Fichten Field Day Radio Kit - FiFi SDR V2.0 and GSDR Software - W1AEX

I stumbled upon the Genesis Radio version of PowerSDR by accident. After some fumbling around I found that it's extremely simple to set up for the FiFi SDR plus it looks great and runs beautifully. It's definitely my new favorite for tuning around and listening on all the bands. Gotta love the "analog s-meter" look! As an added bonus, the FiFi SDR appears to be quite functional up on 6 meters, which is quite a surprise to me! Here's a screenshot of GSDR running my FiFi SDR:

The main Genesis SDR page is located here:

The software is located here:

Even though both of my computers are running Windows 7 64-bit I started out with the 32-bit version of Genesis SDR. There is a 64-bit version but I did not try it until later. When I got around to installing the 64-bit version I found that it performed very well and showed half the CPU load that the 32-bit version runs with, however, it has not been updated for several years. You can have both versions installed on the same computer as long as you install them into two separate folders. The 32-bit version should be unzipped into a folder in the Program Files (x86) directory and the 64-bit version should be unzipped into a folder in the Program Files directory.

To get started with the 32-bit version all you need to download are two files:

There actually is no an installation procedure, all you do is unzip the contents into a folder of your choice. Then you unzip the file right into the same folder and allow it to overwrite the files that have been updated. When that's done, look for genesis.exe inside the folder and right-click on it, then select properties. In the compatibility tab set its privilege level to "administrator" so that it has the ability to retain the parameters you will set for the FiFi SDR. When this is done, right-click on the genesis.exe once again and make a shortcut for your desktop. Right-click on the shortcut and check to make sure that it has administrative privileges toggled on. That's all there is to the installation as the Genesis GSDR package has its own copy of ExtIO_si570_usb.dll within its folder.

Power up the FiFi SDR and when it's running start up the Genesis software. It will do a "one-time optimization" and then will go through a setup sequence that asks what radio you are using. Select "QRP 2000". It will ask you if another piece of hardware is installed which should be answered with "No". It will also ask what soundcard you will be using, select "Unsupported Card". Click "Finish" and Genesis will start up in standby mode. Leave it in standby mode and click "Setup" in the upper left-hand corner then find each screen below and set them just as they appear below:

On the Hardware Config page, after checking that "QRP 2000" is correctly selected in the Radio Model list, press the "Get" button so that the software will fetch your FiFi SDR's Si570 Xtal frequency. Yours may differ slightly from mine but it should be pretty close. Make sure everything else is checked just like you see below.


Next, click on the "Audio" tab and in the "Sound Card" tab make these adjustments to the settings: Select Complex Baseband (I/Q) FiFi-SDR for the Input and then select your system's soundcard for the Output. Choose 192000 for the Sample Rate. For the calibration to track correctly it was necessary for me to select "RX swap I/Q" and I suspect this will be true for all the FiFi receivers. If your calibration appears to have an offset then toggle that choice the other way. My calibration is spot-on everywhere so it should work for you as well.


The only things I changed on the "Display" tab were for the Display Grid. The settings below brought the vertical scale within range for what my antenna was picking up. You can alter the Max and Min to values that are optimal for your uses. Make sure you check the Vertical Grid and Horizontal Grid settings so that you will have an easier time interpreting the calibrated panadapter.


In the GUI make sure that the horizontal sliders at the bottom in the Sub RX field are centered as they appear below. By default one is all the way to the left and the other is all the way to the right. With the FiFi SDR this results in audio through only one of your computer speakers or one side of your headphones. That puzzled me for a bit until I spotted what was going on.


When everything is set, click on the "Apply" button and then the "Save" button at the bottom of the menu window. When that is done, click on the "Standby" button and Genesis PowerSDR should start right up on 10.000 MHz. Play around with the PowerSDR interface and you'll figure it out quickly. It runs beautifully and in my opinion the performance surpasses any other software out there for functionality, looks, and stabilty. By the way, they have a "Compact Screen" mode that looks very cool and doesn't take up as much of the screen as the "Normal screen" mode. It looks like the picture below:


