OK, maybe not "crime fighter" (which is really difficult to do while sheltering in place) -- but supporting the community is even more important.

Inspired by open source hardware projects like the HackRF One, I'm trying to make something greater out of a product called Xiegu GSOC. It's a commercial panadapter and "universal data terminal" for amateur radio operators. There's so much potential in shortwave digital communications, especially in emergency and low power situations, that it's important to make it more widespread. We need more fun projects to attract more new "hams" into the community as well.

So I dismantled my device, which is now consuming my workbench as can be seen in the wobbly panoramic photo attached. I documented everything I can learn about the internals on Github. See https://github.com/mdubinko/gsoc-contrib/wiki/GSOC-teardown Bit by bit, I'm reverse engineering the hardware and getting to the point where existing software can run, as well as uncovering the APIs necessary to interact with the buttons, control wheel, Si5351 local oscillator, RF mixer, Cirrus audio processor, and more.

I sent a polite request to the company to ask if they had any additional technical information they were willing to release. To my utter shock, they replied with a link to my own Github site. (!) They've name-checked my on the home page of their reseller, Radioddity, as well as in multiple official company Facebook postings. I'll take that over a cease-and-desist any day!

I'd love to see this become a platform, possibly with alternate, open source hardware options. This can help lots of people. To pull this off is going to require lots of workbench time, and a quality set of tools. I grew up under a humble origin story, where any kind of cash was in short supply. I saved up and bought my first oscilloscope for $50 from a guy who ran an art store (!) and the thing must've weighed a hundred pounds. Bit by bit, I've learned the hard way the value of having *good* tools rather than cheap.

Leveling up my workbench would be a great start.


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