Accessible SDR for blind users

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Accessible SDR for blind users

Post by wb9rsq » Thu May 05, 2016 8:54 pm

Let me begin by saying it is quite possible I have missed finding what I want and it may in fact exist.
However I also must state that I have spent many years and large blocks of time searching the internet for solutions.
There are some articles related to my issue but since I personally find in message linking frustrating and generally circular in nature I'm not including links to them.
As a totally blind computer user listening to spoken text from a screen reader also understand that forums and message boards are confusing and difficult to follow do to the large amount of advertising and the use of re quoting and tag areas repeated hundreds of times in a single thread.
With that out of the way, what I want is an accessible way to operate an SDR.
I want to be able to tune the dial and access digital modes such as DSTAR and Fusion and P25 along with more traditional modes like analog AM, FM, WFM and the rest.
A simple to use interface with basic frequency entry and ways to slide and stop followed by easily finding out where I've stopped.
An simple mode selection along with easy to read and change filter settings.
In short I want to be able to use my computer and screen reader to enjoy radio.
I have many great radios with traditional controls but strapping on decoders for the digital modes to an Ic-R8500 or my Ic-9100 isn't an answer.
What's more many of the menus and controls on those radios are already impossible to access.
For example I can't set DSTAR fields nor read back the callsigns of stations as they transmit when I'm on my 9100.
I have written articles posted on hamradio&vision web site related to my struggles with DSTAR and Icom's remote software RSBA1.
With all the great minds out there building applications and figuring out ways to get more and more out of SDR products why is it nobody can take the time to include the blind user community?
I don't need waterfall displays nor fancy bandscopes. I do however need a way to run the radio.
Not one single application so far other than basic single function attempts such as RTLFM have given me more than the ability to tune in my local broadcast FM stations and even then reliability is poor.
Before the flaming starts let me furthure explain that I am far from a novice in the computer field. I am not however a programmer and it is beyond my ability to write code to access the SDRPlay API.
I have most of the common applications loaded and HDSDR along with the rest range from sort of functional to completely invisible to a screen reader.
If you search for accessible SDR you will find articles and discussions all over the net.
One forum discussing an SDR application the developers went as far as saying directly that screen reader support is impossible without a major rewrite and they won't do it so stop asking!
So I'm asking, begging, could somebody or some group please create an accessible interface providing real radio functionality and the ability to allow myself and other blind users to join the 21st century.
I'm happy to discuss this in detail via private email or direct contact.
I beta test screen reading products and serve frequently as an advisor or tester for many products with adaptive requirements in their specifications.
I am on DSTAR and Allstar, node 41822. Also IRLP at node 8625, as well as Echolink 246025(linked to my 220MHZ repeater) or 848276(linked to Allstar).
Last edited by wb9rsq on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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Posts: 1
Joined: Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:26 am

Re: Accessible SDR for blind users

Post by KC0USM » Tue Aug 06, 2019 6:34 am

Hello. I have an answer to your question.
Let me start by saying this all depends on what you are wanting to get out of the radio.
The most easiest to you is HDSDR with the rtlsdr's
If you are using for example sdrsharp, it is usible, but the only thing you might have to do is have someone sighted do a team viewer session with you and expand all of the available tabs in sdrsharp. Once that is done the controls are accessible.
Once the controls are accessible to you you can use them.
If you require further information I shall ask you to contact me via email at
Echo link 275158
Repeater IRLP node 3548 or 3328, one owned by our local club president and the other owned by the club itself.
Telegram at chinmouth86
Skype at chinmouth86
and last but not least, facebook, look for Brandon Hennis who lives in Missouri Valley Iowa and you'll find me there and I'll gladly help you with gettin' started with the sdr software as much as I can.
There are solutions and I will see to it that you have the one you are most confortable with.
Brandon L Hennis
Last edited by KC0USM on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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Re: Accessible SDR for blind users

Post by sdrom33 » Tue Aug 06, 2019 7:37 am

Hi wb9rsq, thank you for your post that made all of us aware of a big problem with Sdr technology. Your mention on the usage of old, conventional equipment gave me the (perhaps impossible) idea that the easiest solution from a blind user standpoint would be to reproduce a mechanical environment interface going to the PC via USB. The mechanical interface would have knobs, switches and others sensors / transducers for INPUT-OUTPUT and these would be translated by software into signals that could interact with the Sdr software loaded on the PC.

WB9RSQ is already an expert in the field and could say if this idea is practicable or not. If it does, I offer to look after the mechanical & hardware part of this project.
Last edited by sdrom33 on Thu Jan 01, 1970 12:00 am, edited 0 times in total.
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