In the middle of 2016, I came across
an interesting software-defined radio project on a crowdfunding
platform on the Internet. The KiwiSDR! This SDR was developed by the
Funkamateur John Seamons ZL / KF6VO and brought to
Why is the
SDR called "Kiwi"? This is the
kiwi bird, the national symbol of New
Zealand. Because the developer spent some time there, he
his project, originally from WRX (web receiver)
KiwiSDR. It also had copyright reasons according to the website of
The KiwiSDR is a so-called network
SDR. This means that it is operated via the local PC network.
highlight is however, it can also be remote controlled over the
Internet. Four users can access it simultaneously and independently.
The KiwiSDR is optionally
registered on the website
http://sdr.hu/ and can be used by everyone
at any time free of charge. In the meantime, many KiwiSDR owners
have registered their device there. These are spread over the whole
globe, partly also at exotic locations. A feature in this price
class is the GPS connection. This is used for the time
synchronization of the BeagleBone and the frequency stabilization of
Only frequency stabilization at present.
For the KiwiSDR to run on a network,
it needs a web interface. This is located on the connected board.
This board is the so-called BeagleBone computer with its own
operating system. The combination
and BeagleBone form one unit. This combination is connected to a
router or directly to a computer via
Ethernet cable. The nice thing is, the KiwiSDR is independent of the
operating system of the computer from which it is
No special software is required to be installed. It is controlled
via the Internet browser. The browsers Chrome, Firefox, Opera and
Safari work with the KiwiSDR. Windows Internet Explorer is not
board & BeagleBone board assembled
Housing set consisting of an aluminum frame and two
with screws and spreader rivets
on Micro SD card (backup)
important technical data:
Frequency range: 10KHz - 30MHz
Operating modes: AM, AMn, LSB, USB, CW, CWn, NBFM
Bandwidth filter: Adjustable between 50Hz - 10KHz
low pass filter
ADC with 65MHz clock frequency
-- SMA RF
SMA connector for GPS active antenna
124 x 83 x 34 mm
Upon request from the company WiMo in Herxheim (DE), Ekki (DF4OR)
sent the KiwiSDR for tests and comparisons.
At the beginning of January 2017 the device arrived.
KiwiSDR is a kit for the end user.
electronics do not have to be soldered.
The already assembled boards (KiwiSDR & BeagleBone), which are
packed in an antistatic film, must be installed in the supplied
The housing consists of a second aluminum frame and two Plexiglas
There are only four screws to tighten.
The rest is
fixed with spreader rivets.
Time required 10-15 minutes.
A small note about the assembly: Care should be taken before
touching the electronic boards, grounding on a grounded object.
to dissipate static electricity.
Otherwise, the sensitive electronics could be damaged.
To run the KiwiSDR a 5V power supply, an
Ethernet cable, as well as an adapter from the SMA to BNC / PL
These important parts are unfortunately not included.
In the power supply, special care is required, if you do not want
the reception to deteriorate right from the start.
Unfortunately, there are hardly any analogue
5V power supplies available.
One must almost inevitably resort to switching power supplies.
It is definitely worth investing in a good switching power supply.
We know now, the cheap and
switching power supplies can cause reception disturbances.
The following power supplies I have tried and found
-- Analogue 5V power
Universal switching power supply: http://www.ebay.com/itm/141170481841?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
There are several possibilities to put the KiwiSDR into operation.
- Connected to
- Connect directly to the network port of the PC / laptop using the
- Via a USB - network adapter directly to the PC / laptop
- BeagleBone's Micro USB port. Link:
- Via a serial interface. Link:
(Only for debug login access to
Beagle. Cannot run KiwiSDR interface this way).
- Access via the Internet
Connected to a router
One method to put the KiwiSDR into operation is via a router.
This should ideally have an Internet connection so that the KiwiSDR
can automatically download software updates and install
updates are loaded onto the BeagleBone.
Also the PC or laptop should have a connection to the router to
communicate with the KiwiSDR.
Ethernet cable or via WLAN.
Before the KiwiSDR is connected, the router should be configured.
In the case of port forwarding, port 8073 must be enabled via TCP.
Otherwise, communication between KiwiSDR and the PC might be
If this is done, the KiwiSDR is connected to the router, antennas
and power supply and put into operation.
It takes about one minute until the BeagleBone PC is up and ready.
A control software does not have to be installed because it is
installed in the BeagleBone computer.
This starts as soon as the address of the KiwiSDR is entered in the
browser and is confirmed with "Enter".
