AB9IL.net: How to Record from WebSDR and OpenWebRX Sites

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Note added 2023/02/08: Yes, you can record the demodulated audio from either WebSDR or KiwiSDR sites. Click on the appropriate button and you will record what you hear. Also, you can record the RF waveform on KiwiSDRs if you use IQ mode. Getting the RF signal allows you to play it back in an SDR app and apply filters or tune the waveform as you would a live signal. You can go back in time and hunt for interesting things!

Essentials of recording signals from WebSDR and OpenWebRX.
Weak signals and noise reduction on WebSDR an OpenWebRX.

Listeners may want to record what they hear on internet streaming SDRs for many reasons. Maritime or aeronautical, military or emergency communications, or amateur radio operations are ever changing resources, fleeting by nature. These are environments where things happen once and do not tend to repeat, so there are advantages to being able to record and archive interesting traffic.

Airband Radio on the RTL-SDR
How to maximize RTL-SDR performance for aeronautical comms.

Indeed, sites such as LiveATC.net do archive a large volume of aero mobile radio traffic. Be aware that the audio data they store is reduced in quality, for mass storage, and it is centrally controlled. For top quality archiving and content control, consider making your own recordings.

Here is a brief summary of techniques and considerations for making the best quality recordings when monitoring radio signals on WebSDRs and OpenWebRX sites, which stream three key things: audio, signal spectrum, and signal strength. Review these listed items, then watch the videos embedded above to see them applied to actual radio recordings.

The above listed items cover most, but not all things to consider for capturing interesting signals for archiving and playback for other people in the future. Though they take far more storage space, I/Q recordings are a great way to archive radio events, as future DSP advances may provide better fitering an demodulation. With a very wideband I/Q capture, it is possible to follow action on multiple frequencies, giving a petter picture of what was happening at the time of the recording.

While not strictly related to recording from OpenWebRX or WebSDR internet servers, think about data modes. Data modes (for example: ADS-B, ACARS, FAX, DRM, NAVTEX) are recordable as much as voice modes. Narrowband modes fit waterfall into standard audio recording methods. Wider modes are more suited to captured as I/Q data. Think about the potential gems in a whole day of raw transponder captures on 1090 MHz. Digital spectrum data can be mined and analyzed years into the future.

Good luck with your SDR recordings! Remember to keep them clean, process less instead of more, and always be ready for the next big event to happen when you least expect it.

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