Hints & Tips for getting started on FreeDV

The AREG FreeDV QSO Party is getting closer and now would be a great time for you to start setting up their radios so that you can join in on the weekend of September 12th and 13th! More information about the QSO party is available here (click).

The following are some resources you may be interested in to help get your FreeDV station up and running on the air.

What does FreeDV Sound Like?

Firstly, what does a FreeDV Contact sound like in comparison to SSB? Here is an excellent demonstration of this by N4DVR.

How to setup a FreeDV Station?

You can start operating on FreeDV by downloading a program for your computer, and then connecting it to your HF radio via your sound card. The software is an open source program available from the following links:

Next, you need to get your FreeDV software installed on your PC and configured. The following video tutorial is great for explaining how to set up the software.

Once you have the software configured it is time to connect it to a transmitter! The next video is from a presentation made by David VK5DGR at the AREG club meeting where some of the factors to consider when driving a HF radio with FreeDV were discussed.

In summary:

  • Less Power is usually better
  • Do not run any compression on transmit
  • Back the transmitter power off such that the ALC function is barely being activated
  • Do not run any receive filtering

The main reason for these tips is that distortion of the signal leads to bit errors. While you may get more transmit power, the signal quality being transmitted will be degraded to the point where even under very good HF path conditions decoding the signal will be very difficult indeed.

Where to go for more support?

If you want more information about FreeDV please visit the www.freedv.org website or log onto Internet Relay Chat (IRC) on irc.freenode.net. (http://webchat.freenode.net/?channels=freedv) and connect to the #freedv channel.