A Panadapter using HDSDR and a RTL 2832U dongle.

In relation to the modification I recently performed to a FTDX-9000MP, adding a dedicated IF out port to support a computer panadapter.  A software package and SDR receiver is also required to complete a working panadapter system.  In researching the subject, I noted that many amateur stations have acquired a sufficient panadapter using the program HDSDR, and a simple RTL 2832U SDR USB dongle.  I decided to utilize that same method as well, and have been pleased with the results.

In addition, I also use Ham Radio Deluxe version 6.2, as my main rig control and logging program.  In my station, HDSDR serves as the panadapter display program, and slaves the SDR receiver's frequency to the main VFO of the FTDX-9000.  The below information and settings in HDSDR are in relation to the HRD/HDSDR combination. There are some minor differences in the settings for HDSDR, when HRD is not used, but I have not noted those settings.


To complete the hardware, I purchased an RTL 2832 SDR receiver from the company Nooelec, RTL Dongle.  It includes a 0.5 ppm TCXO and the newer 820T tuner.  That combination has proven to be adequate, and the particular dongle I purchased, also included a well made aluminum enclosure to assist with shielding.  Additionally, I ordered cables with the required connectors, to ensure I was able to connect the RTL SDR between the radio and the computer.

HDSDR/RTL Dongle Drivers:

Once the hardware is in place.  HDSDR and the correct driver for the RTL 2832U SDR receiver must be downloaded. To install the driver and HDSDR, follow the instructions provided on the HDSDR Hardware page for the RTL dongle, Instructions RTLSDR.  The basic instructions should get the SDR receiver communicating with HDSDR.


Once HDSDR is installed and the RTL SDR receiver is functioning, several settings need to be adjusted to ensure proper operation.  Below are the current settings in HDSDR I am using in my station to provide a panadapter for a Yaesu FTDX-9000MP.  Some of the settings may be specific to my station, because as noted above, I also uses Ham Radio Deluxe as the main logging and transceiver control program. HRD handshakes with HDSDR to provide the panadapter tracking. Some settings, such as the soundcard and bandwidth, may be dependent on the individual station's computer.

First, to the right of the Tune frequency display on the main GUI for HDSDR, there is a button labeled ExtIO.  Depressing that button, causes a small box to appear, and displays information about the device in use.  If the device driver was installed correctly, it should show a RTL2832 as the "Device".  In my station, the sample rate was automatically selected as 2.4 Mpbs, as was the Buffer Size (16kB).  In the lower right corner of the ExtIO pop up box, there are three check boxes. The boxes labeled RTL AGC and Offset Tuning should be checked and the Tuner AGC box should remain unchecked.

The other operational settings are adjusted by using the buttons located on the left bottom corner of the screen. Those buttons activate sub-categories and menus as follows:

Sound Card Selection (F5)
RX Input (from Radio): Line In (IDT High Definition Audio)
RX Output (to Speaker): Speakers/Headphones (IDT High Definition Audio)

Bandwidth (F6)
Input: 2400000
Output: 12000

Settings listed in the subcategories and menus under Options (F7) should be set as follows:

Select Input:  Generic RTL 2832U and MME 16 Bit Drivers, should be selected.

Visualizations:  The settings in this sub-menu default with eight options selected as shown.

Input Channel Mode for RX: I Left / Q Right, should be selected.

Output Channel Mode for RX: AF to Both Channels, should be selected.

Clicking Input Channel for Calibration for RX, brings a pop up box as shown below, the setting for Mode: located in the top right corner should be changed to AUTO. All other settings are kept at default.

Swap I and Q Channel for RX Input, should be checked.

Misc Options: Normal Process Priority (default), should be checked.

Mouse Wheel: Directions Inverted and Mode Tune, should be selected.

RF Front End + Calibration is set as shown below. These IF frequency may be specific to my SDR receiver:

Recording Settings /Schedule is set to default.

DDE to HDSDR is set as shown below:

CAT to Radio (Omni Rig) is set as shown:

All CAT to HDSDR settings are at default.