I plan to use a SoftRock Ensemble RX II to receive HF transmissions. I'd like to be able to use it wherever I am when I have a few minutes, though, so I'm wondering what software exists that would allow me to control the receiver over the internet?

I've seen websdr and it appears to support some of the functions of this receiver, but it also appears to publish itself to the websdr website, allowing others to control the station as well. The worst part is that it doesn't allow full control of the receiver, it appears you have to select the band and center frequency at the computer, and cannot operate those parameters remotely.

While I'd prefer windows, if Linux applications are available that do this I'd be willing to set up a PC just for that purpose.

Also not necessary but desired is that it would work with iOS devices, either via HTML5 and javascript, or with a specific app.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you know of any documentation of what the protocol to control the device's tuning/settings is? I find wb5rvz.org/ensemble_rx_ii/index?projectId=16 but no explanation of the software requirements. I mention this because I have (rather pre-release-quality) software that might fit your requirements (especially given receive-only) provided one wrote a plugin for the device's USB control line. $\endgroup$ – Kevin Reid AG6YO Dec 12 '13 at 0:32
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    $\begingroup$ @KevinReid Excellent! The firmware is documented here halfway down the page. It uses libusb, and appears to have only one control endpoint with a number of possible commands. $\endgroup$ – Adam Davis Dec 12 '13 at 1:01
  • $\begingroup$ See also this answer to a similar question $\endgroup$ – Dan Dec 16 '13 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ Related: Is there a way to listen to live HF communications using the internet? $\endgroup$ – Dan Dec 16 '13 at 15:55

OK: Windows host for SoftRock Ensemble RX II, remote control of digital modes - why not an COTS (Cheap Off the Shelf) solution, such as TightVNC or other VNC solutions? Since you are talking about station control, not voice, the lack of voice is not an issue, is it?

It's GPL open source (free as in beer), even cross-platform, and supports Android and anything else which runs Java, which would really give you spur-of-the-moment access. You can even get a Reflector app to allow multiple viewers if you wished.

  • $\begingroup$ If nothing else is available then a remote desktop solution would work. Tightvnc wouldn't be a good option because it doesn't support sound, but there are others that do. Remote desktop solutions require significant networking bandwidth as well, so I'd prefer an app made for this specific use to a general solution, but it is otherwise a reasonable solution. $\endgroup$ – Adam Davis Dec 12 '13 at 1:33

If you're feeling technically adventurous, then I have written something that might fit your needs. I wouldn't consider suggesting this if it weren't that as far as I know web-controllable SDR software is a very small field (there is only WebSDR, my thing, and another early-stages program I've forgotten the name of).

My ShinySDR is a SDR application based on GNU Radio with a web-based UI. I regularly use it remotely myself. It already supports “sound-card” input, so the only thing you would need to do is write a plugin (in Python) to send the USB control commands to your device.

I'll refrain from reiterating the feature list here. There are several caveats worth noting for your scenario:

  • There are a number of things the software should do, but doesn't, and some of them manifest as nonfunctional controls in the UI. I'm working on fixing them, but in my spare time.

  • The web UI only reliably works in Google Chrome, because I have not been making any effort to avoid features that are not yet implemented by other browsers (draft standards, not implementation-specific).

  • It is currently receive-only (so is your hardware, but others might want to note this).

  • No one with experience with “real” radios has been involved in the design of the UI or the feature set, so there may be important things missing, or just misguided.

  • The required network bandwidth has not yet been fully optimized.

(I'd love to just go ahead and add support for your device and provide a complete solution, but since I don't have the hardware to test with that's unlikely to happen. Also, another path to support which would benefit more users would be to contribute the functionality to gr-osmosdr, a multi-device plugin for GNU Radio.)


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