Enhancing HF Digital Voice with FreeDV

Date: February 2023
Amount: $420,486

FreeDVFreeDV is a low-bit-rate digital voice mode for HF radio designed by hams for hams. Initially developed by David Rowe, VK5DGR, an international team of radio amateurs are now working together on the project. It is open-source software, released under the GNU Lesser Public License (LPGL) version 2.1.

An ARDC grant of $420,000 to the FreeDV Project will enable them to:

  • Hire experienced digital signal processing developers to work with the volunteer staff to improve speech quality and improve low signal-to-noise ratio operation, making FreeDV performance superior to single-sideband (SSB) over poor high-frequency (HF) 
  • Work with commercial HF radio companies to embed FreeDV into at least two 
commercial radios, greatly reducing set up effort and reducing latency.
  • Continue development of a suite of advanced, open-source 
HF modems, with the goal of making FreeDV’s digital performance comparable to VARA at both low and high signal-noise ratios.
  • Continue support of the existing software library 
(libcodec2) and application software (freedv-gui), and embedded FreeDV adaptors 
(SM1000 and ezDV).
  • Better promote FreeDV online and in person at amateur radio 
clubs and conventions.

The FreeDV Project team believes that the work funded by this grant will:

  • Open the path to widespread adoption of a truly open-source, next-generation digital voice system for HF radio.
  • Provide a mature, open-source low-bit-rate codec useful for a variety of amateur radio and commercial applications.
  • Provide a suite of high performance, HF data modems for open-source data applications usable by any radio amateur.

The fiscal sponsor for this grant is the Software Freedom Conservancy.

Learn more at https://www.freedv.org.