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Seeking advice on specs for an inexpensive PC to operate a Discovery remotely

Al Margheim
 

I was lucky to snag one of the Black Friday coupons at Airspy.US last night so I ordered an HF Discovery. Unfortunately, the RF interference in my house is bad enough that I'm going to have to put the Discovery
at my son's house down the street and operate the radio remotely. Now I'm in the market for a decent cheap Win10 PC that will be dedicated to hosting the Discovery.

What advice would the group offer on which specs to look for and what to avoid in a Black Friday deal on a Win10 PC (new or refurb) to host the Discovery? I have spare monitors, keyboards, and mice, so the PC can be a desktop with no accessories or it could be a laptop.  I'm not concerned about the brand, but I'm not looking to build the PC myself, either. The PC will be connected to the home network through cable, not WiFi, and our ISP provides fast, reliable connections to the internet.

Thanks,
Al

Greg Ella
 

If there is a college near you, see if they have a surplus store.  I live near CSU Fort Collins, and they always have
Pentium i5 and i7 desktops for under $200.00.  Or, you might be able to use a $35.00 Raspberry Pi as a server.

Greg Ella
N0EMP


On Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 6:23 AM Al Margheim <almargheim@...> wrote:
I was lucky to snag one of the Black Friday coupons at Airspy.US last night so I ordered an HF Discovery. Unfortunately, the RF interference in my house is bad enough that I'm going to have to put the Discovery
at my son's house down the street and operate the radio remotely. Now I'm in the market for a decent cheap Win10 PC that will be dedicated to hosting the Discovery.

What advice would the group offer on which specs to look for and what to avoid in a Black Friday deal on a Win10 PC (new or refurb) to host the Discovery? I have spare monitors, keyboards, and mice, so the PC can be a desktop with no accessories or it could be a laptop.  I'm not concerned about the brand, but I'm not looking to build the PC myself, either. The PC will be connected to the home network through cable, not WiFi, and our ISP provides fast, reliable connections to the internet.

Thanks,
Al

Andrew Sutcliffe
 

A raspberry pi model 3 with spyserver would do the job nicely.

You could then operate it from anywhere you have a web connection. Low cost, Low power, it is a win-win option IMO.

;)

Greg Ella
 

Before you completely give up on receiving at your house, if you have even a small back yard you

Getting the receive antenna even a little ways away from the house, and isolating the feed line with a transformer,
can significantly reduce noise.

Greg Ella
N0EMP


On Tue, Nov 26, 2019 at 11:12 AM Andrew Sutcliffe <skywatch@...> wrote:
A raspberry pi model 3 with spyserver would do the job nicely.

You could then operate it from anywhere you have a web connection.
Low cost, Low power, it is a win-win option IMO.

;)




Al Margheim
 

Thanks for the suggestion Greg.  I'll look into the rx-loop.

Al Margheim
 

Thanks for taking the time to respond. I'm pretty familiar with where I can get inexpensive PCs. I'm really looking for more specific information on hardware specs.
I already considered and rejected the idea of using a Raspberry Pi.  I'm sure they're fine for many people, but I don't want to have to futz around with a platform that I'm not familiar with.
Thanks again.
Al

Gregory Schippers
 

https://www.bestbuy.com/site/dell-inspiron-15-6-touch-screen-laptop-intel-core-i3-8gb-memory-128gb-ssd-black/6373813.p?skuId=6373813

This should work....at least for a few years. It really doesn't take much HP to do this stuff any more.  Not sure what you call inexpensive. I call this a lot of bang for the buck. Similar deals available elsewhere if you don't like the vendor.
Greg, KC8HXO

Kriss Kliegle
 

Use SDRConsole from Simon: https://www.sdr-radio.com/

   The host computer (attached to Airspy HF acting as the server) can be a slow as an Atom powered netbook running W7. The server requires very little horse power from the host computer. The netbooks are VERY cheap, often on Craigslist for small money. We have a guy at the local radio flea market with boxes of them for $20 each! Plus the netbook uses little power, and the battery will keep it running during brief power outages. I run two SDR's off of one netbook, just be sure you plug the SDR's on opposite sides of the keyboard. Some netbooks struggled when two SDR's are streaming at the same time on the same physical USB buss. Also, use an Ethernet connection for best results. Although Simon has just spent five days working on the code to reduce/eliminate stutter while using servers. I was plagued with stutter within my own LAN for months, and now I can actually use my servers while on a laptop using WiFi.

