Using the FCD with WSPR, CW Skimmer, Spectraview, DRM. Fault-finding.

Problems if your Funcube Dongle does not work look here

Using the FCD

FCD = Funcube Dongle, here a Pro+ with HF integrated. The FCD is actually the same as a soundcard SDR. 

Some software such as MultiPSK can control the FCD directly.
If not it is possible to use the FCD along with FCDHid directly with some software. On this page I describe ways to do that. This method is simpler in some ways but tuning  needs a little thought!
Update January 2015:- The methods below assume that the FCDPro+ can only be tuned in 1KHz steps by FCDHid. BUT it may be tuned in 1Hz steps by using the DLL. For example setup HDSDR with the FCDPro+ DLL. Then just use HDSDR to tune the "LO". HDSDR only needs to be the active window, it does not need to be running. HDSDR may be used in "compact mode" Options - Visualisation - untick "Show upper display" and "Show lower display". It could be terminated once the frequency has been set. Note if you have more than one FCD HDSDR can select from multiple FCDs.
Using this technique you only need to know the required LO frequency, none of the 1KHz compensation calculations below need to be done.

Original FCDpro with HF converter:- Similar but sample rate 96000 and different tuning utility. You will have to calculate to allow for the converter's oscillator offet.
Other soundcard SDRs:- SDRs like the Softrock may be used as I describe on this page. For a Softrock you must select it's soundcard, sample rate and use CFGSR to tune.
The normal way of using a SDR with digimodes is to run a SDR program like HDSDR and pipe the audio to the digimode program with Stereo Mix, VAC or similar. Examples HERE This is the best way. But if you want to play:-

WSPR  (At the bottom of this section:- How to use a transceiver with 500Hz tuning steps for WSPR) 


This section might be useful for helping one understand the WSPR-IQ frequency relationships and also shows a calibration check that is relevant to the normal mode of operation.
The FCDPro+ makes a good stable WSPR receiver.

WSPR has an IQ mode. The 2.1 supplement shows the fundamentals. I tried tuning the FCD with its control utility then configured WSPR to suit. or newer, HERE 
The picture below shows my results. Clicking on the picture will show it full size in another window. Select the FCD as Audio input, set WSPR to IQ mode. I found that "Reverse RX IQ" had to be ticked. This is likely to be the same for all FCDp+. At about 07.51 I used a stronger marker signal, that's when I set the IQ balance (RX phasing).
 The first problem is that the dongle control will only set the frequency to the nearest KHz, some form of compensation is required. But see my note about HDSDR above. WSPR IQ offers this by way of the Fiq value. This also allows for adjustment of any frequency error of the FCD.
Normally Fiq is 12000Hz, placing the SDR's local oscillator 12000Hz below WSPR's "Dial" frequency. By telling WSPR the true value WSPR's reported frequencies will be correct. 

On 30m the dial frequency is 10.138700MHz I set the FCD to the nearest 12KHz below, 10.127MHz.
This is 300Hz higher than WSPR's default Fiq requires.
So subtract 300Hz from 12000Hz. Fiq = 11700
You may then calculate the exact frequency of the FCD. HDSDR shows my FCD requires -3ppm compensation so it's LO is actually running 3ppm high, approximately 30Hz high, at 10.127030.
So, increase the Fiq value by 30Hz, Fiq = 11730 Enter that in the box.

Ideally an accurate reference should be used. I have a DDS which has a OCXO reference, accurate to a fraction of a Hz at 10MHz. This I set to the centre frequency 10.140200MHz.
On the left of the waterfall above is my first attempt. This signal appears at 260, 
I had miscalculated. As the signal was 60Hz high I increased the Fiq value by 60Hz and my reference settled on 200.

If the received frequencies are high on the WSPR scale then increase the Fiq value by that amount. (Or increase the LO frequency if using HDSDR to tune.)

Immediately after calibration my reported frequencies are likely to be within 1-2Hz comparisons with others are difficult unless you know they are one of the "standards". Once you have the frequency set you may tick "Upload Spots".

Other frequencies will need recalculation. I tried using RWM on 9996MHz for calibration. Dial frequency for WSPR =9996.000-1.500 = 9994.500 FCD frequency 9994.500-12000 = 9982.500, used 9983.000, 500Hz high. Fiq 12000 - 500 = 11500 +/- correction. Best use "Band - Other" to avoid overwriting WRPR's default frequencies. If you are just making a quick frequency check then there is no need to change the WSPR frequency. 
This shows some modes of RWM, best wait until the hour or half hour when 8 minutes of plain carrier is transmitted. Note WSPR requires a Dial of 1500Hz below the receive frequency, this is confirmed by double clicking in the centre, TX 9996.000 is the actual frequency. Any known standard may be used as long as you are certain of what you see. WSPR is slow and frustrating. Or use WSPR-X (No IQ mode but a real-time waterfall) along with an SDR program!!

