Tuesday, February 10, 2009

PC-HFDL Version 2.042 Now Available

The new HFDL system table got me interested, so I decided to install the new version of Charles Brain's commercial PC-HFDL program. It's been out for a couple of weeks now. While Charles' old web site is still gone forever, a stub page at his old link will give you a link to the new version, which is PC-HFDL 2.042.

The big news is that PC-HFDL now works under Vista. Most people are probably aware that Vista made large changes in the way the operating system handles the sound card. The code now handles these. I haven't tried it on a Vista machine, but those who have say it works just fine.

It still works fine under XP, though there are a couple of new quirks and weirdnesses that replace the old quirks and weirdnesses with regard to setting up the channels and spectrum display. Since my system is a bit different than most, there's no point in my describing my own strangeness, since your strangeness might vary.

Also, I am told that the program still works better with some sound cards than others. It does great with my old external USB Sound Blaster, and in fact the rate of successful decodes is up noticeably on weak signals. (At this point in the solar non-cycle, that of course is most of them.)

Charles has added the pcfhdl.dat file that we talked about in the previous post to this blog. This means that the program is up to date with system table number 34 (22 hex) right out of the box. You still have to change the entry in pchfdl.txt from Annapolis to Albrook AB in Panama, though. BTW, I have heard this ground station and aircraft exchanging data on 10063 kHz, so it is definitely live.

Given the many variables, I'd back up the files in the PC-HFDL subfolders before doing the update. While you probably won't need to uninstall everything and start over with 2.031, we are dealing with computers here. Nothing is too strange.