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Building A Global Network Of Open Source SDR Receivers (jks.com) 68

hamster_nz writes: A fellow Kiwi is attempting to crowdfund a world-wide network of open-source, software-defined, radio receivers. Once in place, this will allow anybody anywhere in the world to scan the 0 to 30MHz RF spectrum from the comfort of their HTML-5 web browser. Built on top of the Beaglebone, the "KiwiSDR" RF board also includes a GPS receiver front-end, which will allow timing between receivers to be correlated, giving a lot of options for projects like long baseline interferometry and lightning detection. Prototypes are already deployed, and I've been RXing in Sweden, Australia and New Zealand. [The KiwiSDR design has been detailed on JKS.com, where there is a link to the project's Kickstarter page.]
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Building A Global Network Of Open Source SDR Receivers

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  • by cerberusss ( 660701 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @05:19AM (#51735925) Homepage Journal

    The link in the summary is in the process of being slashdotted... Here is the link to the Kickstarter page:
    https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

  • Now we're crowdfunding a world wide surveillance network.

    • by anegg ( 1390659 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @08:31AM (#51736389)
      If the NSA did this, the listening would be done by a small cadre of unknown people with no data being shared publicly, especially if something interesting is found. Think about how Unternet access to freely available satellite imagery has changed how we look at and understand the world, both natural and man made. The tools are already in use by the few, secretly. This puts more of us on a slightly more equal footing.
      • f the NSA did this, the listening would be done by a small cadre of unknown people with no data being shared publicly

        Sure, for Intel that only has significance militarily; but for all the rest?? "Parallel reconstruction" is just the start; it's only a matter of time until TPTB find other ways to monetize that data (think stock manipulation, data shared with competing businesses, etc, etc).

    • by RobinH ( 124750 )
      No, nobody thinks it's creepy to pick up over-the-air radio signals wherever they are in the world. This thing doesn't automatically decrypt or anything like that. It's just a receiver. The cool part is that it's receiving and storing every single frequency simultaneously, and then you use a software bandpass filter to get just the station or frequency you want. No different than having a DVR that could simultaneously record every TV channel. Installing a rootkit on everyone's phone to remotely activat
      • by mike449 ( 238450 )

        The coolest part of this project is the ability to pinpoint the location of transmitters. There are some very interesting stations on the air, and it would be really cool to know where exactly they are. Here is an example:
        http://www.enigma2000.org.uk/ [enigma2000.org.uk]

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      The problem is the 0 to 30 Mhz range is too limiting to be useful.

      • You can communicate around the world on it, I have. When the Nepal disaster happened it was amateur radio ops on 14MHz who were communicating in and out of the country. Similar story where there have been other natural disasters and the phone and internet has gone down. Aircraft use it when out of range of VHF for example as do ships. For something that is supposedly limited there is a hell of a lot of activity on it.
    • by Holi ( 250190 )
      just so you know the NSA does do this. It is the reason they exist.
    • Pretty much this. If you don't think that the intellgence community worldwide isn't going to use this as part of their surveillance network, then you need to stop taking your Happy Pills, they're affecting your judgement.
  • by Teun ( 17872 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @07:32AM (#51736197) Homepage
    This is funny considering such a receiver is illegal in certain countries like Germany, France and Saudi Arabia, a new challenge to their overlords :)
    Over here in The Netherlands it is no problem as our freedom of expression goes a little wider, it includes freedom of information.
    • When I first arrived in Germany, in 1986, folks told me that the GEZ had trucks with equipment that could detect a house that was receiving TV signals without paying for a "license" to watch TV. To those who are not familiar with television in Germany, the GEZ is a government extortion agency who charge 100€ per month for your right to watch crap game shows, hosted by a daft twat named Thomas Gottschalk.

      So, what are they going to do . . . send out trucks which can detect "illegal" [sic] monitoring of

      • by Teun ( 17872 )
        You are exaggerating the cost of the licence, at he moment it is below €20.00 / month, for special cases less than €6.00 / month.
        Most EU countries have public broadcasters paid form such charges or public money.
        The resulting programming is in many cases better than the competing commercial stations, prime examples are Germany and the UK.

        About your very true last sentence, indeed if it isn't specifically allowed it is forbidden.
        A nice example is the success of Dutch architects in Germany, they
        • You are exaggerating the cost of the licence, at he moment it is below €20.00 / month, for special cases less than €6.00 / month. Most EU countries have public broadcasters paid form such charges or public money. The resulting programming is in many cases better than the competing commercial stations, prime examples are Germany and the UK.

