There’s an app for almost everything these days so its no surprise to see more than a few designed for decoding HF radio datamodes. Picking through what’s available to find the ones most useful to the shortwave listener isn’t that easy but we think we’ve narrowed it down to the 3 useable apps listed below.

With the current iPhone 5 sporting a 4 inch screen and the upcoming version 6 promising bigger than that, its now becoming possible to get the resolution needed to view the decoded pictures without burying your face in the phone.

i phone 5

When you consider the phones small size compared to even the most compact notebooks along with everything being done through the microphone and eliminating the need for audio cables, it does seem a lightweight solution when your going portable or traveling.

HF Weather Fax Decoder

Platform iOS, Cost $4.99 available on iTunes

A stand alone WX FAX decoder that will pick up the audio from a suitable receiver and give a clear rolling picture. Basic slant controls are included to fine tune the audio for a more precise decode.

This app also comes bundled with a handy weather fax transmission schedule.

SSTV Decoder

Platform iOS, Cost $2.99 available on iTunes

SSTV has been around for so many years and we love the idea of being able to get those 14MHz pictures decoded on something as small as the iPhone.

The app can be set on automatic detecting and saving of the SSTV pictures or use the manual control option to filter out the misfires. The app covers all the major SSTV datamodes and once you have the pictures they can be treated like any other image you have on your iPhone.

PSK31 Decoder

Platform iOS, Cost $2.99 available on iTunes

With the user interface based around a typical waterfall readout, zoning in on a particular signal is as simple as tapping the screen to focus the decoder on a single audio stream. This control layout makes it instantly useable for any radio nut who use’s the decoder software packages design for home computers.

Audio Quality and Level

Play around with any of the many computer sound card decoders available and you’ll know that setting the audio just right is the key to success. PSK31 transmissions are short but holding the iPhone steady and in just the right place for the SSTV or HF Fax decode could be a problem.

It may be worth finding a way to fix the iPhone to give hands free operations even if that’s just laying it on top of the receiver and adjusting the volume until it latches on to the signal.

The more industrious (and serious) could even go so far as to build a simple bracket to hold the phone in exactly the same place on the radio every time. By taking note of the volume settings on the shortwave receiver that produce a successful decode, you can set up the phone very quickly each time you use it to decode.

iPhone Courtesy of Wikipedia (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license)

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