This is: kiwisdr.local:8073
The KiwiSDR can be operated on all operating systems.
The Internet browsers Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari are
The Microsoft Internet Explorer does not go unfortunately.
Maybe you can not access the KiwiSDR yet, because once it is
connected to the Internet, connects to the update server and
automatically downloads the latest software updates.
corresponding message is displayed.
This takes a few minutes.
KiwiSDR can be started.
If everything is configured correctly, the user interface appears in
the browser window.
Directly connect the Ethernet cable to the network port of the PC / laptop
You can also connect the KiwiSDR directly to the PC.
The network port of the computer is used for this purpose.
Before doing this,
a small utility
In order to access the KiwiSDR "kiwisdr.local:8073" address in Windows, a
mDNS service must be installed.
The easiest way is to download iTunes from Apple and install it.
In iTunes, "Bonjour" is included that contains an mDNS service.
ITunes can then be uninstalled again.
Bonjour is preserved.
If you enter the address "kiwisdr.local.8073" in the address bar of the browser,
the operating software of the KiwiSDR should start.
Via a USB network adapter
If the network connection on the PC or laptop is used for Internet
access, you can use the KiwiSDR via a USB port.
requires a USB network adapter.
The mDNS service must also be installed for this method.
and uninstall iTunes.
Bonjour is preserved.
Bonjour contains the
If you enter the address "kiwisdr.local:8073" in the address bar of the browser,
the operating software of the KiwiSDR should start.
Access via the Internet
The big feature of
KiwiSDR is accessibility over the Internet.
A total of four users can simultaneously access the KiwiSDR.
trying to get exotic locations.
On the website "http://sdr.hu/"
are all KiwiSDR and also other platform compatible SDR's listed.
By clicking on the
links there, you
the corresponding SDR.
If you want to share your KiwiSDR with other users, a few small
hurdles have to be overcome.
Basic knowledge of network technology is an advantage.
Here is a brief guide.
- On the router, enable port forwarding to port "8073" under TCP.
- Connect KiwiSDR to the router and start up.
- Test whether the KiwiSDR can be operated locally.
Register with a DNS provider.
For example, at
This provider is free.
You just have to confirm your account by e-mail every 30 days.
- If the router supports the DNS function, the data
obtained from the DNS provider is entered in the corresponding input
of the router.
- If the router does not support the DNS
function, a dynamic update client (DUC) can be downloaded and
Enter the KiwiSDR address, password, etc., and start the client.
This client automatically searches the KiwiSDR for its address, e.g.
it to the DNS server.
The disadvantage of this is that
KiwiSDR is accessible over the Internet, the PC must be on because
of the DUC.
- Register on the website "http://sdr.hu/register".
- Enter the address "kiwsdr.local:8073/admin"
in the address bar of the browser.
The configuration pages of KiwiSDR will open.
- Enter the key received by mail under the "sdr_hu" tab in the "API
Fill out all other fields with the necessary data and restart the
KiwiSDR with the "Restart" button.
After a few minutes the KiwiSDR will appear on
the website "http://sdr.hu/".
If this is the case, it is available to other users.
- Further information and details can be found at "http://www.kiwisdr.com/KiwiSDR/index.html".
- If you want to use the KiwiSDR only for the
Internet, it does not need to be registered on "sdr.hu".
Simply use the name given at "https://www.noip.com".
That could be
Operation of the software
After entering "kiwisdr.local:8073" or via Internet, e.g.
This is divided
into three parts.
The waterfall with frequency scale, the editable frequency list and
the spectrum that can be switched.
On the left side are two pop-up windows.
The lower gray shows information about access and usage.
The upper violet window is a guide with links to further information on the
manufacturer's web page.
At the bottom right is the actual control of the KiwiSDR.
There, all essential settings are made.
settings, zoom, AGC, and volume control are available there.
The yellow bar
frequency scale represents the set bandwidth. If you click on this
bar and hold down, it can be moved to any point
scale, resulting in a frequency change.
If you click on the ends of this yellow bar and move it, the
bandwidth can be adjusted freely in 10Hz steps.
The other way to set the bandwidth is to click on the +/- characters
while holding down the Shift key.
This allows you to change both ends of the bar at the same time.
Possibilities of the frequency setting are:
-- Click / hold and move yellow bars in the frequency scale.
-- Click on the predefined frequency memories, which are placed in the upper
-- Just click in the waterfall to the desired frequency.