It is very easy to calibrate the VFO frequency in GSDR so that it is spot-on even when receiving SSB signals. The picture below should make the explanation that follows a little easier to follow. Hit the WWV button in the Band selector keypad of the GUI and press it repeatedly to step through each of the WWV stations. Tune to the one that is highest in frequency and still well above the noise level. I have also used CHU on 7.850 which is usually quite strong at my location during daylight hours. Note that before this adjustment my FiFi was so far off frequency that none of the frequency standard stations were in the receiver bandpass, if that is the case with yours, set the VFO frequency to where the frequency standard station should be and then switch the mode to DSB. Next, open up the Setup tab to display the "Hardware Config" page that allows adjustment of the Si570 XTAL frequency. Watch your panadapter and then hit the little "up" button tab followed by the "set" button for the Si570 XTAL and see if the frequency standard station moves closer or farther away. If it's going in the right direction keep mashing the "up" button tab and the set button until it is close. Obviously, if it's going in the wrong direction, start mashing the "down" button and the "set" button until the station is close. When you reach the point where the up or down button moves you too far, go back one step, and then start manually adjusting the smaller numbers in the frequency box until the frequency standard station is zero beat. You can really get it exactly zero beat if you are patient. When you are done with this adjustment it might be worth the time to make a screenshot or at least write the adjusted frequency down so you can simply enter it in directly if you ever have to reinstall the software. When you have got it zero beat, hit the "OK" button to close the setup screen.


Another thing that I figured out was how to keep the s-meter from sitting at S-9 when there was no signal being received. To be honest, when used with the FiFi the s-meter is really just a relative strength meter so make these adjustments with that in mind. It may be possible to calibrate the s-meter to reflect signal dBm accurately but I did not bother to go to the trouble. The second picture below may be helpful for seeing where this adjustment is made. Open up to the Calibration tab and write down the values that are present in your "Level dBm" and "SMeter val" fields so you can re-enter those values if you don't like the way your adjustments turn out. Note that larger values inserted into these fields result in a lower s-meter reading on the meter. By playing around with these you can get the s-meter to display lower with no signal and reasonably high when a signal is present. Not a very precise explanation but you should be able to make the meter respond in a reasonable way by messing around with those values. When you are satisfied, click on the "OK" button to close up the setup tab.


That's all there is to it. This software really works beautifully and definitely enhances the features of the FiFi SDR to allow it to perform like receivers that cost 10 times as much. In addition to the bonus 6 meter coverage the I/Q - WAV recorder works flawlessly. Enjoy!

Custom Skins for the Genesis SDR Software


As it turns out, the Genesis SDR software still has the internal hook from PowerSDR that allows you to load a Console.png file. This makes it possible to create "skins" that have textures to enhance the visual look of the GUI. I made a few skins using a beautiful analog s-meter offered by Jeff - W2NBC and compressed them into skin packs. Simply click on the pictures of the skins down below that you would like to install and when each zip file is downloaded, extract it into your Genesis "skins" folder where you have installed your program. Restart the Genesis SDR software and you will be able to load the "Theme" of your choice from the Skins page in Genesis SDR. If you have any interest in designing your own skins be sure to scroll down to the bottom of this page. It's very easy to do if you have a simple graphics program.

Note that because the buttons in the skin packs are dark, you should change the Console Text color to white in the Genesis "Skins" tab as shown in the picture below:


The "National NC-155" Skin

The "National NC-155 Retro S-Meter" Skin

The "ANAN" Skin

The "Sincgars" Skin

The "Black Wrinkle" Skin

The "Metal" Skin

Making your own skins for PowerSDR by Genesis Radio

If you have a graphics editing program available that can manipulate the PNG graphics format then you can create skins for your Genesis Radio software very easily. As shown in the image below, all the skins reside in the "Skins" folder of your GenesisSDR software installation. Each skin has a holding folder, which identifies the name of the skin in the dropdown menu of the "Theme" selection in the Appearance/Skins section of the Genesis Radio software. The only thing inside this holding folder is another folder named "Console". It is the contents of the Console folder that controls the appearance of each skin. In the image below, the PNG files on the right form the buttons, sliders, and console parts of my W1AEX ANAN skin. I made custom buttons, sliders, and all the GUI panels to create the ANAN skin. To make your own, you can copy and rename the Console folder of any of my skins and then edit the 23 PNG files to look the way you want them to. It's as simple as that. The only rule to follow is to make sure you name each component correctly so that the Genesis Radio software is able to load the files into the GUI. As long as you make sure that the folder paths are correct, when you restart the Genesis Radio software you will see your custom skin displayed in the "Theme" dropdown selector. I'm sure that you'll come up with a GUI skin that is more creative than what I have made and hopefully, you'll share it!