DSB-R100 USB Radio Tuner

Picked up a DSB-R100 USB Radio tuner off EBay recently. I did this partly because I have better speakers on my computer than on the radio in that room, and partly because I wanted to play around with timed recordings.

Setting it up was trivial — the dsbr100 driver got loaded automatically, and a program to tune the radio (gnomeradio) was available in the Ubuntu universe repository. I did need to change the radio device from /dev/radio to /dev/radio0 though.

One of the issues with the gnomeradio is the UI for tuning the radio. The following controls in the main window are used for this purpose:

  1. The slider on the left hand side of the window.
  2. The rewind and fast forward buttons (which are actually scan forward and backward).
  3. The track backward and forward buttons (which actually move back or forward by 0.05MHz).
  4. The presets option menu (which is initially empty).

What you can’t do from the main window is type in a frequency with the keyboard. You can type in frequencies directly when entering presets though, which is nice. These controls could probably be reduced to just an entry field for the frequency (possibly a spin button), and the presets option menu. The scanning feature seems most useful in setting up the presets: create a preset for each radio station that can be tuned and be done with it.

There are a few other small complaints:

  • The button for turning the radio on or off (the button with a speaker on it) doesn’t change appearance like most other mute controls.
  • The recording feature doesn’t use GStreamer. It’d be nice if it offered the same audio profiles for recording as Sound Juicer and other apps.
  • The input selection and volume control should probably also use GStreamer, so that they can work with the ALSA mixer.

I haven’t yet looked into software for doing timed recordings. Other people have though, so I could probably use those scripts as a base.

4 Comments

  1. nate
    Posted 19 October, 2005 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    Did you get the recording feature to work? I have used gnomeradio for years, different hw platforms & different distros, and so far have never gotten it to function at all.

  2. Tobias
    Posted 19 October, 2005 at 5:17 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you can help with HAL Support for v4l hardware:
    https://bugs.freedesktop.org/show_bug.cgi?id=3527

    Or Support for v4l radio in rhythmbox:
    http://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=314160

    Anyway, have a lot of fun.

  3. Posted 19 October, 2005 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    nate: I just tried the recording function, and got a silent, mono 44.1KHz wave file. I’m not sure what the problem is.

  4. Posted 18 October, 2005 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Very cool.. I remember having one of those years ago, I set it up with a shoutcast server so that the whole site (a mining operation in Australia) could get radio.. even underground.I may have to buy another one I think.. thanks for the reminder :-)