SDRPlay Panadapter Instructions

I think the SDRPlay panadapter is one of the most popular aspects about my setup, and I get questions commonly on how everything is setup. Comparatively speaking, it’s relatively...

I think the SDRPlay panadapter is one of the most popular aspects about my setup, and I get questions commonly on how everything is setup. Comparatively speaking, it’s relatively simple enough to get up and running if you have all the right equipment. I’ve been meaning to make a post for the longest time on how I have everything setup, including how I have my cables routed, my audio levels, all that good stuff! So I will attempt to start a post here and refine & add information to this over time. I think first it’s good to provide a diagram on my system to show how everything is laid out:


Forgive my chicken scratch drawing, lol. Now keep in mind this is just a rough sketch of what’s needed to get up and running with an SDRplay panadapter with your 590SG. You’ll of course need to ensure all the other details we’ll go over are sorted out as well, but this is the primary equipment you’ll need. Don’t skimp on the cables, and feel free to go crazy with snap on ferrites. No matter what, keep your cables SHORT! My two cables below are 2 & 3 ft respectively. I recommend Tripp Lite or Belkin for the USB-A to B cables & you’ll probably have to find a custom cable maker to make the cable that goes from the back of the 590SG to the SDRPlay which looks like this:


In addition to having your radio up to date with the latest firmware (which you should already! tisk tisk!), ensure that your computer is up to date. Keep in mind that if you have other audio devices hooked up to your computer, i.e. USB sound cards, or the like, that is beyond the scope of this setup, and will require some additional configuring (but it’s not impossible – I use an audio mixer myself – but I like to keep the mixer out of the setup – it only adds another element between you and the signal getting out.) I’ve also noticed that the SDRPlay is pretty sensitive when it comes to sitting near other equipment. It especially doesn’t like the power supply my mixer uses, nor a USB powered monitor that I use occasionally (it has caused HDSDR not to initiate the SDRPlay in the past – took me forever to figure out the culprit!).

You’ll want to download the most recent versions of HDSDR & Omni-rig. Then you’ll want to head on over to the SDRPlay website & start by clicking their “Start Here” tab. You’ll need to enter some information so you can get the full support from the SDRPlay support team, else your product won’t be registered, so take the time to register your product. After registered, it’ll take you to a page where you’ll have to download the SDRPlay API installer. Once ran, you’ll then need to download the SDRPlay EXTIO plugin & place it in the same folder as your HDSDR program (usually under your C: folder, but may differ from machine to machine). Assuming all went well with the install & everything is hooked up correctly, you’ll probably need to do a machine restart. You’ll want to ensure that the driver for the SDRPlay has been installed correctly, to do this goto your Device Manager and under your USB ports you should see the device there. If not, something might not be installed correctly somewhere.
When you open up HDSDR, you should automatically see a window pop up that says “SDRPlay EXTIO Starting.. Please Wait…” If HDSDR started properly and it was able to initiate your SDRPlay, look over on the TS590SG, and go to menu option 85 and set the DRV to ANT OUT. This allows your transceiver to split the antenna signal between your rig & the SDRPlay. You “should” see signals pop up on the waterfall once this key is depressed (you’ll even hear a little relay click inside).
If not, stop! We need to go back to square one and figure out what happened!

I’m also going to create a video on all of this, because lets face it, videos are much easier to follow right? So stay tuned, i’ll do one on how everything is hooked up, and then walk through the software installation and getting everything setup. Trust me, if you have this radio, and your not utilizing the DRV out, you don’t know what your missing! It may not be the world’s best panadapter, but it sure rivals some serious expensive rigs out there! I know a few guys who pipe the output to a projector screen! Now that’s a serious panadapter!

More to come…

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