These PowerSDR skins are free and completely compatible with all 2.x.x versions of PowerSDR


Free PowerSDR Skins for Download - W1AEX

For a tour of a few available skins view the video below in 720p full screen HD.

So... is this an updated 2012 version of a shortwave numbers station?

NOTE: For those who are running OpenHPSDR versions of PowerSDR you will find fully compatible skins on the OpenHPSDR Custom Skins page.

NOTE:  For information on how to install these skins please read the instructions on the
Installing Custom PowerSDR Skins page.

NOTE: For information on how to create your own skins and to download the templates please read the PowerSDR Skins Tutorial page.

IMPORTANT INFORMATION BEFORE YOU START:  This project requires a basic understanding of file structure and folder hierarchy. If you are uncomfortable with the thought of navigating through folders and subfolders, then this is not for you. I do not work for Flex (but it sounds like it would be fun) and do not provide technical support, so if you decide to try this you are on your own! If you know how to navigate through folders and files with Windows explorer, and can create a folder and a subfolder, and know how to unzip files, then I have no doubt that you will enjoy playing around with this. Keep in mind that this project adds folders and files to the PowerSDR Skins directory, but it does NOT alter any files that are installed by PowerSDR. Refer to the Installing Custom PowerSDR Skins page for assistance with where to upzip the skin packs. If you attempt to install a custom skin, and it does not show up in the list of available skins, or the skin displays incorrectly, the problem is always a result of incorrect placement of your custom folder and its Console subfolder. If you are still stuck visit the Troubleshooting Page for help.

DISCLAIMER:  With all that being said, if you somehow manage to mess things up, I take no responsibility for any issues that you cause for yourself! If you are brave enough to read on, you'll see how easy this actually is. The reality is that PowerSDR is so forgiving that it will start up and display an interface even if your selected skin has an empty Console folder! It will be ugly, but just like those "People of Walmart" photos that get passed around, PowerSDR doesn't really care how you dress it up. What the heck, it's ham radio! You're supposed to experiment and have fun! It's my hope that someone with more artistic skill and creativity than I have will take what is here and make some beautiful Flex skins to share with the entire Flex community. If you come up with something great, I'd love to see it. If you have some ideas to share, feel free to contact me. If you would like Flex to use any of these skins in future releases, tell them! They are welcome to anything that is here.

VERSION COMPATIBILITY NOTE:  All the skins in the Download Section of the page have been updated to be compatible with all PowerSDR 2.x.x versions including the 2.4.4 and later releases. They should work fine with any equipment that can run these versions of PowerSDR. I have tested all of the skins and templates with two different installations here and they work perfectly. According to Google Analytics thousands of visitors have downloaded skins and components from this page and while there have been hundreds of positive comments, there have been no reports of any issues. The short story is that if you have compatibility concerns, download one and give it a run, nothing bad will happen! If you already have one of my older custom skins installed, or you have one that you created yourself, to add the VAC1 and VAC2 functions that were added in PowerSDR version 2.3.5 to the PowerSDR display you can simply grab a button upgrade pack from the PowerSDR skins tutorial page and unzip it into your skin's console directory. You can also update any of my custom skins by grabbing the full skin pack from the bottom of the page and unzipping it right over the old skin you previously installed.

As a final note about compatibility, I have received email from several HPSDR and PowerSDR-IQ users who have found that these skins work fine with their modified versions of PowerSDR. You are on your own as far as locating the Skins folder for these version, but it shouldn't be hard to run a search and figure out where things go. At times there may be additional buttons needed for these special versions of PowerSDR but users have created what they needed and made it work. So, those users who tinker with the HPSDR platform, along with PowerSDR-IQ homebrewers and Apache Labs owners are welcome to use whatever is on my pages.

I would love to see any creations anyone comes up with on their own and if you have any feedback for me regarding the skins or the component templates, feel free to contact me at the email address below.

