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Jeremy McDermond joins NW Digital Radio

Jeremy McDermond, NH6Z, has joined our team.  Jeremy is Vice President and a member of the board of directors of TAPR ( and well known in the amateur community for his work with Software Defined Radio (SDR). He is author of Heterodyne, a software defined radio application for MacOS X and iOS devices supporting the OpenHPSDR ( project hardware.  Jeremy’s latest creation is Buster, a recently released application supporting the ThumbDV and PiDV on MacOS X.

You may have seen Jeremy speak at a variety of conferences including Dayton Hamvention, MicroHAMS digital conference and TAPR/ARRL Digital Communications Conference.  He has been active in the Summits on the Air ( hiking to the tops of many mountains in the Northwest United States to make QSOs with his trusty KX3.  He also operates the T2OREGON APRS-IS server.

When not immersed in ham radio, Jeremy serves as Network Engineer for a small web hosting provider in Corvallis, OR and has been a UNIX systems engineer for nearly 20 years.  He is also a member of the Oregon State Bar Association and practices law in a variety of fields.

We are excited about adding Jeremy’s skills to the team and look forward to his contribution to the UDRX and other products.

WinDV Configuration

When you run WinDV (DV Node for Windows), for the first time you need to configure it for the ThumbDV. Make sure you have the latest version from DutchStar with support for the ThumbDV.

Select Tools-Options

Screenshot 2015-05-22 13.58.43


  • Select ThumbDV as your “RF Device”
  • Select the COM Port that the ThumbDV is connected to
    • Check Device Manager for “USB Serial Port”
  • Baud Rate must be 230400 for original ThumbDV, 460800 for Model A
  • Enter your Callsign
    • Callsign is used for connection to gateways. An A,B, or C is required to connect to DExtra  Reflectors (XRFxxx)
    • Auth Call is used with US Trust Registration to connect to DPLUS Reflectors (REFxxx)
    • Callsign / is used for ID
  • Configure the Sound Card to use your desired input and output
  • Select a Callsign Server.  DUTCH*Star and Free*Star provide additional reflectors.  If the server is down select another.

The default Tools-Settings will provide basic operation and don’t require any changes.

Close then restart WinDV


The ThumbDV Status should be RUNNING and the Version is read from the AMBE3000 chip on the ThumbDV. If both of these are correct your ThumbDV is working properly.

Press XMIT, even if you are not connected to a Gateway, and the RED/GREEN LEDs on the ThumbDV will flash.

The ThumbDV is not connected to your network or sound system. If you are having difficulties with either of them, you need to trouble-shoot those as Windows System issues.

If you like WinDV make sure to donate to Fred!

UDRX Update

Dayton Hamvention 2015
Dennis recently completed the Software Defined Receiver for the UDRX-440.  It now goes to Basil for integration with our framework.

This is a complete general purpose software defined receiver with a socket interface to support multiple protocols.   AGC is implemented in hardware as there is no conventional FM limiter which would prevent us from implementing other modulations. The MSK receiver utilizes dual software PLLs to implement Mark and Space separately allowing us to track not only carrier error but frequency shift as well. Lock times for a 100Hz frequency error are on the order of 15 mSec or about one and a half characters at 9600, reducing training time for TX/RX switching. There is a separate debug socket for reporting modem state suitable for advanced diagnostics. The fixed point DSP receiver uses less than 10% of available CPU cycles.

When combined with the previously implemented software designed transmitter, we now have a complete SDR transceiver.

The transmitter PA is now running at full power and initial thermal evaluation shows that we have met our goal of 100% duty cycle in a 20C shack without a fan. A separate temp-controlled fan kit will be available for high ambient temperature, continuous duty applications. Spurious emissions are less than -60 dBc.

These are the last significant milestones for the UDRX. Once integration and characterization are complete we will move the UDRX into Pilot Production on the full manufacturing line for field testing.

If you are at Hamvention, please come by our booth (EH0515) and visit with Bryan and John — we are thrilled to have reached this point.


NWDR Guarantee, Warranty Policy

Dayton Hamvention represents our first anniversary of shipping products. First the DV3000 and more recently the ThumbDV™.

We stand behind all of our products and it’s time to explicitly state our policies.

If you are unhappy with your DV3000 or ThumbDV™ for any reason, we offer a 30 Day Money-Back Guarantee.

In addition we offer a 1 Year Limited Warranty against defects in materials or workmanship.