   The client computer, the one you use to access your server can be done with a slightly more advanced netbook. Better results are with an i3 or higher, and even better with a dedicated graphics board. I found an IT guy that takes good condition laptops from clients and refurbishes them with SSD's, loads W10, and sell them on CraigsList for small money. So far I have picked up four for my personal use and one for my college daughter, all but one are i7's!

   As to the RFI at your QTH, having the SDR will help you identify, locate and eradicate all the offenders. Variable speed motors in clothes washers and central AC units, cordless drill chargers, touch lamps, solar chargers, bad capacitors in SPS's for laptops, electric fences, Ethernet cables, Ethernet switches, battery chargers in UPS are just a few of the things I found around my QTH. Many I would have not known with an 'old school' analog radio due to not 'seeing' the entire spectrum surrounding the operating frequency. Take stock in FT240 31Mix torroids, they have solved many of my QRM issues!

73 Kriss KA1GJU

Al Margheim
 

Thanks. I'm fine with Best Buy. I bought my 4K LG monitor from them them this year.

In that price range I'm also considering this PC: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=6065257&sku=41702403&SRCCODE=3WWEBEML3254&utm_source=EML&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=3WWEBEML3254&ecm=HfQp0ys9dcBZM%2FDfTJfGm3H%2BdpX4gNxb%2FdmZIipPHzBImkA5netIRi2s0jfhJee3&elqTrackId=ffdd5ec23258403e979eb4f4833ea7f9&elq=a243cc4e83314823950675e97ae04362&elqaid=11862&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=10785

I know that I'm going to have to fight my tendency to want more power, RAM, etc than I really need. On the other hand, it's quite possible that I will be using whatever system I buy now for the next 4 to 5 years, so buying more power than I need at the moment can pay off in the future.  
Al

Al Margheim
 

I had not considered using a netbook. Thanks for the suggestion Kriss. I'll look into it.

Al

n2msqrp
 

This Tiger Direct deal looks interesting.

How has people's experience been with them recently?

Any experiences with the extended warrenty by Joysystems. I see Joysystems is located locally hr in New Jersey.

Mike N2MS

On November 27, 2019 at 6:55 AM Al Margheim <almargheim@...> wrote:

Thanks. I'm fine with Best Buy. I bought my 4K LG monitor from them them this year.

In that price range I'm also considering this PC: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=6065257&sku=41702403&SRCCODE=3WWEBEML3254&utm_source=EML&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=3WWEBEML3254&ecm=HfQp0ys9dcBZM%2FDfTJfGm3H%2BdpX4gNxb%2FdmZIipPHzBImkA5netIRi2s0jfhJee3&elqTrackId=ffdd5ec23258403e979eb4f4833ea7f9&elq=a243cc4e83314823950675e97ae04362&elqaid=11862&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=10785

I know that I'm going to have to fight my tendency to want more power, RAM, etc than I really need. On the other hand, it's quite possible that I will be using whatever system I buy now for the next 4 to 5 years, so buying more power than I need at the moment can pay off in the future.  
Al

 

David Matthews
 

That is very similar to one we just ordered from Amazon for my mother.
Only the one from Amazon is a little higher horsepower and has a 256gb
SSD and a 1TB hard drive.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NL4CT8L/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_88x3Db620BD9G?fbclid=IwAR3IEB2rR2d3dN2hJ1dEIwAZHazfvlK_BM7x48fnA3gaVXVaudYkNoKypuE

Dave W2IJL

On Wed, Nov 27, 2019 at 11:12 AM n2msqrp <mstangelo@...> wrote:

This Tiger Direct deal looks interesting.

How has people's experience been with them recently?

