The IBP Extension for the KiwiSDR is useful for monitoring the International Beacon Project beacons from diverse receiver locations around the world. The extension can scan a band, monitor a particular beacon, or automatically scan all bands and save the mini reception waterfall plots to a file every 3 minutes.
To start the IBP extension, select IBP_Scan from the extensions menu in the main control window.
Annotate Waterfall. Checking this box will annotate the KiwiSDR main waterfall to show the transmitting beacon that is displayed in the waterfall. This is useful when you are saving the waterfall using the right click menu on the main waterfall. If the waterfall is not centered on a beacon frequency, the current date and time will be noted on the waterfall every 10 seconds.
Autosave IBP. When this box is checked, the IBP scan display at the top of the screen will automatically be saved to a PNG file once every 3 minutes, which corresponds to the IBP beacon repetition rate.
IBP Menu. Select a beacon callsign from the pulldown menu at the left of the extension window to monitor that beacon on all 5 bands. During the period in which the beacon is not transmitting, the receiver will monitor 20 meters. Select ALL BANDS to scan through all 5 bands over a 15 minute period. Select Off to stop beacon scanning, close the scan window, and remain on the selected frequency from the main control panel. Although the beacon scan window will be closed, the IBP scan save will still work. The main waterfall display will be larger.
If the audio is Muted, it will be turned back on while the beacon is transmitting and then turned off again.
All Bands. When all bands are selected, the receiver will step through the bands over a 15 minute period. The display will be saved to a file once every 3 minutes. If you only wish to scan one band, select the band from either the extension menu or the main frequency menu on the right.
WF min. The waterfall color selection slider will be remembered for each band. Adjust the slider while monitoring a particular band. The setting will be saved so that when the monitor scans through the bands, the waterfall colors will be optimized for each band. Automating the waterfall settings is on the list for a future enhancement.
Each block of the scan is a 10 second interval of the waterfall plot. The waterfall is rotated 90 degrees, so time moves from left to right on the block instead of upwards. The frequency width of the block (vertical axis) depends on the zoom setting of the main waterfall. Zooming in to the maximum is the most useful for detecting the transmitting beacons. Each block is copied from the center of the waterfall display as it arrives from the receiver. Zooming out would be useful for creating a longer time lapse view of noise levels and band activity.
A typical saved scan image shows good reception of W6WX on all bands. Also visible is QRM on the beacon frequencies on 20 meters in the VR2B through 5Z4B slots.
When the center of the waterfall is not on or near a beacon frequency, the frequency is displayed at the left and the summary plots will show the center part of the waterfall. This can be used for long term monitoring of a frequency or a known station.
Autosave Waterfall Check this box to automatically save a portion of the main waterfall display. The first time is the length of the waterfall to save in each image. The second time is the period between image captures. The waterfall image is saved to a JPG file.
A wide capture of the full 30 MHz bandwidth of the N3LGA receiver shows the antenna characteristics. Comparison of 10 second captures at different times of the day can be used to look at noise sources and characteristics. Notice the broad band impulse noises that occur several times in this 10 second capture.
If you would like to see more features or offer suggestions for improvements, please contact me.