FreeDV is a Digital Voice mode for HF radio. You can run FreeDV using a free GUI application for Windows, Linux and OSX that allows any SSB radio to be used for low-bit-rate digital voice.
Alternatively, you can buy a SM1000 FreeDV adaptor that allows you to run FreeDV (1600 and 700D modes) on any HF radio without a PC or sound card. If you are a hardware or software developer, you can integrate FreeDV into your project using the LGPL-licensed FreeDV API.
FreeDV is being developed by an international team of radio amateurs working together on coding, design, user interface and testing. FreeDV is open source software, released under the GNU Lesser Public License version 2.1. The modems and Codec 2 speech codec used in FreeDV are also open source.
Check the GitHub Releases Page for the latest information on software releases.
|June 2023||FreeDV 1.8.10 – FreeDV Reporter support, Hamlib improvements|
|April 2023||FreeDV 1.8.9 – Quick Record, callsign history|
|March 2023||FreeDV 188.8.131.52 – PSK Reporter and serial port usability improvements|
ARDC awards grant to FreeDV
|January 2023||FreeDV 1.8.7 – “Easy Setup” to simplify first-time setup|
FreeDV is now on Discord
|December 2022||FreeDV 1.8.6 – UI cleanup, 2020B added to multiple RX support|
FreeDV 1.8.5 – first-time usability improvements, build fixes for macOS
|October 2022||FreeDV 1.8.4 – stats auto-reset, TX audio dropout fixes|
FreeDV joins Software Freedom Conservancy
|August 2022||FreeDV 184.108.40.206 – Codec2 1.0.5, bug fixes, Windows updates|
|July 2022||FreeDV 1.8.0 – PSK Reporter improvements, experimental 2020B mode, modem compression for improved RMS power, doc & build fixes|
|February 2022||FreeDV 1.7.0 – bug fixes, Pulse Audio for Linux, UI enhancements|
|September 2021||FreeDV 1.6.1 – bug fixes and reliable PSK reporter feature|
|August 2021||SM1000 v5 firmware FreeDV 700E and 700D/E Tx band Pass Filter|
|August 2021||FreeDV 1.6.0 with many small bug fixes and enhancements|
|April 2021||FreeDV 1.5.3 with automatic mode detection and Tx level slider|
|Feb 2021||FreeDV 1.5.2 with new FreeDV 700E mode, experimental PSK Reporter, PDF, and HTML User Manual|
|July 2020||FreeDV Technology doc and v4 SM1000 firmware|
Amateur Radio is transitioning from analog to digital, much as it transitioned from AM to SSB in the 1950s and 1960s. How would you feel if one or two companies owned the patents for SSB, then forced you to use their technology, made it illegal to experiment with or even understand the technology, and insisted you stay locked to it for the next 100 years? That’s exactly what was happening with digital voice. But now, hams are in control of their technology again!
FreeDV is unique as it uses 100% Open Source Software, including the speech codec. No secrets, nothing proprietary! FreeDV represents a path for 21st-century Amateur Radio where Hams are free to experiment and innovate rather than a future locked into a single manufacturer’s closed technology.
Controlled testing suggests FreeDV is comparable to and, in some cases, works better than SSB on low SNR channels.
FreeDV 2020 is built around leading-edge neural net speech coding (LPCNet), putting Ham radio at the forefront of digital radio innovation. It provides 8 kHz wide audio bandwidth while using just 1600 Hz of RF bandwidth.
Urban HF noise is a growing problem for SSB communications. Hams around the world are using the advanced FEC and modem technology in FreeDV to overcome urban HF noise in channels where SSB is unusable.
FreeDV 1600 and 2020 is being used over the QO-100 satellite and for experimental combinations of Internet and HF radio to overcome poor propagation.
Here is what you need:
- An SSB receiver or transceiver
- FreeDV software, download links are below.
- A Windows, Linux or OSX PC with one (receive only) or two sound cards.
- Cables to connect your PC to your SSB radio.
- An SM1000 Digital Voice Adaptor
- Cables to connect the SM1000 to your SSB radio
Connecting Your Radio
If you don’t have a built-in sound card for digital modes you can use the normal audio inputs and outputs of your radio. The same cables and hardware that you use for other digital modes that are based on PC programs will work with FreeDV, but you will need a second sound interface for the microphone and speaker connections to the FreeDV program. A USB headset of the sort used by gamers is all you need for the second sound interface.
Configuring Your Radio
Turn off as much processing as possible. In general, noise blankers, DSP band limit filtering and narrow bandpass filters are more likely to hurt than help, while compression, DSP noise or carrier elimination, and voice processing are definitely wrong for digital modes. FreeDV’s HF modem does its own DSP, and in general, this is true for other digital programs as well.
You can see the received effect of different settings in the S/N (signal-to-noise ratio) display of FreeDV. A higher S/N is better.
Drive your transmitter to an average power of about 20% of its PEP power. There is an 8-12 dB peak-to-average power ratio in our HF modem. Over-driving will reduce the received S/N. More is not better for DV!
- Installers for 32/64 bit Windows, MacOS
- Now in the main Fedora and Fedora EPEL 6 & 7 repositories!
- Now in the Debian Unstable repositories!
