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[Discuss-gnuradio] 192KHz sound card experience: WWVB, etc

From: Marcus D. Leech
Subject: [Discuss-gnuradio] 192KHz sound card experience: WWVB, etc
Date: Mon, 10 Jan 2011 16:10:48 -0500
User-agent: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux x86_64; en-US; rv: Gecko/20101209 Fedora/3.1.7-0.35.b3pre.fc14 Thunderbird/3.1.7

I finally installed a M-Audio Audiophile 192 sound-card on my F14 system today, further to my efforts to make a WWVB (and DCF77 and any other time station that uses broadly-similar mechanisms) receiver based on little more than a high-rate sound-card, pre-amp, and loop antenna (and of course, Gnu Radio).

I have a similar set-up for doing SID detection on VLF, using an external 96KHz USB sound-card--a Creative X-Fi USB.

What I've found is that the M-Audio internal 192KHz card has a roughly 10dB higher noise floor (or put another way,
  a 10dB poorer SNR) than the external sound sysem.

The M-Audio Audiophile 192 uses a 24-bit ADC and can sample at 192KHz.

I ended up having to turn up the gain on my pre-amplifer, in order to compensate for the much-poorer noise performance on
  the Audiophile 192.

The way things are now, I can't "see" WWVB in the spectrum. I'll see how it is tonight, but it sure doesn't look to "be there". This is at least consistent with my LaCrosse WWVB-synchronized digital clock that I have, which has *never* been able to
  get a lock on WWVB the entire time I've lived in this house.

I may look into the SDR-Widget system (Thanks, Patrick Strasser!), since it boasts better performance than most other
  192KHz sound systems out there, and is tailored to narrowband SDR work.

Marcus Leech
Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium

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