No RTL-SDR topics on the 'zed'?

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KA7O, May 4, 2012.

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  1. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

  2. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    This thing speak windows?
    If it does I want one.
    Or more.
  3. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yes - it will work with HDSDR (and others) on Windows. But some of the 'way cool' stuff requires GNUradio (such as the P-25 stuff).

    Follow the instruction here:

    Now, for some background. This dongle is made and marketed as a DVB-T receiver.
    "DVB-T is an abbreviation for Digital Video Broadcasting — Terrestrial; it is the DVB European-based consortium standard for the broadcast transmission of digital terrestrial television" - Wikipedia.

    Since we don't use DVB-T in North America, it is NOT marketed here. You have to get one of these from somebody that will export to the US. Most have been getting theirs out of Hong Kong. If you'll still deal with eBay, do a search for "RTL2832U" and you'll likely find a few sellers. You can also get them via and other places.

    BUT! Buyer beware. They are NOT advertised, marketed nor designed for this use. Sellers have noticed the 'spike' in sales to a new market and not only are prices are going up, but there are dongles being sold that will NOT work. I know I've been 'stuck' with one - but for a $17.00 bet, I didn't loose too much.

    To work as we'd like, it MUST have the Realtek 2832U chip. It's well worth your effort to read up on this BEFORE placing an order. FWIW, that 2832 U chip is the same one used in the FunCube dongle.

    Here's a link to a Screenshot of HDR running on my old HP laptop using a 'Newsky' dongle. Took me about 5 minutes to get this all up and going from scratch. This is using the dinky 'antenna' that came with the dongle, in the basement of my house. It seems to have about the same sensitivity as a TH-79A(d) I have here listening to the same NOAA weather station.
    Last edited: May 4, 2012
  4. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    A Youtube Video Demonstration of HDSDR. This is not using the DVB-T dongle. But does give a good idea of what we're talking about here.

    The SDR used in this video is from Ettus Research. The rtl-sdr has similar - but not the same - kind of performance.
  5. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    WOW! That is the best demonstration of the RF spectrum and signal analysis I've ever seen by an amateur. And the software is spectacular.

    This is the direction of SDR Shortwave Listening, no doubt about it. :)
  6. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Dupe, slow server.
  7. K4NYA

    K4NYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    There's also a Reddit group dedicated to RTL-SDR:

    I ordered one of these dongles off eBay. Still waiting for it to arrive.
  8. W9GB

    W9GB Ham Member QRZ Page

  9. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Saw that comparison - need to look at it closer. Rough take is they are different, but in some ways perform comparably.

    VERY much worth taking a good look!

    This is a very good way to 'dip a toe' into the SDR waters, learn a bunch and then when it's time to go all in, order up one of the Ettus boxes, a FLEX rig or one of the other 'real' toys. Even at a 'mere' $200.00 (aprox), the FunCube is well worth the dosh. Still, $200 > $25.

    Just ordered up 'more than a few' of the dongles. Gotta hamfest come'n up soon. May be some unique door prizes <g>
  10. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    So what's the biggest bang for the buck hardware right now, and what software for general scanner/satcomms use?
  11. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    One of these Realtek / Elonics based DVB-T dongles and the free software of your choice.

    But, if you want the absolute best performance - that's a debatable subject. The Winradio WR-G39DDCe is a pretty slick piece of kit. A friend of mine bought one recentl, and wow - does it ever perform!!

    And do not discount the USRP rigs from Ettus research either.
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  12. EA4TA

    EA4TA Guest

    Don't forget the OsmoSDR hardware, in prototype state right now.

    I have the rtl-sdr since it was only 9$. And have been leaning GNU radio since then.

    It has a steep learning curve, but is highly educative and fun.
  13. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    And just to be complete, don't forget the HPSDR (High Power SDR) Project, which is open source software/hardware, that has been ongoing for about six years. Software is a customized version of Power SDR.
    TAPR sells the components/kits

    Project overview and status presented at the Fall 2011 ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference; 52 minutes


    p.s. There will be an HPSDR Forum at Dayton!
    Last edited: May 5, 2012
  14. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Anyone know the minimum sys specs to run hdsdr and one of the rtl dongles?
  15. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    "The Minimum"? Nope - not for sure. But, I'm using one of these, Windows XP and an older HP nx7400 series laptop running HDSDR with no problem at all.

    I just followed these instructions and was listening in minutes.

    And YES!! SDR isn't 'new' any longer and there are more than a few excellent projects and opportunities. Thanks for listing a few! They all look way good. For me, it's been the cost of the hardware that's been a hinderance (not a show stopper, just being careful) and there's no doubt that this dongle has encouraged me to look even closer and start saving away for a 'real' SDR setup.

    If this RTL-SDR 'fad' can get some more action and foster even more development - so much the better for us all. Plus, it's small enough to carry at work and 'show off' when opportunites present.
  16. KB4QAA

    KB4QAA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Three years ago this was a subject of extended discussion on the HPSDR reflector, and the conclusion was that any of the (then new) two core multiprocessor CPU chips were more than adequate to run the Power SDR software. This meant that that even a $200 'system on a board' computers like Atom were more than adequate. Computing power is not the limiting factor in SDR, either in price or speed.
  17. N3BAH

    N3BAH Ham Member QRZ Page

    No SWL w/o transverter

    These devices only cover 64 MHz-1700 MHz, so SWL is out. Some users have used a transverter to get below 64 MHz however.
  18. KA7O

    KA7O Ham Member QRZ Page

    Yea, I don't see these as a 'application specific' product either. But rather, an entry way into SDR (a "gateway device" if you will). These dongles aren't the best choice for SWL - but as a 'try before you buy', oh yea.

    So far I have HDSDR and WRplus working - still climbing the learning curve on Gnuradio - what you get with power, I guess. Also, the use of a USB extension cable to move the dongle away from the laptop does help clean things up. Bit of an eye opener to see just what all is 'out there' in the living room.
  19. EA4TA

    EA4TA Guest

    I am thinking about buying a discone and a 10 meters USB extension cable.

    The Skymaster Destop 1300 scores high in coolness factor.

  20. N0SYA

    N0SYA Ham Member QRZ Page

    And it will probably be some time (if ever) before a $25 usb device will have the dynamic range needed for worthwhile hf use anyway.
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