- FreeDV GUI Source Code
- Codec 2 Source Code
- FreeDV GUI Source Code Archive
- Codec2 Source Code Archive
- LPCNet (Experimental FreeDV version) Source Code Archive
- FreeDV Beacon Source Code
Several guides are available:
- FreeDV User Manual in HTML or PDF – How to get started, notes on advanced and new features in the latest versions of FreeDV
- FreeDV Technology – An overview of the technology inside FreeDV digital modes
- SM1000 Manual – How to set up, use and reflash the SM1000
- G4ABP FreeDV User Manual Appendix (for FreeDV v1.4, June 2020) – Useful Tips from an experienced FreeDV user
- VK5SA FreeDV Quick Start Guide
- VK5DM guide to building SM1000 patch leads
Who can I Talk To?
Login to FreeDV Reporter (source) or the K7VE FreeDV QSO Finder to find other Hams using FreeDV.
|Argentina||7.045 MHz LSB||Mon, Wed, Fri 1800 UTC||Radio Club Coronel Pringles, listen on the LU4EEC KiwiSDR|
|Australia||7.177 MHz||Anytime||Casual QSOs|
|Netherlands||3.625 MHz LSB 700D||Every Sunday 1000 UTC||Net|
|UK||3.643 MHz LSB 700D||Sundays mornings at 09:00 Local||RSGB broadcast by Matt G6WPJ|
|UK||3.693 & 3.697 MHz LSB 700D||1600 Local||Daily Net|
|USA||14.236 MHz USB||Anytime||Casual QSOs|
- Please post your questions to the Digital Voice Google group.
- Developers, please subscribe to the Codec 2 Mailing List.
- For SM1000 support also use the Codec 2 Mailing List.
For casual chat there is a #freedv IRC channel on irc.libera.chat port 6697
For chat or QSO coordination, there is also a FreeDV Discord server. The “#qso-finder” channel in particular mirrors FreeDV reports made to the PSK Reporter service, while “#general” is intended for general FreeDV chat.
- Cross-platform: runs on Linux, Windows, and OSX.
- Open source, patent-free Codec and Modem that anyone can experiment with and modify
- Waterfall, spectrum, scatter, and audio oscilloscope displays.
- Adjustable squelch
- Fast/slow SNR estimation
- Microphone and Speaker signal audio Equaliser
- Control of Transmitter PTT via RS232 levels
- Works with one (receive only) or two (transmit and receive) sound cards, for example, a built-in sound card and USB headphones.
FreeDV is being maintained and extended by Mooneer Salam K6AQ and David Rowe, VK5DGR. Richard Shaw KF5OIM maintains the Cmake build system and Fedora packaging. Walter, K5WH is leading Windows testing in the USA. Debian packaging thanks to A. Maitland Bottoms (AA4HS) and the Debian Hamradio Maintainers.
As development continues, many people are helping whom we have not credited on this website, but we appreciate all of their work.
In 2012 FreeDV was coded from scratch by David Witten (GUI, architecture) and David Rowe (Codec 2, modem implementation, integration).
The FreeDV design and user interface is based on FDMDV, which was developed by Francesco Lanza, HB9TLK. Francesco received advice on modem design from Peter Martinez G3PLX, who has also advised David on the FDMDV modem used in FreeDV.
Mel Whitten, K0PFX has contributed greatly to the design, testing and promotion of several Digital Voice systems, including FDMDV. This practical experience has led to the current design – a fast sync, no FEC, low latency system that gives a “SSB” type feel for operators. Mel and a team of alpha testers (Gerry, N4DVR; Jim, K3DCC; Rick, WA6NUT; Tony, K2MO) provided feedback on the usability and design of FreeDV.
Bruce Perens has been a thought leader on open-source, patent-free voice codecs for Amateur Radio. He has inspired, promoted and encouraged the development of Codec 2 and FreeDV.
- Google DigitalVoice group
- Codec 2 Voice Codec
- K7VE’s FreeDV QSO Finder
- Radio Club Coronel Pringles in Argentina is very active with FreeDV and other digital modes. You can listen to their FreeDV transmissions on 7.045 MHZ LSB Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings at 1800 UTC on the LU4EEC KiwiSDR.
- FreeDV 1600 Specification
- Notes for users of Tigertronics rig interfaces
- SmallDV Embedded FreeDV for Raspberry Pi from Matt KK5JY
- David Rowe interviewed about CODEC2
- Project Code of Conduct
Adding FreeDV To Your Hardware Product or Software Project
If you are a hardware or software developer, you can integrate FreeDV into your project using the LGPL-licensed FreeDV API.
No license fees are required to use FreeDV. Including it in your project is as simple as compiling a library of C code. FreeDV does not require an operating system, it runs happily “bare metal” on small machines such as micro-controllers. It does require a hardware Floating Point Unit (FPU).
The FreeDV stack is gcc compilable C software that runs in about 1% of the CPU resources on a modern PC. FreeDV 1600 and 700D has even been ported to a “bare metal” STM32F4 microcontroller (168MHz, FPU, 128k RAM, 500k flash).
FreeDV requires a floating-point processor. While it might be possible to create a fixed-point implementation, there is little incentive to do so since floating-point processors capable of running FreeDV are now available for under $5.