With the explosion of software defined radio into the hobby radio community the options for listening online have completely changed. No longer are we limited to simplex audio steams that are set by what frequency the receiver plugged into the Internet is fixed on.
With the right software feeding off the SDR unit the only limitations are how wide band the receiver is and the quality of antennas hooked up to it.
An Excellent Measure of Band Conditions
Information from propagation forecasts is useful and plays a big part in hunting down long distance signals but being able to listen to receivers in others parts of the world trumps this by a mile.
Carefully trawling through frequencies and giving each enough attention to be sure there’s nothing there can be time consuming. Having the ability to know there’s reception of a transmission elsewhere (on a particular frequency) that interests you makes it simple to wait on that frequency to see if your getting it too.
The Envy Factor
The majority of online SDR kit is part of an overall amateur radio system with all the towers, directional beams and enhancements ham operators go to great lengths to perfect. The fact that some CB antenna setups are a work of art doesn’t do much for those of us limited (for so many reasons) to equipment that just about gets us by.
Hearing a SDR feed full of DX signals that rarely come your way has to give some serious consideration about improving your CB antenna situation.
The Mechanics of SDR Online and Security Issues
Two general systems are used to listen to online SDR with each having its own unique benefits.
1. In page operation
Easier to access with almost zero setting up time listening to SDR straight through the browser is a popular option with lots of websites making SDR available this way. The common way is by using java applets to create an interface that allows manipulation of the raw data.
Problems can happen with this method as many browsers are not set to automatically run java applets because of the risk they represent to the overall security of your computer. Getting around this can be solved by adjusting the restrictions on applet use in general or the much safer option of only allowing the applet function for a particular website.
2. Client Software
One step further than in page usage is actually downloading a piece of client software running on your computer. Going this route does give a lot more control but will open up an additional hole in your firewall protection and depending which firewall package your using can take some time to get going.
Don’t be alarmed if your firewall goes mental the moment your try to use any client software as its just doing its job, its down to you to let it know that this new connection is valid and not some hacking attempt.
Listening for Fun
Lets face it the CB bands are a lot less quieter these days unless your near a populated area of have a high location. In some places its hard to pick up signals due to the lay out of the land and its good just to log on to a SDR receivers and hear plenty of activity on 27 MHz.
Finding Online SDR
With plenty already up and running along with the amount being added all the time listing individual websites does seem a bit pointless so here’s a quick Google search link.