Software capabilities and issues

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Revision as of 21:33, 26 May 2019 by G8GKQ (talk | contribs)
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The latest Software for the Portsdown Transmitter is version 201905090 (the version is the issue date with an added 0-9 serial).

There are now 2 versions of Portsdown software:

  1. Portsdown 2019 Stretch, which should be used for all new builds, and supports both the Raspberry Pi 3 B and the Pi 3 B+, the 7 inch Screen and the LimeSDR.
  2. Portsdown 2018 Jessie, which is the software that was developed from December 2016 until September 2018, but has now been frozen. It still works as a perfectly capable ATV Transmitter, but the underlying operating system is no longer supported by the Raspberry Pi foundation and it will not receive the new features that are being developed for the Portsdown Stretch software. This old build can be found at

Portsdown 2019 software supports the following:

Supported hardware

  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, with or without a 3.5 inch diagonal Waveshare Type A touchscreen.
  • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, (Portsdown Stretch software ONLY)
  • 7 inch Element 14 Touchscreen (Portsdown Stretch software ONLY)
  • LimeSDR Mini or LimeSDR USB (Portsdown Stretch software ONLY)
  • The TX can be controlled over the network from another computer.
  • The use of a keyboard and monitor connected directly to the Pi is not supported.
  • The Pi will control an ADF4351 Synthesizer with a 10 or 25 MHz or other Reference Oscillator.
  • Video input from a Fushicai EasyCap type USB capture device, Pi Camera or selected webcams.
  • Support for the C170, C270, C525, C910 and C920 Webcams is provided on a best-efforts basis


Currently the Portsdown s/w will output:

  • Dirty (ugly) QPSK signal on 437 MHz for testing,
  • I and Q signals to the Portsdown Filter/modulator board,
  • Control for a DATV Express in DVB-S mode.
  • Control for LimeSDR Mini and LimeSDR USB in DVB-S and DVB-S2 modes at 1MS or less
  • H264 coded video to a DTX-1 through a TS Dock board
  • Transport Stream over UDP
  • Composite Video from the Pi Camera, test cards or a BATC Stream
  • Stream to RTMP server such as


  • In IQ output mode, the Pi will encode the Pi Camera, the EasyCap or the on-board test card at up to 4 MS/s.
  • In DATV Express mode, it will transmit MPEG-2 or H264 pictures from the RPi Camera at 125 KS/s - 4 MS/s (although there are currently some issues at symbol rates in excess of 1 MS).
  • In LimeSDR mode, it will transmit MPEG-2 or H264 pictures at 125 KS/s - 1 MS/s DVB-S and DVB-S2.
  • In "ugly mode" it will encode from these sources reliably at 125KS/s and sometimes at 333KS/s.
  • In streaming mode, it will send Pi Camera, EasyCap or webcam pictures and sound to the BATC Streamer, or to any other compatible streamer.
  • In "Stream Display" mode, the Portsdown will display any selected stream from the BATC server and provide audio on the 3.5mm jack.
  • With an added RTL-SDR, the included LeanDVB monitor receiver will display strong DVB-S H264 signals of up to 1000 KS/s.
  • The ADF4351 VCO or a DATV Express can be controlled as a Signal Generator with the option of QPSK modulation
  • The FreqShow Spectrum Viewer can be selected from Menu 2 of the touchscreen.

