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Background Information

Michael Cavallin helped beta test the KiwiSDR. UVic was the first KiwiSDR beta site. The KiwiSDR collaboration was originally created out of a desire to improve the WebSDR. The WebSDR in the netherlands features continuous coverage whereas the WebSTER's located around the world do not include this feature. ____ from the OpenWebRX project put Mike in touch with John Seamons, who was developing a low cost, continuous coverage SDR. Contacting John, he shipped me the his second PCB for a beta testing site. This was one of three PCBs at the time.

Timeline of Beta Testing

Unit Received - Spring 2016

The unit was shipped to Michael's house (the Kiwi in the lab is Michael's). It was assembled and plugged into the ELW PH LAN. An antenna splitter was installed into the

Security Modifications Spring 2106

Using nmap, a port scan was conducted. A VNC server was discovered to be left running and the package was uninstalled. There are no video outputs on the BeagleBone black when using the KiwiSDR as the HDMI video output would create too much interference with the Radio portion of the Kiwi SDR.

Using the Hosts.allow and Hosts.deny files, only John’s and ELW PH’s addresses were allowed to SSH into the kiwi.


Noise from the rooftop electrical room was causing interference on the KiwiSDR in the form of harmonics of a 14.30KHz signal. Entering the electrical room, a high pitch sound can be heard. This 14.30 KHz signal was determined to be caused via John analyzing the waterfall. To reduce this, attenuation was added after the Mini-Whip's Clifton Laboratories Radio Pre-Amplifier.

WAN Access

Talking to Kevin Jones, an IP was reserved for the KiwiSDR and a subdomain A record was assigned to The ethernet port on the wall of the windows was 402-04D was configured to allow the KiwiSDR to connect to the WAN.

GPS Testing - May 2016

GPS was tested. GPS causes problems on the waterfall syncing with the audio, increasing the delay between when a signal appears on the waterfall and when the audio is heard. The delay varies according to the KiwiSDR's CPU load, adding the GPS decoder increases the CPU load and in turn, the delay. John remotely disabled the GPS for now until the code can be further optimized after release.

Reflashing the KiwiSDR - OS storage flash full - May 2016

The flash on the KiwiSDR filled up do to the log files taking up too much space. This was due to debug logging being enabled. As a result, the KiwiSDR would not boot or function until it was re-flashed. To reflash the kiwi, the following commands were entered on a Mac OS X computer (they should also function on an any Linux or Unix system with the dd utility). This fixed the issue, also testing the restore functionality for John. Due to the early production run of the Beaglebone Black, 30sec was needed between power cycling the Beaglebone and applying power in order for it to boot into the flashing mode. The f

Security Breach - __/__/2016

A remote user logged into the KiwiSDR due to two issues, first the hosts.allow and hosts.deny were not reconfigured after re-imaging the kiwi after the flash filled up. Second, the default debian root account was left on the device. The KiwiSDR was re-imaged, and several steps were taken to prevent this in the future. First, the hosts.allow and hosts.deny were re-configured. Secondly, logs were configured to forward to my email address to check for remote logins, Third, the default Debian user account was disabled.


The KiwiSDR led a successful Kickstarter where it received 70,757 USD. 260 backers purchased KiwiSDRs that will eventually be connected to the internet. This opens possibilities to do experiments with the distributed radios across the world. With the GPS clock and controlled oscillator, frequencies and time of arrival can be accurately deduced, however phase cannot be the same across different receivers unless a training sequence is used to synchronize them. This is basically impossible as all receivers need to listen to the exact same signal in order to train their phases.

WSPR and LORAN - July 2016

WSPR and LORAN decoding was added to the Kiwi. If a user is running the Kiwi in their browser, then their browser will decode the WSPR signals realtime and report them to's map. The spots will arrive under VE7AB. A Loran decoder was also added to the

I/Q - August 2016

John has enabled beta I/Q streaming. The GUI has been added, streaming of the IQ is to follow.

API - August 2016

John is planning to write an API to allow third party applications to control the KiwiSDR without the need of the web GUI. This would allow applications like GNU Radio Companion to control the KiwiSDR as a block.