qd says:

    Hello ,
    I recently got the Funcube , it seems to work fine , the background noise with 50 Ohms at the input is a little high -85 dB with spectraview, not about -100 dB as mentioned in the manual.
    As I had planed to use it at 1240 to 1250 MHz as the if reciever for my 8.4 GHz spacecraft tracking station, I am a little dissapointed that just in that frequency range, 1095….1265 MHz it is not usable.I read in the faq that there is a locking problem .
    Is there a chance that this will be fixed in the near future ?

    best regards Wolfgang , Dj3qd

    • admin says:

      Hello Wolfgang.

      Regarding the -85dB, this can be a little misleading as this is a figure designed for relative measurements rather than being an absolute measurement. It is also of course dependent on what the gain settings are set to.

      I am afraid there is a limitation in the PLL, VCO and divider chain of the tuner chip that we use. This is not specifically documented by the chip manufacturer, but when we started to test preproduction units out, we dicovered the gap that we documented in the FAQ. I’m afraid that with the current device there isn’t a way to circumvent this. Can you adjust your LO to compensate?

      Many thanks, Howard

  38. bernhard lueck says:

    Hi Howard,

    is there anywhere a documentation about the several paramaters which shown in the FCD control panel? I didn’t find anything. My 2nd question is about the byte stream which will be send to the FCD for frequency setting. I assume that within this control string not just the frequency is set, but also the FCD filter, preamp, phamtom volatge … will be set. Is there a documentation about the field description to be used?

    best regards

    • admin says:

      Hello Bernhard

      Thank you for your note.

      The parameters directly control the available settings on the tuner chip itself. I strongly recommend that you take a look at the source code made available such as as that has all the code used to chat to the FCD using the USB HID interface. There is a header file in there, FCHidCmd.h, that describes the various command codes.

      In general, each of the settings are controlled with a separate HID command.

      There’s also a post here that describes the HID interface:

      Many thanks, Howard

  39. Roland says:

    OSX 10.7.3 with qthid 3.1 : No FCD detected. Whas wrong?

    • admin says:

      Hello Roland

      Can you let me have some more information please? What software (and version(s) is it that is telling you that no FCD is detected?

      Many thanks, Howard

  40. Laurent BLIN says:

    Hello everybody.
    I had a problem on my main PC running XP sp3 the dongle was not recognised as a
    sound card.
    The solution was to include the WINDOWS/INF directory of another installation of
    windows in the search path for drivers.
    It seems that something modified the original directory.
    In fact comparing the two directories revealed that lots of modifications are made
    by the various programs i tried .or use.

    • admin says:

      Hello Laurent

      A very good post: I’m aware that in a few OEM releases of Windows XP, some of the USB driver files are missing.

      Many thanks, Howard

  41. Ben - AA7AS says:

    Hi. Received the FCD today. basic front end can set freq under windows, Spectraview can receive radio, so FCD is working 100%.

    Under both windows and the Mac, the precompiled Qt “fully featured” front end fails to find the FCD — the UI is disabled and there is a red message “no FCD detected”.

    Given this failure, I downloaded the source code, compiled it in Qt, fixed the warnings in the code (unused variables in function calls, harmless but annoying and very bad practice), and get the same results.

    Before I go digging into the source to try and figure it out, I should point out that the FCD is plugged into a powered hub — where, as I say, it works fine with the simple front end and Spectraview. Does anyone know if the Qt code handles other than the primary ports on a computer?

    • Ben - AA7AS says:

      OK, never mind. The “fully geatured” Qt-based front-end software is completely incompatible with the firmware shipped. Works once the FCd is upgraded to 18j.

    • Ben - AA7AS says:

      OK, never mind. The “fully featured” Qt-based front-end software is completely incompatible with the firmware shipped. Works once the FCd is upgraded to 18j.

  42. Clinton (pt2ar) says:

    Ref.: FCD Pro #5939, Firmware 18j

    Hello Howard.

    Sorry, but I need help. I can not do my FCD to work. The FCHid I can run successfully, the FCD is detected, but the same does not happen with SpectraVue (installed and reinstalled). In the lower left corner of the screen is labeled “USB Not Connected”. It is not possible to start the setup. I have installed on my PC (Win Vista) SDR – Radio V 1.4, which also does not detect the FCD: the screen and the sound is the same with or without the device plugged. My Mac (OSX V 10.7.4) also ignored the FCD plugged – no reaction. What to do?
    73’s, Clinton, pt2ar

    • admin says:

      Hello Clinton.

      You must set the Spectravue InputDevice to SoundCard, then go to the SoundCard In Setup and configure that. Spectravue does not directly understand the USB protocol used by the FCD. That is why you need the FCHid program.

      I can recommend Mark Culcross’s excellent document here on setting up the FCD, although note that we are now up to firmware 18j.

      Once the firmware is updated, you can use software like SDRSharp and SDR Radio to directly control the the FCD in an integrated manner. For the Mac, I can recommend SDRDx which directly supports the FCD too (you need to press the “FCD” button).

