Testing DxPatrol HF converter for Funcube dongle


At Hamradio in Friedrichshafen I picked up a DxPatrol HF converter for the Funcube Dongle ( Supplier WiMo, designer: http://www.ct1ffu.com/site/ ). I was eager to test it on HF CW reception. To check the coarse frequency and operation of the local oscillator I used my Yaesu VX7R for detecting the signal from the board. (The DxPatrol HF converter can be given a voltage feed via the SMA from the Funcube Dongle, if you turn it on from your Funcube. Alternatively, you can feed it with power via the USB connector – only 5V and GND is connected internally of course. I wanted to check that the converter was operating by listening to the local osc with my VX7R).

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I was a bit surprised over the test result when listening to CW signals on HF. All the signals on the bands sounded like russian stations from the old days derifting all over the place. The local oscillator of the DxPatrol I purchased is unstable. It drifts so much that it can clearly be heard on CW. The designers of the DxPatrol unit told me to keep the unit free from wind when I asked about a possible design or osc issue via mail hehe 🙂 . I think a “slight mod” may be necessary … I have SI570 and a buffer in my mind….

SdrDx and Funcube dongle. Receiving airband traffic


You should download and try out the new SdrDx console. It is compatible with your Funcube dongle. Finally a more advanced SDR console that has many of the features you need including several notch filters, memory functions, a very good and intuitive GUI. In fact I like the GUI style on this one! One minus is that it is not open source. The image above is a screen dump of Funcube receiver set to a QRG in the airband. The AM detector works very good. The SdrRx can be downloaded here at fyngyrz’s site  http://fyngyrz.com/?p=915

How to install SdrDx: Download zip. Unzip. Make a shortcut to the .exe file. If your Windows firewall gives you a warning, tell it to open up for that program. Make sure you have a new firmware installed on your Funcube (see other post for how to update).

How to upgrade the firmware of your Funcube dongle

I had some problems of getting my Funcube dongle (purchased dec 2011) to work with SDR-RADIO version 1.5 build 879 (beta). The reason was that the funcube dongle didn’t have the latest firmware.

The www.funcubedongle.com webpage is a bit unclear about how to do the upgrade, so here I have written up how to upgrade the software.


1 ) Goto www.funcubedongle.com

2 ) Select downloads

3 ) Download Windows fully functional front end

4 ) Download Boot loader with source code

5 ) Unzip those two archives in a suitable directory. (If you need a free zip tool, you can use the free WinRar software that you can download from Rarlabs homepage http://www.rarlab.com/ )

6 ) Make sure you close all other SDR programs that may acess the funcube dongle. This is important so that the funcube is not “occupied” by another program

7 ) Plug in your funcube dongle to one of your USB ports

8 ) Wait 10 secs and listen for the “bling” sound that windows sends to signal that a new USB unit was detected

9 ) Start the FCHID.exe file (the front end)

You should now see something like this –>


10 ) Click the read device. You should now NOT see any error message. In case the read went ok, you now have a connection to your funcube dongle

11 ) You now want to set the funcube dongle in the bootloader mode. This means that the funcube is ready to boot from new software.

Here comes the confusing part: you must start another piece of software to upload the new firmware to the funcube. You cannot do that from the FCHID.exe file. The software you use for uploading the firmware is FCHIDBL.exe

12) Start FCHIDBL.exe (from the CHIDBL___Win32_Debug subdirectory where you unzipped the Boot loader with source code ) file from point 4) above

13) Download the latest firmware from Firmware v18i – Save it to the same directory as you saved the other files.  NOTE per Jan 2012 this was the latest software but this may have changed when you read this !!! Check what is the latest file before you upgrade!

14) Now start the FCHIDBL.exe file. You should see something like this:


15) Click the Open file button

16) Select the *.bin file you saved earlier (the *.bin file contains the firmware)


17 ) At this point -> if you are on a laptop make sure your laptop battery is OK or that the laptop is plugged into a AC adapter, so that you don’t risk that your laptop shuts down while you flash the firmware to the Funcube dongle.

18 ) Click WRITE FIRMWARE button. Now click RESET TO APP to get out of boot loader mode (Thanks to Jeff Murri for this tip).

19 ) Close both programs you opened earlier

20 ) Wait 10 secs (just in case)

21 ) Plug out the funcube dongle  (Probably overkill, but hey…)

22 ) Wait 10 secs (to let windows have time to unload the driver. Not sure if this is really necessary. But hey …..)

23 ) Plug in the funcube dongle again

24 ) Congratulations, you have upgraded to the latest firmware !