Any experiences with the extended warrenty by Joysystems. I see Joysystems is located locally hr in New Jersey.

Mike N2MS

On November 27, 2019 at 6:55 AM Al Margheim <@AlMargheim> wrote:

Thanks. I'm fine with Best Buy. I bought my 4K LG monitor from them them this year.

In that price range I'm also considering this PC: http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/item-Details.asp?EdpNo=6065257&sku=41702403&SRCCODE=3WWEBEML3254&utm_source=EML&utm_medium=main&utm_campaign=3WWEBEML3254&ecm=HfQp0ys9dcBZM%2FDfTJfGm3H%2BdpX4gNxb%2FdmZIipPHzBImkA5netIRi2s0jfhJee3&elqTrackId=ffdd5ec23258403e979eb4f4833ea7f9&elq=a243cc4e83314823950675e97ae04362&elqaid=11862&elqat=1&elqCampaignId=10785

I know that I'm going to have to fight my tendency to want more power, RAM, etc than I really need. On the other hand, it's quite possible that I will be using whatever system I buy now for the next 4 to 5 years, so buying more power than I need at the moment can pay off in the future.
Al



Al Margheim
 

I've ordered parts from Tiger Direct several times in the last few years and my experience has been good.

I have no experience with Joysystems.

paul
 

The Intel Compute Sticks work great. 
I use the W8 models, they seem more stable with updates.
Cheap and ultra compact.

Al Margheim
 

Thanks for the suggestion Paul.  I hadn't heard of Intel Compute Sticks before.  As I've considered all of the options I've concluded that I want to stick with something fairly mainstream and in my realm of experience, so at this point I'm leaning towards getting a refurb W10 laptop. I like the fact that laptops are self-contained and have a smaller form factor than a desktop with keyboard, monitor, and mouse.

Bill Dailey
 

I had also heard somewhere that Intel has sundowned all those small compute platforms.  Could be wrong... but I think they are going away.

Sent from mobile

On Nov 30, 2019, at 4:14 PM, Al Margheim <almargheim@...> wrote:

Thanks for the suggestion Paul.  I hadn't heard of Intel Compute Sticks before.  As I've considered all of the options I've concluded that I want to stick with something fairly mainstream and in my realm of experience, so at this point I'm leaning towards getting a refurb W10 laptop. I like the fact that laptops are self-contained and have a smaller form factor than a desktop with keyboard, monitor, and mouse.

m.dirksen2 m.dirksen2
 

Just bought a Touchmate notebook (FlexAir Pro TM-NB116P) for USD250 with 32GB and 4GB RAM.
Tested it with HF+ Discovery and all working good enough for remote usage.

I have a RasberryPi3 set-up running with GQRX, but due to lack of Linux knowledge and issues with device memory.
I decided to fall back on SDR Console V3 via Windows10.
Easier for me to use :)

73e Michael

SV1BTL
 

I think that Raspberry is the best solution for running a spyserver, using an Airspy HF+ or Airspy Discovery.
Follow these instructions:
 
How to build the host software on Linux:
 
1.- Prerequisites for Linux (Debian/Ubuntu/Raspbian):
Open a terminal windows and type:
sudo apt-get install build-essential cmake libusb-1.0-0-dev pkg-config
 
2.- Build host software on Linux:
Open a terminal windows and type:
wget https://github.com/airspy/airspyhf/archive/master.zip
unzip master.zip
cd airspyhf-master
mkdir build
cd build
cmake ../ -DINSTALL_UDEV_RULES=ON
make
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig
 
3.- Clean CMake temporary files/dirs:
Open a terminal windows and type:
cd airspyhf-master/build
rm -rf *
 
4.- Download and extract the standard ARM package and run.
Open a terminal windows and type:
wget https://airspy.com/downloads/spyserver-arm32.tgz
tar xzf spyserver-arm32.tgz
 
5.- Setup the spyserver.config. Open a terminal windows and type:
sudo nano spyserver.config
 
6.- Make the file executable
sudo chmod +x spyserver
 
7.- Run server opening a terminal window and using this command:
 ./spyserver spyserver.config