      Many thanks, Howard

  43. Dmitriy says:

    Good afternoon.
    For some reason, the device is constant in a mode
    “bootloader mode”. At turning on of the device in USB port, the FUNcube Dongle Bootloader program shows at once “FCD in bootloader mode”.
    How to transfer to an operating mode?

    • admin says:

      Hello Dimitriy

      Has this just happened or is it recent?

      Did you recently update the firmware?

      Many thanks, Howard

      • Dmitriy says:

        I received the receiver at the end of May, but time to be engaged in it appeared just now. Connected the device, tried to use with the HDSDR program and a plug-in for FUNcube, didn’t earn.
        Tried to update, as it is described on a site. Updating pass, check Ok, but after reset doesn’t come back to a normal mode.

        • admin says:

          Hello Dmitriy

          Can you email me a print screen of the FCHIDBL screen please? g6lvb at amsat dot org

          Thank you, Howard

          • Dmitriy says:

            I sent print screen of the FCHIDBL screen, on e-mail 15.07.12.

          • admin says:

            Hello Dmitriy

            Apologies, your email ended up in my ISP’s spam filter, occasionally that happens.

            Usually if the device will not exit bootloader mode there is a hardware fault that occurs while starting up the firmware.

            I suggest that you return the unit and I’ll send you a replacement right away when I receive your original.

            If you can email me a tracking number of the returned device, I will send a brand new replacement straight away.

            Many thanks, Howard

  44. Dmitriy says:

    I sent you a packet, and wrote the letter. Please check mail

    • admin says:

      Hello Dmitriy

      Yes, I received it and I’ve repaired it: the tuner chip had a dry joint on it, so I have resoldered it and all tests out perfectly now. I’ll Fedex it back to you.

      Many thanks, Howard

  45. Bill N3HQB says:

    For 2 meter repeater reception, I use a FunCube Dongle with SdrDx software (v. 2.08a), a PAR Electronics VHFTN152-158 notch filter (eliminates pager intermod wonderfully) and a GaAsFet preamp, connected with LMR-400 coax to a 3-element vertically polarized yagi made from Arrow antenna components. It’s the best combination I’ve put together thus far. (Notch Filter) Sdr-Dx)

  46. Neville says:

    Hello Howard, I purchased the Funcube Dongle Pro about 3 months ago, at the time it was the latest ver 1.1 pro serial 6355 Firmware 18j. I have tried on and off since I purchased the above to get it working, without success I have reloaded the 18j firmware from you website and followed the instructions all loaded ok. The problem that I am encountering is that I cannot receive any radio frequency on it, the only thing I manage to get is on 144800 short bursts of packet radio which is very quiet, and when I changed frequency and set the new frequency all I get is a continuosly cw tones and telling me that the dongle is not there. I have tried all bands with no success. My friend who has recently purchased you latest model Pro+ seems to be working aok. As this was not cheap I would appreciate feed back on where to send this back to, in order for it to be checked out for any faults on it.
    Many thanks I would appreciate a reply.
    Neville G4ZTM

    • admin says:

      Hello Neil

      Sorry for the problems that you seem to be encountering.

      I’ve emailed you personally with how to proceed. Let me know if you’ve not received that email.

      Many thanks, Howard

    • Neville says:

      Hello Howard, I wonder how my Dongle is coming along, did you find any problems with it ?, or was it just a firmware problem. Or have you fixed it and despatched it back to me. I have been looking on my email to see if you had passed any comment, but as yet have not had any further emails from you.
      I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year
      Neville G4ZTM

      • admin says:

        Hello Neville

        Thanks for your note: I have it in fromt of me and I’ve can’t find any fault with it immediately: I’ll send you an email separately to discuss further.

        Many thanks, Howard

  47. Gary Cash says:

    Hi Howard is it possible to buy a replacement sticker for the PRO?
    Cheers Gary

  48. Mike G0MJW says:

    Hi Howard,

    Is it possible to put the extio here as people new to the dongles keep asking on the yahoo groups. To download they need to join yahoo whereas here they only need solve a moderate maths puzzle


    • admin says:

      Hello Mike

      Good idea, I will put it on the site: I assume it’s pretty stable?

      Many thanks, Howard

      • Mike G0MJW says:

        It seems stable. The old version for the pro has a bug I ought to fix. It is in the ini file reading. Subtle stupidity on my part..

  49. Lucio says:

    Hi Howard,
    I use HDSDR up to 70 MHz with ExtIO_FCDPLUS_G0MJW.dll smoothly and seems very stable. For frequencies above 70 MHz use SDR #
    I wanted to ask Mike if the error indicated in green in this photo is just graphics or influence the yield of FCDPlus.
    “RF Filter

    73 de Lucio, I0LYL

    • Mike says:

      Ah – That is either a typo on my part or Howard’s latest super narrowband filter. I will go with typo. I will upload a corrected version presently. I will also bump it up to release 1.0 as it seems stable enough. There are no other changes of note.


