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Wide Band SDR For Ham Radio and Digital Over-the-Air TV?

Discussion in 'Software Defined Radio (SDR)' started by WV0VW, May 22, 2020.

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  1. WV0VW

    WV0VW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi All,

    I'd like to be able to watch and record over the air digital TV (which has nothing to do with ham radio). I might buy this Digital TV USB dongle thing for $100. (I don't see any indication on the internet that anyone's ever used for anything other than watching or recording TV.)

    Is there something like RTL-SDR, but with wider bandwidth that would work for ham radio stuff and Digital TV? (I understand it might cost more than $25 or even more than $100).

    Thanks Everybody,
    Dan (wv0vw)
  2. KX4AZ

    KX4AZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have the Hauppauge USB tuner stick, it works fine to over the air TV signals. I am not aware of any use other than HDTV though. The RTL-SDR dongles are fantastic devices, but I (too) am only aware of them being used for DVB-T signal reception, in addition to the ham radio stuff. The SDRPlay devices do have a bandwidth of up to 10 MHz, but are not readily used for recording ATSC TV signals. It can be done, but requires an arduous process to record a giant file and then process it through a GNU radio sequence that is way beyond my abilities. If you are just looking to record over the air TV I'd go with one of the cheap ($30) DVRs for sale on Amazon (Mediasonic HW130STB, for example).

    But yeah, it would be nice of there were another cheap SDR that could do TV signal recording AND ham radio stuff. I'll keep an eye on this thread too, should there be one out there that I am not aware of.
  3. W6RZ

    W6RZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's possible, but not trivial. The only current solution is GNU Radio. For best results, it requires a pretty hefty CPU (I'm running an E5-1650 with 6 cores). Although you can run GNU Radio on Windows and Mac, I strongly suggest using Linux. Here's what the flow graph looks like.


    Some capable SDR's.
  4. W6RZ

    W6RZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here's what it looks like in action. I don't have an outdoor antenna, so I'm using another SDR as an ATSC transmitter. It's transmitting on 3429 MHz to a workstation in another room of my house. I'm remotely logged on to that computer and the ATSC receiver is running on that. It's sending the decoded bitstream over UDP back to the local host and I'm using VLC to display the content (in real-time).

    I tried to record a video, but I don't have enough horsepower on the local host to encode, transmit ATSC and run VLC at the same time.

    K3RLD likes this.
  5. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I'd like receive digital tv through a sdr as well, anyone know where to get the digital tv software for a rtl-sdr, or is that somewhere in the gnu radio repositry
  6. WV0VW

    WV0VW Ham Member QRZ Page

    Okay, all interesting to know. Those capable SDRs look fun and interesting, but too much money for me right now.
  7. WA7F

    WA7F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think you would be best off keeping the two systems separate. Features that are good for OTA are not necessarily what you need for amateur radio.

    At a past QTH in the mountains I set up a fringe reception (~70 miles) OTA receiver. The QTH was at 5600’ and the TX was at about 400’ elevation. The signal was almost line of sight coming up a narrow canyon. Tried a few different iterations and landed on two horizontally stacked 8 bay antennas with a preamp on the mast. The receiver was a Silicon Dust HD Homerun. I also tried the built-in OTA tuner in the TV and best Hauppauge that was available at the time. The only receiver that could cope with the multi path was the HD Homerun. The Hauppauge Dongle was a major disappointment.

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