[amsat-bb] Re: Need Advice for SDR choice

Howard Long howard at howardlong.com
Mon Jan 3 13:01:30 PST 2011

Hello Gordon

Thank you for your comments.

In case you didn't know it, the original manufacturers for the FCD pulled
out one day _after_ they were due to deliver to me. That has meant that
rather than having time to fully document the API and provide a full
interface, I have had to build the Dongles myself. I have now built over 100
units, placing over 10,000 parts, since mid December, while doing a day job
too, in order to keep up to my promise of having devices available before
Christmas. I hope that puts the position into some kind of context for you.
All this information is freely available on the website.

> Okay, but how can we write software for it without access to the spec
> for the chip?

In the meantime, other people have already had success writing software for
Linux, including both getting the Qt source to work and writing their own
HID interface for Hamlib using the source code I provided plus the
documentation on the API I provided on the website. 

> There *are* sample programs, but none of them appear to build in Linux.
> Maybe I'm missing something.  I got somewhere with the Qt version, but
> it moans about libusb not being installed.  Why it can't see libusb
> sitting there happily in /lib/ is beyond me.

My notes tell me that from a vanilla Ubuntu 10.10 install, you need g++ and

As I have explained I am pretty much a newbie to programming for Linux, and
I pretty much had to start from scratch and produce an application in three
weeks. If you don't like it, others have found that there is sufficient
information for them to write their own stuff. If there's something you
specifically can't figure out, you can always ask.

> Well, if it uses class-compliant devices then great - that *does* make
> it all a bit easier.  

It is. That was specifically part of the design criteria very early on, and
it's another one of those USPs, and is well documented as a feature.

> Well, if the software doesn't run in Linux then people won't use it in
> Linux.  If there was enough documentation to let me write software to
> support it, then I'd buy one as soon as they next became available.

Not sure what to say here, it _does_ run in Linux. There is API
documentation on the website. Yes I would like to enhance the documentation,
but this has not stopped others. I had a choice of delaying the promised
delivery date spending the time only improving the firmware, documentation
and software. In the end, during the time I worked on the all those three
_and_ made the boards, although compromises had to be made under the
circumstances when the manufacturer pulled out, which I freely accept, and I
hope that you can try to understand.

I hope this clarifies the situation. 

Now, back to making Dongles....
73, Howard G6LVB

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