Friday, September 27, 2019

Recording and Playing Back MW IQ Files: A Software Comparison

Recording and playing back IQ files is a vital part of the MW DX-er's hobby. With lots of SDR software available, how do we do it? What are the pros and cons? In this article, I have tried to make a (relatively) unbiased comparison between the most popular programs today. If anyone do not agree, that is fair enough, mileage and preferences vary.

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Chrome Remote Desktop - An Alternative to Costly Remote Control Programs?

I was advised by Swedish DX-er Stefan Wikander that Chrome Remote Desktop worked very well with his remote Perseus location. Now really, I thought, I tested Chrome's remote solution several years ago and it was a complete disaster at the time.

Over the years I have used LogMeIn (became very expensive), Teamviewer (kicked me out of my free, Personal account) and Splashtop (present choice, excellent tool, USD 100/year). And tested many more. Anyway, I know Stefan as a sensible man, so I decided to test CRD. It has in fact come a long way.

CRD is a "free" extension in Chrome (you pay with your user data), so obviously you need the Chrome browser, and you need a Google account. Chrome needs to be synchronized over the PC or PCs you want to control. Setup is relatively straightforward. I set up one PC to access two other PCs, and when I opened the extension, I was met with this "welcome" page:

When I clicked on the "Smøla 290" PC on top, it opened as a new tab in Chrome, and the PC displayed like this:

It actually loads very quickly, faster than Splashtop. Audio quality is on par, video quality a bit better than Splashtop. What really surprised me was there was no noticeable lag, much better than both Teamviewer and Splashtop. Your remote PC can be bookmarked for even easier access.

CRD doesn't have many features, so for a professional user CRD may not be the optimal solution. For the DX-er however: Good video, good audio, file transfer (to and from the unit), copy & paste. Windowed and full screen. Not much more to ask for!

October 2019 update: On one occasion however, one of my remote PCs refused to connect. I was able to connect via Splashtop, so the connection was ok. I restarted the PC several times with no effect. It turned out that Chrome on that particular PC had disabled its server function, so I had to set it up again. This casts some doubt over its reliability. I'm going to keep Splashtop, and use CRD as backup. See comments below.