Thanks, Rob W1AEX


A Few Random Thoughts

The ability to load a variety of colorful skins in the 2.X versions of PowerSDR was a big step forward in the "looks" department for the Flex GUI. From the architecture of the interface software, it's pretty obvious that the Flex Corporation has made a very serious effort to lead the pack in the fun department for its owners. The short story is that with simple graphics/photo editing software you can have a field day creating your own look for PowerSDR. If you have a digital camera, you can really get carried away and create some very unique skins for your Flex Radio. Over the past year I have collected front panel shots of radios that I own and have begged my friends for pictures of their rigs to grab colors and metal textures that I could use in various consoles. I now have a much higher respect for photographers and their equipment after attempting to get shots that were true to the actual color and textures of the equipment that I was photographing. Shadows and glare were a real issue at times, but some of them came out pretty nice, and others look like mud according to my wife. Ah well, it's only art!

Free PowerSDR Skins for Download

Follow the installation instructions to install any of the skin packs from below. Each pack contains approximately 400 custom graphic files including all the console panels, buttons, and sliders. Feel free to modify them as you wish. After installing a skin, you can easily change to lighter or darker sliders by downloading the Gradient Slider Packs from the PowerSDR Skins Tutorial page and unzipping them so they overwrite the sliders that are in the skin packs below. You can do the same thing with all the Button Packs as well. Mixing, matching, and modifying these skins to suit yourself is half the fun! The Collins and National skins with logos in the lower left corner of the console will only display the logo correctly when PowerSDR is displayed at somewhere between the minimum and maximum size. When PowerSDR is expanded in size on your desktop, the console panel graphic stretches but the embedded text does not change in size. This causes the position of the logo to collide with the embedded Date-Clock or the RX/TX Antenna text that is layered onto the console. If you find it annoying, simply edit the Console.png file by selecting the logo and then copy and paste it to a position that allows it to display correctly when PowerSDR is sized the way you like to run it. Some trial and error will be necessary, but you'll find the right spot eventually. As an alternative, simply copy and then paste a section of the console right over the logo to eliminate it entirely. Another alternative is to copy and paste the logo into the PicDisplay.png file, which forms the background of the panadapter. The upper left and upper right areas of the panadapter offer an unobstructed area you can work with. As long as you're having fun, you are free to modify, share, or do whatever you wish with any of the skins from here.  

NOTE about the High Visual Skin:  The first skin is a spin-off from some ideas suggested by several people during a discussion about making a PowerSDR interface that resembles the Star Trek LCARS (Library Computer Access Retrieval System) interface visible in many scenes of various Star Trek programs and movies. While using some ideas for accomplishing this task, several people commented that the simplified black console and the high contrast buttons in the base interface were very easy on the eyes. I have worked on custom PowerSDR skins for a few hams who have vision impairments and a high contrast GUI sometimes makes it easier for them to confirm settings at a glance. At any rate, the first skin is offered as a possible first step in making PowerSDR a little more visually friendly for those who have impaired vision. As always, if you have suggestions for improvements with this project, email me and I'll be glad to try things out to make this skin better. Note that the pale-yellow frequency and meter displays are controlled by settings within PowerSDR and are not something that can be adjusted in the graphics of the skins. There is an explanation at the bottom of this page about how to change the appearance of these data fields.

W1AEX High Visual Skin


W1AEX "Sorta Looks Like A Tektronix Scope Skin"
Download W1AEX Tektronix 465 Skin
View a video of this skin on YouTube

W1AEX SmartSDR version of PowerSDR for those still clinging to their Flex1500/3000/5000
Download W1AEX SmartSDR Skin for PowerSDR

W1AEX SmartSDR II version of PowerSDR for those still clinging to their Flex1500/3000/5000
smartsdr II
Download W1AEX SmartSDR 2 Skin for PowerSDR

W1AEX Heathkit Apache TX-1 Skin for those who still love the look of Heathkit green
Download W1AEX Heathkit Apache TX-1

