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Amazing and cheap SDR receiver.

Discussion in 'General Ham Radio Discussion' started by Captain Kilowatt, Apr 11, 2013.

  1. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    The credit, or blame, has to go to Warren VO1KS for telling me about this great little SDR receiver. The RTL SDR dongle is a complete wideband receiver covering 25MHz to 2 GHz with no gaps. It simply plugs into a USB port and with some free software and a few head banging sessions it works great. No seriously, the installation was not THAT hard but does require a little work. You need to download three dll files and paste them into the SDR directory after you install the free software, download another program to allow you to replace a driver, and press the right buttons to get started but after that it is a snap. The receiver is available on Ebay for less than $20 and comes with a cheap little 800MHz antenna. For now I just cut the antenna off and wired the end to a BNC to allow connection to a real antenna. The antenna input to the dongle is a tiny little MCX connector. I spent most of today just playing with it listening to some ham repeaters, aircraft comms, fire departments, and some misc. 800MHz stuff just for starters. It works very well on the FM broadcast band and I even heard some 10/11m DX. It is multimode with AM/FM-narrow/FM-wide/USB/LSB/DSB/CW/and a few ECSS AM modes.



    Newsky TV28T v2 USB DVB-T & RTL-SDR Receiver, RTL2832U & R820T Tuner, MCX Input | eBay


    Also available from the same vendor is an RF upconverter to allow the reception of the entire HF spectrum when used in conjunction with the VHF dongle. I ordered it today.

    Ham It Up v1.0 - RF Upconverter For SDR (Funcube, RTLSDR); MF/HF Converter E4000 | eBay

    I also ordered some cables and connectors to allow me to wire everything up into a nice single enclosure to sit alongside the computer.

    20in SMA Male Plug to MCX Right Angle Male Jumper Pigtail RG316 Cable | eBay

    6in SMA Male Plug to SMA Male RG316 D Double Shield Jumper Pigtail Cable | eBay

    N Female Jack with Nut to SMA Female Straight Connector Adapter | eBay


    I ordered a couple extra of those SMA-N chassis connectors just to have on hand and because the price was right.I also ordered an extra cable of each type for the same reason. Lots of fun so far and can`t wait until the HF converter arrives.Here is a screenshot of what the main screen looks like.


    [​IMG]
     
    Shadetree Mechanic and 2RT307 like this.

  2. FatHam

    FatHam Well-Known Member
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    I'm going to order one as long as this isn't what crashed your laptop :whistle:

    PS: You weren't alone. I buried TWO laptops last week!
     
  3. Mudfoot

    Mudfoot Elmer

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    These are pretty cool. I ordered one as well. I didn't look yet, but would be darned handy if it ran on Android.
     
  4. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Nahhhh....laptop crashed before the SDR arrived. It was getting really slow to boot up so I think it has had issues developing for a while. One thing I did notice, and it could just be something I did, but i can't boot the laptop with the SDR plugged into the USB port. I see the splash screen and then just a cursor in the top left. Freaked me out the first time it happened as that is what happened when I lost the HDD. I simply removed the SDR and all booted fine. Probably shouldn't keep it stuck in the side all the time anyway unless you use a short USB/USB cable.
     
  5. Robb

    Robb Yup

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    SDR stuff - is a blast!

    Nice find!
     
  6. Lil'Yeshua

    Lil'Yeshua .......

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    .
     
    #6 Lil'Yeshua, Apr 12, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  7. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    Pretty sure it does not,Windows based systems only. The software you need is here. Top right corner Preview 10 build 1315 or later. Download is about 32 Mb.

    Technology previews, just something for the weekend...
     
  8. camaro1

    camaro1 Well-Known Member

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    Google it!!
     
  9. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    SDR= Software Defined Radio. The entire radio operation from tuning to mode selection to filtering is all determined by software and implemented by a user interface. No knobs to twist or switches to flip or any other physical contact required other than a mouse and keyboard. The digital processing of filters etc is quite impressive.
     
  10. Craig

    Craig Member

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    Very nice just ordered one off Amazon with the optional BNC adapter.
     
  11. Mudfoot

    Mudfoot Elmer

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    Link?
     
  12. Qwazyone

    Qwazyone Active Member

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  13. Lil'Yeshua

    Lil'Yeshua .......

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  14. Captain Kilowatt

    Captain Kilowatt Professional Amateur
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    There are various dongles out there with slightly different frequency ranges so check before you buy. Also there are a few different pieces of software as well so whatever floats your boat so to say.The link above seems to be for SDR Sharp whereas the software I use is SDR Console. SDR Console appears a bit more involved but allows more functions. I like click to record function. Just click a button and you can record sound files.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. wavrider

    wavrider W9WDX Amateur Radio Club Member

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    Looking at the screen shots you posted CK this could be a digital field strength meter if using a laptop.
     

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