          I call bullshit on that . . . the programs on ARD and ZDF just plain suck. Like I said, stuff for the Thomas Gottschalk crowd. I pay for cable, and get my news from CNN, N-TV, N24 and Phoenix. I mostly watch documentaries on the same channels. I never watch ARD or ZDF . . . so why should I pay for them? Oh, ZDF has a great show with a neo-Nazi apologist named Guido Knopp, called ZDF History [sic] . . . sure, I'll pay 20€ per month, to support the Nazi cause! In case you want to debate this, the

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

    Wow, it's a bit pricey for the first tier to actually get one. Still it would give that beaglebone black I have a use other than sitting on the desk.

  • Broadcasting on the shortwaves is rapidly dying, and everything that can be heard there is available on internet with much better quality. Ham radio chit-chat on shortwaves is just plain boring, and the remaining stuff isn't intended to be listened (i.e. it is strongly encrypted). I really wonder why they are so eager to crowdfund this project.
    • Actually CB radio is rising back from the dust...maybe they just want to create a worldwide monitoring network for CBers.
    • by Shoten ( 260439 )

      Broadcasting on the shortwaves is rapidly dying, and everything that can be heard there is available on internet with much better quality. Ham radio chit-chat on shortwaves is just plain boring, and the remaining stuff isn't intended to be listened (i.e. it is strongly encrypted). I really wonder why they are so eager to crowdfund this project.

      Okay...but this isn't shortwave. Actually, 30Mhz and below is very, very longwave, as long as it gets.

    • If broadcasting on the shortwaves is dying why are the number of amateur radio operators at an all time high? There's more than AM broadcast stations on it.
  • Tried and failed? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @09:04AM (#51736507) Journal
    Didn't someone try this before [slashdot.org] and fail? They built a bunch of receivers and hooked them up to the internet so that folks could tune in to television broadcasts they normally could not receive. The Supreme Court of the United States ruled against them.
    • by TopSpin ( 753 )

      Television is broadcast in VHF and UHF; well above 30Mhz.. These SDR receivers won't pick up any broadcast television. If any AM radio stations care enough to sue over this (something they haven't bothered to do so far, despite WebSDR existing) it's easy to filter the broadcast AM bands, or anything else that has to be blocked.

      In other very interesting SDR news; last month David Rowe did a linux.conf.au presentation [youtube.com] that covered his work on fully open source (from the boards and firmware through the pro

    • I wrote a response to this yesterday but Slashdot's servers ate it. As TopSpin wrote already, this project doesn't work in the frequencies of over-the-air television or FM radio.

      I think it's more interesting as an educational toy than anything else. I've been meaning to learn Software Defined Radio and play with receivers for the purposes of understanding why wireless connection bandwidth speeds in my house only come near the official ratings if I hold my laptop so close to the wireless access point t
  • by 32771 ( 906153 ) on Sunday March 20, 2016 @09:53AM (#51736707) Journal

    Like that?

    http://websdr.org/ [websdr.org]

    Actually this KiwiSDR project covers the entire range up to 30MHz, the WebSDR receivers usually only cover bands except for the one in Enschede. If you have limited dynamic range the narrowband approach might be a good idea, lets see how the KiwiSDR is going about all this. Ultimately I hope the projects can merge somehow.

    Aw shucks:

    "Unfortunately, it looks like I may not be able to obtain a license to use the WebSDR code, which is currently closed-source. So for now this part of the project is just a demonstration. I am however working on an open-source alternative."

    from the Kiwi website: http://www.jks.com/KiwiSDR/ [jks.com]

    Well KiwiSDR is the way to go then.

  • you can choose a bunch from here http://websdr.org/ [websdr.org]

    but the best one is here http://websdr.ewi.utwente.nl:8... [utwente.nl]
  • For my money, RTL-SDR with an HF downconverter is a better bang for the buck, but less than 3 MHz of the spectrum is available at one time depending on the USB speed you choose (here's hoping for USB 3.0 RTL-SDR some day).

    The Kiwi will do the entire 30 MHz if the screen shots on the Kickstarter site are correct, for 3x the price, or 4x the price if you want the $100 enclosure. Seriously, a $100 enclosure.

    Then there's this custom job that can monitor and record the entire 30 MHz spectrum at once:
    http://webs [utwente.nl]

  • The RBN has been around since 2009. Software defined radios (SDRs) operated by hams and SWLs in over 100 locations worldwide listen to the HF and low VHF ham bands, decode the CW, radio teletype and other digital transmissions they hear and report information (callsign, frequency, how strong, etc.) to a server via the Internet. The server archives these "spots" and relays them via Telnet to a worldwide public network of "DX cluster" servers which anyone can connect to. During one radio contest weekend la

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