      • serge szpilfogel says:

        Mike GE
        I am planning on getting an FDC pro +. I have right now your Extio_FDC_ G0MJW.dll in HDSDR version 2.51 Is an update needed for the new FCD PRO +??
        Also does the new FCD needsits fiemware updated like the first FCD i got a year ago. Thanks
        Serge / VE1KG

  50. Mike Luckham says:

    I’ve been using FCD Pro+ with SDRsharp, and decided to try gnuradio. I downloaded the gnuradio Windows build from Ettus and found sources on using the Funcube Dongle Block – mainly here

    But I’ve been unable to get the FCD to work, I think because of the device name. The name provided in the examples (hw:0 and others) are Linux-style names.

    I’ve sent some questions to the developers, but if someone finds or know the device name to use I would appreciate finding out what is is!

    Many thanks for your ‘fun’ product!

    • admin says:

      Hello Mike

      Thank you for your note.

      Well, I’d love to help you here but my knowledge of gnuradio is limited to knowing of it and that’s about it I’m afraid.

      I am not sure who was involved in building the FCD/FCD+ block(s), is there someone else referenced?

      I can also recommend asking in the FUNcube or FCDPRoPlus Yahoo groups: there are lots of folk there with experience of GNU Radio.

      Many thanks, Howard

  51. Mike Luckham says:

    Thanks Howard – yes, I have sent email to a couple of people and when/if I get a reply I will post it here.

  52. Peter says:

    I am somewhat puzzled by the FCD+ I purchased last month.
    I’ve been running it with SDR# and find it flatly insensitive, what sort of results should I expect on say, the 30m band, the FM band(87.5-108MHz), 2m and 70cms.
    I ask for some quick practical checks as I want to divide up my experiences to see if it SDR# or the FCD+ that is the item puling down results.
    I will try and arrange for MDS measurements through a friend, and I’ll also be trying out other programs like HDSDR and KGKSDR.
    Regarding SDR# (the stable version)- It took me a while to latch on to the ‘reversed’ gain setting needed in SDR#.
    Are there any other unexpected quirks there?

    • admin says:

      Hi Peter.

      On HF, the FCD+ is about the same as an SDR-IQ, that’s what I used as a benchmark when developing the FCD+. A quick measurement is to get around 12dB SINAD for NBFM for -108dBm in on HF. I use the SINAD test as it’s really quick to set up and provides a comparative measurement for sensitivity purposes.

      For 2m and 70cm, the units are measured for 12dB SINAD for NBFM at -123.4 (0.15uV). Broadcast band should be about the same.

      If you really are getting insensitivity, please check that you are not using a WiFi reverse polarity (or RP) SMA connector: you need a standard SMA connector for the FCD and FCD+.

      Regarding the “reverse gain” setting, I think that you are referring to the “Swap IQ” setting: this is covered in the manual. The FCD and FCD+ use the same “standard” set by Spectravue, but other software chooses to operate in the reverse way.

      Many thanks, Howard

      • Peter says:

        Thanks for some figures to work on with.
        I come back with some results/answers in due course.

  53. Gary Vander Haagen says:

    Received the Pro+ about two weeks ago. Works nice. Thanks. On the PC I get a noise floor of about -80 dbm with a center and +- 75 KHz peaks either side at about -70 dbm. Is that normal?


    • admin says:

      Hi Gary

      There are two minor peaks out towards the span edges, one either side, that I believe are caused by the ADC’s internal LDO regulators. Interestingly, they also appear on the manufacturer’s data sheet.

      The peak in the middle is due to DC offset and phase noise. SDR# should do a pretty good job at getting rid of the DC offset but phase noise by its very nature is not predictable so you’re left with a peak at the centre. This is a product of the analogue quadrature mixing stage and LO, and usually I recommend demodulating off centre because of this: there’s a note about this in the manual.

      Many thanks, Howard

  54. Gary Vander Haagen says:


    Thanks for reply on spurs. I am still baffled by the terminated noise floor. At best mine is -85 dbm using the latest standard SW. I have noted a few posts with -100 dbm or more. Am I missing something?


    • admin says:

      Hello Gary

      Sorry it looks like I misunderstood your question. What OS are you using? If it’s Vista/W7/W8, check the levels setting for the FCD+ recording device in the Sound control Panel applet.

      Also what software are you using? The dB levels are all relative, but I agree, about -95 to -100dB or so is a nice starting point.

      If you are seeing the spurs, as these are very low level, then I am sure that it is a software-side level setting thing.

      Many thanks, Howard

  55. Gary Vander Haagen says:


    Thanks. Using w7 with a resetting of the recording level the spurs are just about gone and the noise floor runs -105 dbm or so. The overall sensitivity is also better. Thanks much.


  56. Tore Chr.Lian says:

    Fun Cub dongle for HF band .

    • admin says:

      Hello Tore

      Yes the FUNcube ProPlus(+) does do HF. The original FUNcube Dongle Pro does not.

      Many thanks, Howard