Version history

  • Version 201612310 Introduced a blank background behind the receive display, which in now part of the core capability.
  • Version 201701020 introduced automatic selection of EasyCap input and TV standard.
  • Version 201701080 introduced installation of Waveshare Touchscreen drivers during install, disabled the screensaver and added a screen logo at next boot.
  • Version 201701190 Added stability improvements allowing 4MS SR, increasing reliability and reducing lock-ups. It also adjusted the touchscreen display to be centered in the screen
  • Version 201701230 Added an Advanced Setup Menu. The fallback IP address was disabled, and the update script made more resilient to internet connection problems.
  • Version 201701270 Added the ability to set the reference frequency and power for the ADF4351. It also corrected the selection of Carrier and Carrier Null modes, improved band switching and added menu items for future enhancements.
  • Version 201701280 Bug fix for new ADF4351 functionality introduced in 201701270
  • Version 201702020 New version of pi-sdn for button-initiated shutdown without error messages. Install and update improvements to allow easier testing and subsequent fielding of development versions.
  • Version 201702060 Introduced basic support for the DATV Express modulator board
  • Version 201702090 Introduced support for updated DATV express_server software. PTT capability and full SR range.
  • Version 201702100 Completed the DATV Express capability, including Port switching, and tidied the switching between touchscreen and console.
  • Version 201702110 Bugfix for DATV Express
  • Version 201702190 Enabled streaming modes, lip-sync for MPEG-2 and switchable viewfinder.
  • Version 201703060 Added the capability to adjust the frequency and SR for the touch screen presets.
  • Version 201704030 Enabled IPTSIN mode and the transmission of contest numbers without a camera.
  • Version 201704050 Update package lists before upgrade (bugfix for 201704030)
  • Version 201704080 German Menus. Waveshare B display support and TonTec selection bug fix
  • Version 201704160 Revised boot-up procedure, Display IP Address on splash screen. Update new build Jessie baseline.
  • Version 201705200 Enabled the Pi Cam auto-shutter and improved the Shutdown button functionality.
  • Version 201705301 Added a second Touchscreen menu with a shutdown button and enabled Contest mode operation from the touchscreen
  • Version 201706301 Adds a number of menu options and the ability to run beta software using a recompiled version of ffmpeg.
  • Version 201707120 Adds a PAL composite video output mode from the RPi and corrected the test card sizes.
  • Version 201707222 Adds the ability to transmit MPEG-2 and stream from an EasyCap. Video and sound switching is provided.
  • Version 201707311 Adds an Info screen on Menu 3, and sound pass-through in "Vid Out" mode.
  • Version 201708150 Adds dedicated repeater streaming modes and video still capture.
  • Version 201710081 Adds RTL-SDR functionality and keyed transmit.
  • Version 201710280 Adds the basic Signal Generator functionality
  • Version 201711031 Adds touchscreen calibration
  • Version 201711271 Adds an HD Pi Camera MPEG-2 mode and a static MPEG-2 test card.
  • Version 201712181 Included a total re-write of the touchscreen touch response function and added 480p MPEG-2 modes
  • Version 201801012 Adds the FreqShow Spectrum viewer and basic support for the Element 14 7 inch screen.
  • Version 201801061 Adds the ability to use DATV Express or switchable attenuators with the SigGen and tidies RX switching
  • Version 201802041 Includes a major menu rewrite and add the facility to use the attenuator and transverters.
  • Version 201802202 Minor bugfixes including C920 WebCam functionality
  • Version 201803061 H264 HD streaming from C920. Additional HD, widescreen and test card modes
  • Version 201803181 Revised C525 webcam reset logic. Corrected audio switching bug. Added C910 Webcam Support
  • Version 201804020 Added functionality (including software update) from the touchscreen.
  • Version 201804061 Adds FreqShow and VideoView functionality and other minor improvements for the Element 14 7 inch Screen
  • Version 201804251 Adds an RTL-FM Receiver on Menu 2 and improves visibility of the DATV Express Firmware load
  • Version 201805150 Adds a locator bearing calculator and improves the Composite video output facility.
  • Version 201807041 Adds an independent LeanDVB Receiver Menu, and a Receive LO Generation Capability.
  • Version 201807091 Introduces performance improvements for the LeanDVB receiver
  • Version 201807151 Adds the ability to display any BATC Stream.
  • Version 201807290 Improves the BATC Stream Viewer and adds the ability to control a repeater input based on the stream status
  • Version 201809051 Corrects the bug that prevented display of streams after looking at the system info.
  • Version 201809151 Adds the capability to set up and select streamer outputs from the touchscreen and sets the rtl-fm gain.
  • Version 201809152 Reduces the possibility of a reboot hang at the end of the update
  • Version 201810180 Added an experimental video monitor function
  • Version 201810270 Introduced audio with H264 and improved the repeater streamer software.
  • Version 201811030 Added a process watchdog to improve streamer reliability
  • Version 201811100 Prepared for DVB-S2 support and added new touchscreen menu functions.
  • Version 201811170 Switched to the latest version of avc2ts allowing the Raspbian Stretch OS to be updated
  • Version 201811300 Added DVB-S2 capability with the LimeSDR as an output device.
  • Version 201812290 Corrected the LimeSDR PTT switching and rearranged some menu buttons.
  • Version 201902070 Added automated display driver switching.
  • Version 201902072 Fixed KeyedTX bug
  • Version 201902250 Added Lime and DVB-S2 support in the console and fixed FEC 1/4 and Lime PTT.
  • Version 201903250 Improved the LimeSDR capability, and required the LimeSRR to be upgraded to Gateware 1.29
  • Version 201904200 Improved stability for Lime SDR and numerous minor fixes.
  • Version 201904290 Improved stability for the repeater streamer and LimeSDR from the console menu.
  • Version 201905090 DVB-S2 pilots, user-configurable scripts and experomental Jetson control.

Last updated 26 May 2019. DGC