The full text can be found under the Support Menu.

Thanks for your support,
Bryan K7UDR

Manufacturing Reliability Data

We have now shipped over 300 PiDV™, and the ThumbDV™ will soon pass it for units delivered. There are currently 200 more units in process.

Out of the Box MFG, our local assembly house in Renton WA, does a great job on their SMT line which includes automated optical inspection or AOI. We physically tested all of the first 100 units and found 1 failure, which was attributed to a bad AMBE3000 IC, probably due to hot plugging the board during test.

At this point we stopped functional testing and now rely on AOI to flag any assembly issues for operator inspection or remedy. We have had one working unit returned as suspect but it turned out to be a failed R-Pi and the PiDV™ was returned to service with no charge to the customer.

I want to thank Chad, Paul, Brian and all of the people at Out of the Box for their hi-quality and reasonable cost assembly services.

Bryan – K7UDR

Statement of Origin:

The PiDV™ and ThumbDV™ are assembled in the USA by Out of the Box from globally manufactured components obtained thru Dig-Key and Mouser. The PCB Fabs are made in China.


ThumbDV™ Passes FCC Approval

Because the ThumbDV™ attaches to a computer using USB, it is clearly a “Computer Peripheral” as defined by the FCC and is required to meet the Part 15 Subpart B standard for conducted and radiated emissions.

We sent a sample unit to Nemko-CCL, an accredited test lab in Utah, and they performed testing to the following standards:

  • EU: EN5022:2010
  • USA: FCC Part 15, Subpart B
  • CAN: ICES-003, Issue 5
  • AUS/NZL: CISPR 22:2009

After passing all tests, a Declaration of Conformity was issued by Nemko-CCL and as of today all units are shipped with a sticker on the back.

ThumbDV Passes FCC 15b

Do the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ Sound Better Than the DV Dongle?

A number of customers have reported anecdotally that the ThumbDV™ and PiDV™ (formerly DV3000) have good audio, but is that just perception or is there some truth to it? I spoke with Rich Kovars, Applications Engineer at DVSI, who talked about the ThumbDV™/PiDV™ AMBE-3000 chip vs the Dongle’s1 AMBE-2020.

From the DVSI Website:

“DVSI’s AMBE-2020™ and AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chips, are both DSTAR compatible. iCOM originally introduced the DSTAR system based on the AMBE-2020™ Vocoder chip that utilizes DVSI’s AMBE+ technology. Since that time, DVSI has developed and produced the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip that implements DVSI’s latest generation AMBE+2 technology and is fully interoperable with the the AMBE-2020™ vocoder chip used for DSTAR. The enhancements of AMBE+2™ technology in the AMBE-3000™ vocoder chip can provide superior voice quality in some circumstances. The highest level of voice quality can be achieved when the AMBE-3000™ Vocoder chip (or equivalent software2) is incorporated into the equipment used on both ends of the radio link.”

So the answer is a definite maybe.

1 The DV Dongle is manufactured by Internet Labs.
2 Current ICOM D-STAR products use a software vocoder that incorporates the 3000 advancements.

Email Updates

Hi all,

We’ve received a few support requests regarding order status.

An automated email is sent from when the order is accepted and another when it is shipped, complete with USPS tracking number. For International orders, USPS delivers to your countries postal service which may or may not provide tracking updates. We have no more visibility than you do.

If you don’t receive an email it’s due to one of the following:

  • The email in your order is incorrect or it’s an email you don’t check
  • It’s in your spam folder
  • Your ISP has blacklisted GoDaddy

We can’t do anything about the first two, but we’re checking on alternatives for the last one. By all means if you don’t receive confirmation, send an email to support and we’ll process it manually.

Watts Up with the UDRX

After taming some parasitic oscillation, the UDRX is now driving the Power Amplifier Module successfully. We’ll be optimizing the output filter and RX/TX switch next, which will require a minor board spin. Preliminary thermal analysis shows we’re in the ballpark for dissipation. We’ll have detailed analysis after the built-in monitoring is brought up and we evaluate Mitsubishi’s newer version of the module which has better shielding and thermals.

We still have a ways to go, but firing up the PA is a significant milestone.
Bryan – K7UDR


DCC 2014 in Austin

I know many of you have already seen this. There are really 3 Presentations, so I broke them out for you:

UDRX-440 Update

And now for something completely different – The ARETF

John talks about the DV3000 AMBE Applications

Thanks to Gary Pearce of for his videography.