I think WSPR receive makes this technique useful, especially for long-term monitoring of one frequency. Make a note of your settings, then it is easy to return. Only two figures need changing, my figures for . . Do not forget your FCD will have a different calibration factor.

160m are FCD = 1825, Fiq = 11596
30m 10127 Fiq=11760
12m FCD = 24913 Fiq = 11680

[And for a different Fiq away from the standard 12000:-
60m WSPR standard frequency Dial 5.287200 FCD 5277 Fiq10217
60m WSPR Dial 5.250 for (5.2515 RX) FCD 5240 Fiq 10018
                  Dial 5.2485 for (5.250 RX) FCD 5239 Fiq 9524 (Re ZS6KTS)
                  Dial 5.2480 for (5.2495 RX) FCD  5238 Fiq 10017 
12m FCD=24915 Fiq=9695
10m FCD = 28115 Fiq = 9698

Same calculation. [I do not know how far Fiq may be moved but I've gone down to about 2500.] I used a Fiq around10000 just because it is a "round" number.

A composite showing my settings for 5.248MHz Dial WSPR. (TX IQ is irrelevant.) For best results use a strong in-band signal to set the RX phasing.

Sample rate:- I was doubtful whether this would work, the FCD runs at 192KSPS, would WSPR see the IQ? But WSPR must resample??

Other programs:- MultiPSK is another program that will receive an IQ input, maybe worth a try... Dream for DRM... but always easier with an accompanying SDR program.

WSPR v2.11 I show a version that was not generally released, September 2010, not a new version. And the colour.. playing with the contents of in the WSPR folder.

*font: ArialBlack 8
*Label*font: Arial 10
*Text*font: "Courier New" 10
*Canvas*font:           "Lucida Console" 16
*background: Red
*Text*background: MCmintGreen
*Entry*background: PowderBlue
*foreground: black
*Listbox*foreground: Ivory

WSPR, a note regarding use with non-standard Dial Frequencies. This note is not relevant for the FCD, just for the non IQ mode.
Stewart ZS6SGM uses a commercial transceiver with only 500Hz steps. We discovered that WSPR may be configured to use non-standard Dial Frequencies.
For 60m the closest transceiver frequency to the standard Dial frequency of 5.2872MHz is 5.2870MHz.
Set WSPR "Dial" to the actual frequency. 5.2870.
Set "TX" to the actual frequency you require (5.2886-5.2888MHz) WSPR will actually transmit on this frequency.
The dial is 200Hz lower than standard. Set RX BFO in WSPR to 1700Hz. WSPR will then report the correct frequency of stations spotted. The scale in WSPR will be incorrect showing 200Hz lower but this is a visual defect. Another problem is that you will report your dial frequency to the "Activity" page if nobody is spotting your signal.
And WSPR will not upload spots. Use the Old Database page. Or this may be done with a batch file. Look here The main line requires changing, my example:-
"C:\MoreProgramFiles\WSPR\curl.exe" -F allmept=@"C:\MoreProgramFiles\WSPR\ALL_WSPR.TXT" -F call=G4ZFQ -F grid=IO90IR   This could be executed manually or with a utility, I use Pycron but probably Task Scheduler could be used.

WSPR, Upload Batch File

"D:\MoreProgramFiles\WSPR-Folder\curl.exe" -F allmept=@"D:\MoreProgramFiles\WSPR3-Folder\ALL_WSPR.TXT" -F call=G4ZFQ -F grid=IO90IR
ping -n 200 >nul
goto A

rem For this to work get curl.exe from  put it in your WSPR working folder.
rem Modify the 4th line above by editing the paths (in "inverted commas") so it is your WSPR folder.
Rem Then double clicking this .bat file should upload your ALL_WSPR.TXT
rem You could place this bat file in a convenient place or make a shortcut to it.

rem You could place curl.exe in it's own folder, then the start of line 4 would be different, perhaps "C:\Curl\curl.exe"
rem This bat is just my updated version of the one on the WSPRnet site.

Setting time on Windows 7, Windows 10 is the same.

Many use a NTP program. Windows Internet time will be perfectly adequate for WSPR but needs a Registry change to enable a more regular setting. (Default = 642800 seconds = 7.44 days) 


SpecialPollInterval - Modify - Decimal, number of seconds....  3600 for every hour.   

It is possible to use the FCD with any program that looks for an IQ input. CWSkimmer is one This 30 day test shareware program is popular with CW enthusiasts. on this picture to open it full-size in a new window.

