The MiniTiouner USB receiver uses free to download DVB-S receive and analysis software called "Minitioune" written by F6DZP. The Software is hosted on the VivaDATV forum. You need to register and be given a log-in to download the software.
You will to do a small modification to the hardware to run Version 8 software - see MiniTiouner_hardware_Version_2#MiniTiouner_version_8_software
You will need Version v0.6 or newer if you have built a MiniTiouner Version 2 board with a Serit tuner (or a Serit tuner on a version 1 board with adapter card). Full installation procedure is at the bottom of this page.
Connecting the hardware
The MiniTiouner hardware is connected to the PC via USB2 mini cable.
It is absolutely essential you use a high quality USB cable or the program will frequently freeze and crash with no warning The recommended cable is a Lindy Cromo Lindy cable USB 2.0 type A/mini-B 1m long. https://www.lindy.co.uk/cables-adapters-c1/usb-c449/1m-cromo-usb-2-0-type-a-to-mini-b-cable-p6866
Running MiniTioune for the first time
The Minitioune software is very comprehensive DVB-S receive and diagnostic software but can be a little overwhelming when you first run it!
If you have completed the installation and tested your system by running the test program, you now need to arrange a test signal which can be one of the following:
- A satellite signal from your domestic satellite dish.
- A local DATV signal from Portsdown (Ugly mode is fine) or any other DATV transmitter - a short piece of wire in the tuner input socket will probably pick up enough signal but be careful - there maybe DC volts on the socket.
- An off air DATV signal from your local repeater or "buddy down the road" (did I really write that!) - make sure you have a filter and line amplifier between your pre-amp and tuner input but be careful - there maybe DC volts on the input socket and most filters are DC short circuit.
Whichever source you use, you will need to know the following:
- Signal frequency - you will need to know L band signal frequency coming out of the LNB or direct amatuer band frequency - eg 1255MHz or 1563 MHz
- DVB mode - DVB-S or DVB-S2
- The Symbol Rate or SR - this will probably be listed as MegaSymbols - eg 2Ms or 27Ms - you will need to convert this to kS - eg 2000 or 27000
- The FEC rate - this will be written in the form 1/2 or 5/6
Start the program and you should see the please wait message - Sharp tuner = 10 seconds and a Serit = 20 seconds. If you get the USB error message then you hardware is not connected.
and then the following screen:
If you see the more complex expert mode below - simply click the top of the "expert" switch in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.
Navigate your mouse to the top left corner of the screen and set the following parameters to match your test signal:
- Symbol rate (SR) - type the symbol rate directly in to the top left green box. (Note this should be the SR in kilosymbols in the following form - 00250 for 250kS, 02000 for 2Ms,or 27000 for 27Ms.
- FEC - tick the box to match the FEC of the transmission you are wanting to rx.
- DVB mode - tick the correct mode box. Currently all DATV signals are currently DVB-S and most domestic satellite signals are DVB-S2. For ATV operation make sure the DVB-S box is ticked and not auto.
- Low SR - if you are trying to receive a signal greater than 1Msymbol or 1000ksymbol untick the low SR box.
- Frequency - type directly in to the top right green box. (Note this should be the L band frequency in the following form - 01255000 for 1255MHz. if it is not the correct format the box will be greyed out).
If you are using a Serit tuner, which covers 144 - 2550 MHz without any upconverters, make sure you have no offset in the white box under the frequency box. If there is a a number present simply enter "00000000" to overwrite it. If you are using a Sharp tuner with an upconverter you will need to enter the L band frequency in the green box or the receive frequency in the green box plus LO offset in the white box.
If using a Serit tuner, select the A or B f type connector using the A or B button. (note the A socket is the one furthest away from the PCB on the tuner can).
The 3 "lights" at the bottom left of the screen should now turn green, the meters should indicate signal level and MER, you should see dots in the 4 quadrants of the constellation window and the Viterbi error bar graph should go green.
If this has happened but there is no video displayed in the center window, navigate to the top right of the screen and click the "Auto PID" button - the video should now appear!