-- Direct input at the top left of the control
-- The control block has three minus and three plus
With these you can adjust the frequency with the steps
100Hz, 1KHZ, 5KHz.
On LW & MW, the 9 / 10KHz switchover is automatically displayed.
If you hold the mouse pointer on the waterfall and turn the mouse
wheel, you can zoom in and out the waterfall and spectrum.
The KiwiSDR administrator can create, modify, or delete the entries
in the frequency list.
If the KiwiSDR is operated locally, click on a vacancy or an entry
which is to be changed while keeping the Shift key pressed.
Then a dialog opens, where you can enter the data.
These changes can also be made via the Internet, but the password
function must be activated and a password entered on the / admin
On the control block, there are other functions such as band
selection and extensions.
S-Meter. Blendet ein Fenster ein, wo der S-Meter Verlauf
Integrate. Audiotool zur Analyse von diversen
Display. Visuelle Einschätzung von PSK Modulation. Auch
für AM anwendbar.
Decodierung von Loran-C Signalen auf 100KHz.
Ermöglicht die Erkennung von Ausbreitungsbedingungen.
Reception with the KiwiSDR
The KiwiSDR was operated on numerous
antennas. At home, as on the DX camp in the Holzerbachtal near
- crossloop RLA4E / 2
- NTi ML200 with 8m circumference
- Datong AD370
- Stampfl Bluewave-Loop with 4.3m circumference
- Vertical 1 / 2Lambda CB antenna
- See here:
The KiwiSDR was compared above all with the Perseus
This can also
over the Internet and also has a 14bit ADC.
As always, I began with my reception attempts at the lowest,
The only antenna home that receives the alpha signals from Russia is
the Datong AD370.
At 11.9KHz the signals were then also heard and seen on the
waterfall of the KiwiSDR.
Both of these devices were of equally good quality, the KiwiSDR had
a slight advantage, because the audio playback a little less than
What is still striking in comparison to the Perseus is the rough
resolution of the waterfall presentation.
Perseus has the much finer resolution.
The signals are therefore better seen in Perseus.
Next we went to the time
At 77.5KHz, there is a balance between the two.
On the long and medium wave the sensitivity was the subject.
Both are about
In the understanding of AM signals, the KiwiSDR here is something.
The audio is duller than that of the Perseus, but is more pleasant
in the long run.
On the short wave the differences between the two devices are small
The Perseus with the original software 4.1a has a high-pitched
noise, which on the one hand increases the intelligibility somewhat,
but on the other hand tires.
KiwiSDR has a somewhat duller rendering.
picture in the SSB modes.
With the KiwiSDR, the lingering on a frequency is more pleasant.
In the higher bands the slight insensitivity of Perseus makes itself
felt again. Here
the KiwiSDR can score points.
Although the KiwiSDR has no preselection except a low-pass filter at
30MHz, no major signaling problems or ADC overruns were detected
during the entire test phase.
Unfortunately, the software of the KiwiSDR has neither a noise
suppressor, noise suppression, attenuator or notch filter.
The integration of frequency lists such as Eibi and Aoki was not yet
possible at the time of testing.
This will presumably still incorporate everything into the software,
the software was at the time of the test still in the further
Several updates per week were not a rarity.
The operation of the two differs significantly in some points.
The Perseus SDR is more comfortable and intuitive to use.
has a very
long response time between input and response of the SDR.
example, Changing the volume with the slider, it takes almost 2 seconds until the volume
change becomes noticeable.
Below are a few audio comparisons between the KiwiSDR and the Perseus SDR.
Second 0 - 10> Perseus SDR
Second 10 - 20> KiwiSDR
Please use headphones!
Radio C. du Para
Voice of Korea
The KiwiSDR is an interesting SDR project that has quickly found
Note the number of devices that are currently
In comparison with the Perseus he does not need to shun,
because the KiwiSDR pulls with the Perseus practically the same.
Due to the duller reproduction, it loses some comprehensibility, but
is more sensitive to this in the upper frequency ranges.
The built-in GPS receiver is a novelty in this price class, but is
The good antenna compatibility surprised me.
At the DX-Camp, on a 60m horizontal loop, no oversteering effects
Even at home antennas no problem at all!
For some the configuration for bringing online
You need some basic knowledge of networking technology.
Above all, the KiwiSDR is a successful receiver with great features
and easy operation.
Very good price / performance ratio!
Best of all try it yourself>
Many thanks to the radio retailer WiMo for the loan of the KiwiSDR.