SmartSDR for Windows (SmartSDR-Win) FAQ
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Q: Which Windows operating systems are supported for SmartSDR-Win?
A: Windows XP SP3 (32-bit), Vista, Win7 and Win8 (32 and 64-bit)
Q: What are the software dependencies for running SmartSDR-Win?
A: SmartSDR-Win is a Windows .NET 4.0 application, therefore you will need to have the .NET 4.0 Framework loaded on your PC. This is included with Win8 and will need to be loaded for Windows XP, Vista and Win7.
Q: Is SmartSDR-Win an open source application?
A: No it is not. It is licensed under a FlexRadio Systems EULA and not a variant of GPL.
Q: What are the PC hardware requirements for SmartSDR-Win?
A: SmartSDR-Win will require A DirectX 9 or greater capable graphics adapter. Regarding the minimum CPU and memory requirements, it is recommended that a dual core CPU or better is used and enough RAM for allowing Windows to operate efficiently without excessive use of the swap file (virtual memory). For 32-bit operating systems, 3 GB (not to exceed 4 GB) of RAM is recommended. For 64-bit operating systems, 4-8 GB or RAM is recommended.
If your motherboard has an integrated wired Ethernet controller, as most do, the minimum required speed is 100 Mb/s. If not, a PCIe x1 or ExpressCard (for laptops) Ethernet controller will be required.
Q: Should I use shielded twisted pair (STP) Ethernet cable with the FLEX-6000?
A: We are not recommending the use of shielded Ethernet cables with the FLEX-6000. There are two concerns here regarding Ethernet cabling type; its susceptibility to RFI ingress and emitted RFI from the Ethernet cable itself.
UTP (unshielded twisted pair) cable is by its very nature balanced which makes it very immune to RFI and has very good noise rejection characteristics due to the differential signaling methodology used for twisted pair Ethernet.
Shielded twisted pair (STP) cable is only really effective if the physical connection provided by the shield does not create a ground loop; a DC path between the two interconnecting devices which can induce a difference in voltage potential causing excessive common mode currents to flow on the shield.
In effectively use STP cabling in the shack, you would need to ensure that all devices are connected at the same ground potential, there are no ground loops via the AC safety ground and that you are connecting the right ground plane inside the equipment to the grounding system. Since creating the ideal grounding infrastructure involves a lot of careful engineering, it is easy to omit something, therefore it is a better practice to use UTP cabling and not inadvertently induce a new problem where one did not exist in the first place. STP network cable can be useful in demanding electrical environments, such as environments are where the network cable is located in close proximity and parallel with electrical mains supply cables or where large inductive loads such as motors exist. This is usually not the case in the average shack.
Additionally, the physical Ethernet interface (port) is transformer coupled for DC isolation, which eliminates ground loops between the connected equipment. Adding STP into the equation could negate that inherent isolation.
From the standpoint of your Ethernet cabling emitting RFI, if it is emitting RFI, this is because the equipment it is connected to is probably very poorly engineered and does not have sufficient filtering to prevent unwanted radiation. In these cases where the equipment is radiating, RF interference suppression is best effected by employing ferrite beads at the cable end connected to the offending equipment and/or on the power cord, as the source of the RF noise could very well be the power supply. Consumer network equipment that use "wall warts" as their power supplies are especially prone to being RFI emitters. STP cabling can also be effective in reducing RFI emissions, but only if the shield is grounded properly on both ends and the RFI isn't coming from the equipment's ground plane itself. In this later case, STP may make to problem worse by the cable shield becoming a very effective radiator.