Testing the MiniTioune using a FreeSat Satellite Signal
If you do not have a local ATV signal to do initial tests with, you can use the signal from a Sky Satellite dish with a Universal LNB (frequencies will be different for a "Wideband" LNB) to test your MiniTioune as follows:
- Place a jumper on J3, which is near the 12v power socket. Check that there is now 12v on the upper NIM F socket.
- Connect the upper NIM socket to a Sky dish.
- Start the MiniTioune software.
- In the frequency setting area in the top left of the screen, put 09750000 into the OFFSET box.
- Click the PLUS / MINUS indicator next to it so that it shows MINUS.
- Put 10758000 into the FREQ box.
- Put 22000 into the SR box.
Further down from the FREQ box, below the frequency buttons, check that DVB-S and Fplug-A are selected and that there is a tick in the checkbox next to 5/6 FEC.
You should now see the ITV program in the video window.
There are several channels on each Sky transponder and these should appear on the buttons at the top right of the screen, below PIDs. A 12v supply will select vertical transponders. Use 12v rather than 13.8v, to stay below the switching threshold for horizontal transponders.
Other transponder frequencies can be found at https://www.lyngsat.com/Astra-2E-2F-2G.html The symbol rate (SR) and DVB-S / DVB-S2 setting may need to be changed for other transponders.
The "Record" button records the received transport stream as a .ts file in to the folder where minitioune.exe was installed. .ts files can be replayed with WMP or VLC.
The "Bleep" button enables an audio tone which varies in pitch depending upon the strength of the signal being received. Useful for peaking up aerials or adjusting filters and pre-amps.
The "UDP" button enables the received transport stream to be played out in real time over UDP, enabling it to be played on a remote PC using VLC.
The "Expert" button reveals a whole host of additional controls described below.
The "Dsave" button records a number of parameters about the received signal, such as strength MER and TS Lock as a .txt file. These can replayed in the TiouneDataReader.exe program to give a graphical display of the received signal. This is useful for later analysis when receiving signals such as the ISS HAMTV transmissions.
Customising MiniTioune with common settings
You can edit the miniTioune.ini file in the download directory to configure various options to be set when you start the program.:
- The preset buttons for Frequency (with LNB / converter offsets), symbol rates and PID (see below)
- FEC selected on startup
- DVB mode on start up
- DC volts on tuner output
- Your call sign and station details for the web monitoring facility (see below)
To edit the file, first save a copy of the file on to your desktop - this is so you can always go back when you mess up (and you almost certainly will)! Then double click the file and it should open in wordpad.
One really useful feature of MiniTioune is the ability for remote stations to monitor how well you are receiving their signal. To enable this you need an account on VivaDATV where you downloaded the software from.
Then you need to edit the miniTioune.ini file as described above.
Go to the [WebMonitoring] section and put your call sign where it says OM_ID=MY CALL, enter your vivadatv password forum and your QRA.
Save the file and restart MiniTiouner.
Now go to http://www.vivadatv.org/tutioune.php?what=map and zoom in on your location - you will see that stations who have their web monitor turned on are shown in green.
Stations who are actively receiving a signal are shown as bouncing green pins - click on the pin and you can details of the signal being received, including MER, RF Level, FEC, bit rate and a thumbnail updated every second.
To be completed.....
Software Installation V7 and before only
Download the zip file and extract to a folder under your root or c:\ directory. You should have the following files (except the G8GTZ video file!) in your directory:
Once you have unzipped the main download you need to follow these easy steps to get up and running:
- Download and install the D2XX drivers 2.12.24 found at http://ftdichip.com/Drivers/D2XX.htm. There's a link in the right column for a setup executable.
- Download and install LAVfilters CODECs from here http://www.videohelp.com/software/LAV-Filters
- Look in the Minitiouner folder that you've just copied to C:\ for the small program "Install_usrc_ax_winXP" and run this to install the link with the decoder.
- Plug in your MiniTiouner hardware and let the USB drivers install.
- Run the MiniTiouner test program - "CheckMiniTiouneDriverAndFilters_V0_3a.exe" - it should pass on all sections.
There is a readme file contained in the download which you should read. For a very comprehensive guide on the software installation, see the paper written by W6HHC - http://www.w6ze.org/DATV/InstallingMiniTiouner_onWin10.pdf