W1AEX Wood Skin
Download W1AEX Wood Skin

W1AEX Kenwood TS-520 Skin based upon my first SSB rig back in the 70's
Download W1AEX Kenwood TS-520 skin

W1AEX Heavy Metal Skin using layered metal surfaces made with Photoshop - new sliders installed
Download W1AEX Heavy Metal Skin

W1AEX Dark Metal Skin using layered metal surfaces made with Photoshop - new sliders installed
Download W1AEX Dark Metal Skin

W1AEX Marble Surface Skin
Download W1AEX Marble Surface Skin

W1AEX Collins 32V Skin - A collaborative effort with Mike W8BAC
You can view this skin on YouTube during an early test (720p HD)

Download W1AEX Collins 32V Skin

W1AEX Black Wrinkle Skin
Download W1AEX Black Wrinkle Skin

W1AEX Mesh Dark
Download W1AEX Mesh Dark Skin

W1AEX Mesh Medium
Download W1AEX Mesh Medium Skin

W1AEX Mesh Light
Download W1AEX Mesh Light Skin

W1AEX TS-590S Skin
Download W1AEX TS-590S Skin

W1AEX Dentron Skin inspired by my old Dentron DTR-3KA
Download W1AEX Dentron Skin

W1AEX Tactical
Download W1AEX Tactical Skin

W1AEX NC-155 Based upon K3SQP's National NC-155
Download W1AEX National NC-155 Skin

W1AEX Collins Winged Emblem Skin
Download W1AEX Collins Skin

W1AEX Central Electronics 100V based upon K2WS Alan's beautiful rig. This skin actually looks
quite a bit better when expanded to a much larger size than it appears in this picture. I'd like to do
much more with this project so any thoughts on ways to improve this one are more than welcome!
Download W1AEX Central Electronics 100V Simple Skin

W1AEX Central Electronics 100V Replica Skin based upon K2WS Alan's restored rig. This one
might be a little more fun than the simple skin above. The panadapter is turned off in the image
below, but is still very easy to read when displayed with the CE-100V sitting behind it. Note that
the image of the CE-100V will distort when PowerSDR is displayed at some screen sizes. That is
unfortunately unavoidable due to the way the PicDisplay.png graphic is stretched when re-sized.
Download W1AEX Central Electronics 100V Replica

W1AEX Big Tube Flex with a Quad of 833's

Download W1AEX 833 Quad Skin

W1AEX Star Trek LCARS Skin (Might seem hideous to anyone other than a Trekkie)
Download W1AEX LCARS Skin

NOTE:  Several people have asked me about the different color VFO A/B, Band Data, Signal Strength Digital Data, and Meter backgrounds that are seen in the skins pictured in the Download section. Those changes are not part of the skins editing project. The settings are user adjustable in the PowerSDR "Appearance" tab by altering the "Red-Green-Blue" values within the "More Colors" interface as shown in the picture below. The pictures of the four meters down below show the RGB values I arrived at for use with different skins. Keep in mind that when you change the RGB values the altered display colors will appear in all your skins, not just the one that you were using at the time you changed the values. Note also that it was necessary to change the display text for each field to black for best viewing with the lighter background colors. You might wish to export your database before making any changes so that you can revert to the stock display colors easily. To alter all the fields, adjust the following components: 

VFO - Background
Band Data - Out of Band and Background
Meter - Digital Background and Edge Style Background.

With the "edge style" meter it's also necessary to alter the "Low Color", High Color, and "Indicator" to values that contrast well with whatever background you choose to use. My goal was to find values that would  imitate what a back-lit display might look like in some of the vintage skins. Keep in mind that I am fairly color-blind, so you can probably do a much better job! Thanks to Kevin WB4AIO for pointing out this aspect of PowerSDR to me!

Simply alter the Red-Green-Blue values that are in the lower right corner of the "Color" panel


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