It might be better to use the FCD with HDSDR as shown here I have tested my FCD like this. There is not much to add, just setup HDSDR for the FCD and connect to Skimmer as shown. 
Carefully setup it may be used to search and pounce with a transceiver. Like this CW Skimmer is limited to 24KHz bandwidth.

Click on image for full size in new window.
Again, a tricky setup but acceptable if you do not want to shift frequency too often. FCHid is used to set the FCDP+ frequency. The center frequency of the Spectraview setup tab may be adjusted to allow for the FCD's calibration.
The picture shows a local AM station on 999KHz. The LNA, Mixer and IF gain need to be set for best reception at the frequency of operation.

A more detailed description Click on "Show message history"

Look here for information about installing Dream,%20Dream (This shows a better but slightly more complex setup.)  I used version 1.17qt4, but, May 2016 v 2.1.1 is much the same. Do not miss my notes about Libfaad2 dll.
Without a supporting SDR program determining the frequency requires simple addition. FCDHid may be used to tune. Get it HERE Do not forget the "Enter (Return)" key after typing the required frequency.
Another way of tuning the FCD is to use HDSDR in compact mode. Then you can have 2 VFOs, station memories, and Page Up/Down to move in whatever steps you set the sample rate. You do not have to select the FCD as input or even start HDSDR, just select the FCD DLL. Setup a HDSDR profile for this.

This composite contains the FCHid, the Basic Dream scan/information window, Drop-downs View -Evaluation Dialog - Input Spectrum and View - Stations Dialog - Update - Get....
Dream scans the FCD's bandwidth above the LO and decodes DRM if possible.

The  Settings - Soundcard shown bottom left:-
Audio Output  = Your speaker output, normally both channels, 48,000 Hz.
Device = FCDpro+
Sample Rate = 192000
Channel =IQ Pos. This setting is the one that worked for me. If you know the frequency of a DRM station set the FCD 10KHz lower. Dream scans the FCD's bandwidth. If two DRM stations are within that bandwidth the strongest is decoded. To determine what frequency is tuned add the FCD frequency and the frequency shown in View - System Evaluation - Input Spectrum.
In the picture the DRM signal is at 80KHz above the FCD centre frequency. This station was discovered by accident, it was not listed. A list View - Stations Dialog - Update and here
To try for a listed station tune the FCD to 10KHz below the required frequency. It the signal is present Dream will show a red dotted line at 10KHz on the Input Spectrum. If the signal is good enough it will decode it. Finding any signal can be difficult, there are very few transmissions.

Running HDSDR and the FCD Dashboard Simultaneously

For a visual display with Doppler correction, lots of information here.

FCDPro Bias T

Normally this must be OFF.
It will provide power at 5V maybe up to 40-60mA. An interface with suitable isolation components may be used to switch or power various devices.
HDSDR offers switch and tuning settings suitable for an HF converter or a transverter.
It can provide power for an amplified HF antenna. For portable use with a Pro+ I found it would power a Wellbrook loop, the one I tried worked at 5V, took 30mA. Signals were as strong as with the original power supply although maybe ultimate performance is compromised at 5V.

FCDPro+ Specifications, read down for more comments.

Summary:- Full coverage, typical 50kHz to 260MHz and 410MHz to 2.05GHz with 11 band pass filters incorporated. With SAW filters especially for the amateur 2m and 70cm bands. Narrow band, 192ksps 16bits. Like many wideband SDRs the lower frequencies especially will benefit from LPFs to keep out signals on bands at odd multiples from the band in use. For example the UK the Long wave 160-250KHz will suffer interference from AM stations 5 times higher in frequency. With suitable LPFs low frequency reception is good.

A RTL dongle offers full coverage, possibly 24-2000MHz up to 2.6MHz bandwidth. It is cheap but with a HF converter and all the BPFs would cost more than a FCD. As the RTL is only 8 bits the FCD will offer reception of weak signals when a RTL's ADC may be overloaded by strong signals.  

A FCD is a good choice if you can live without the wideband capability and the missing 260-410MHz.


Note the FCD homepage is confusing. The early Pro and the later Pro+ have different sections. DO NOT MIX UP THE TWO VERSIONS. Do not attempt to update firmware unless you are sure.

October 2015.
A few notes based on posts in the Yahoo FCD group.
Various problems with the FCD being seen by Windows but not working:-
First make sure the FCD is selected as a Recording Device in Windows.
Try different USB ports, USB1 used by the FCD is not well supported in modern USB3 systems.

