A Very General Guide to using the RTL Dongles as SDR Recievers

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A Very General Guide to using the RTL Dongles as SDR Recievers

Post  ka9mot on Tue Mar 11, 2014 3:38 pm

I posted this on DA ZED and DA Island so, I thought I'd share it here as well....

I answered another hams questions tonight about using the RTL USB Reciever. I thought I'd share that information with the rest of my Ham friends. Copied and Pasted from the email I sent hence the color/font difference. I hope this helps you get started.

Let's start with the basics:


1. The "Dongle" is based on the RTL (Realtek) 2832U chipset and a couple of tuners are used. On the latest models that is the R820T chip.


2. Stock, <--- did you notice I said "Stock? More on that later. Stock, the Dongle is capable of 24 MHz (+/- a few) up to around 1.8 GHz.


3. It can do anything, any other receiver can do with these frequency specifications.... Meaning Ham, Public Service, HAMSAT, Weather SATs, FM Radio, Digital Modes. Anything! You can use it as a scanner, regular receiver, Panadapter, Spectrum Scope, what ever you choose.


4. There are some software options depending on what you want to do and your operating system. The 2 most popular are SDR# (Pronounced SDR Sharp)http://sdrsharp.com/, and my favorite, HDSDR (http://www.hdsdr.de/). SDR Console (http://v2.sdr-radio.com/Home.aspx) is gaining some popularity but is not free and for Android we have SDR Touch...again, paid for, but well worth the $10. I only have experience with the software that is available for Windows and Android.


5. The driver is easy to find and easy to Install. Windows' native driver will not work. Here is the link---> http://zadig.akeo.ie/.


6. These can be used on HF, 100 Hz - at least 6M (I haven't tested above that) by using an upconverter or by modifying the dongle (remember I said "Stock"). Upconverters are cheap, work well, but are noisy and the math (software set-up) is a hassle. Modifying the Dongle is extra cheap, not a major project, but not something you'd want your kid to try (It takes me 4 to 5 hours to mod one, but I am old and slow). These Dongles use SMD Technology, most of the work is done under a magnifying glass and you have to wind a transformer. I usually have at least 2 modified Dongles in the shack.


A great place to get info is: http://www.hamradioscience.com/category/sdr-radio/


Also check: http://www.youtube.com/results?searc...%20R820T&sm=12. There are a ton of great videos there.

I hope you find it interesting.

ka9mot
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