 SDR programs giving messages indicating that there is no audio device connected. Kevin, WA6FWF, examined the problem but so far no definite solution. Kevin shows that modern computers now offer limited support for USB1. The FCDPro+ is a USB1 device.
Try other sockets or use a muti TT hub or extension cable as Kevin describes in the above link.

In Europe hubs are not advertised as "Multi TT" but by cross-referencing it seems that hubs specified as "full connectivity to your USB 1.1 (low- and full-speed) and USB 2.0 (high-speed) devices" could be the equivalent.

A test is to remove ALL USB devices, plug in the FCD. Then plug in your mouse, keyboard, other devices. Then if something else does not work you have the above problem.

Finding which USB socket it is in.
Microsoft's "USBView" helps. There are similar 3rd party utilities.
Device Manager The FCD is a Composite Device.

See lower down this page for a typical driver installation.
The FCD appears in Device Manager as a USB Audio Device with a a Windows driver.
It also appears as a HID,
If you do not see these two then the FCD is not being seen correctly.

I discovered an example of USB problems when I used a cheap "PIPO" a strange Atom-based Android and Windows 10 device  Many on Ebay, an example.
While this may not be typical it does show that perseverance may bypass hardware deficiencies.
When a FCD was plugged into any of the USB2 sockets Windows 10 gave the message that the USB had insufficient resources. A cheap USB hub made no difference but the FCD worked with a USB extension, one with a relay amplifier. Presumably this could accommodate USB1 properly while the ones on the PIPO would not.
And... then I could plug in the cheap hub to the extension and use the FCD in the hub.
A RTL dongle works when plugged directly into the PIPO.
I then obtained a Belkin USB hub which gives me good compatibility.
The PIPOs have a 4 core Atom, certainly not fast but will cope with FCD and RTL dongles.

Another, A 2015 motherboard, Windows did not allocate any drivers to the FCD. was Mike's solution, the thread starting here. It is not known why these default Windows files were not in the folder.

Dashboard message "Unable to capture..." 
"It seems that the warehouse needs to have an output sound card. And the one in my PC is only accessible when something is plugged into one of the jacks. Jules." This soundcard feature is a real problem, I reckon leaving extensions permanently plugged in will stop audio devices shifting and becoming unavailable.

There can be confusion between the RTL dongle and the FCD. DO NOT USE ZADIG WITH THE FCD. Windows installs the drivers, no action is required by the user.
If Zadig has been used to replace the FCD drivers the best thing might be to use "System Restore" to a point before it was used. Or follow the instructions here and here. (Device Manager. Delete drivers ) If you use a Windows system that does not give the "delete" option then it's more involved
If the FCD is listed under "libusb (WinUSB) devices" in Device Manager then it is very likely you have this problem.

When properly working, the FCD+ presents a sound device (FUNcube Dongle V2.0), a human interface device (“HID-compliant device”), and under Universal Serial Bus controllers there should be a “USB Composite Device” entry for it. When removing the FCD, these entries should all automatically disappear, and reappear when inserted.

Firmware:- Read here The Pro+ has had v 20.03 since November 2012. Sometimes the FCD might get stuck in Bootloader mode, the FCD Pro+ sends "Bootloader" in morse at maybe 18 WPM. You hear that when connected to a SDR program.
If you have not done anything then just unplugging and re-inserting sets it back to normal.
If that does not correct it then you must try loading the firmware. It will not return to normal mode if the firmware is wrong or
corrupted. This page has the description and files.

A Wiki
Look at On the Downloads and Documentation page are fault finding tips. For example

Get older versions of files/web pages.

FCD/FCD+ and Zadig – DON’T!!! At Posted on April 12, 2013 by Admin. The instructions will not work for Windows XP.

This is for versions of Windows without the "Delete Drivers" option. But my much-used XP system has 849 .inf files, some search utility must be used....  And.. pnputil.exe is not included in XP and is not available for XP... 

When I purposely used Zadig DONT! it created oem90.inf with NO reference to the FCD.... (And altered other files in the folder.) It appeared as a libusb device.
But re-inserting the FCDP+ merely installed the correct drivers so I'm no closer to an answer if WinUSB does get associated permanently with the FCD in XP.

Drivers automatically installed in Windows 7 Ultimate
A typical spectrum for a FCD.

This is with no antenna, both IF and RF gains at zero.  The Windows 10 recording level for the FCD set to just raise the noise floor a few dB. (About 20-30% in my case.)
Note I have stretched the left dB scale to accentuate the slight deficiency of the 192ksps FCD. The noise rises somewhat at each end and two spurious "signals" are seen each side.
This may be hidden by raising the IF gain or by background noise from an antenna but it is best to keep gains as low a possible consistent with maximum sensitivity.