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Author Topic: DVB-T Stick as SDR  (Read 112346 times)
KA4POL
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Posts: 1965




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« Reply #135 on: March 13, 2014, 10:26:43 PM »

20 bucks is much less waste of money than 800. I've seen a guy who was not able to manage his high end SDR, Most of the time it is a tiny problem that can be resolved. Actually this is what this forum is about. State your problem and very often someone will be found to help.
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K4AX
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Posts: 33




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« Reply #136 on: March 16, 2014, 11:13:40 AM »

This has not been my experience at all, run the drivers, install the software, plug the stick in, turn the gain up, hit start and it generally works.  I've installed them on many windows 7 machines at this point. Plug and play? In my opinion it is.   

A Total waste of money is what all of these USB SDR so called receivers are.

 All the USB SDR packages suck, they typically cannot find the dongles especially if you are using win 7 or win 8.

 Don't waste your money they are to frustrating and certainly not plug and play, if you want to spend, no waste,  weekends trying to get the software to find the dongle, and I tried all of the software packages, then fine waste your money on this junk.

If you value your time then buy a bigger name SDR with discrete IQ outputs to a sound card I have never had a problem with the older models such as softrocks but stay away from these USB dongle nightmares. 
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G7MRV
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« Reply #137 on: March 19, 2014, 07:02:20 AM »

A Total waste of money is what all of these USB SDR so called receivers are.

 All the USB SDR packages suck, they typically cannot find the dongles especially if you are using win 7 or win 8.

 Don't waste your money they are to frustrating and certainly not plug and play, if you want to spend, no waste,  weekends trying to get the software to find the dongle, and I tried all of the software packages, then fine waste your money on this junk.

If you value your time then buy a bigger name SDR with discrete IQ outputs to a sound card I have never had a problem with the older models such as softrocks but stay away from these USB dongle nightmares. 

I think you may be in a minority with that opinion!

I have two of these cheap dongles. Both work fine, so long as you take into account the lack of front end filtering and the limited dynamic range. I use mine for ADS-B, ACARS, POCSAG, UHF airband scanning, and all manner of other tricks. I have also set three other people (both non-hams but ex-radio technicians, or studio engineers) up with them with no problems.

The problems people have with these are usually down to a lack of research. I initially had troubles, all of which were due to me not reading up on them enough!

I also had NO problems installing them with Win 7. But the driver windows find is NOT the correct driver (again, well documented!)

Of course they wont compete with a multi-hundred dollar device, but for what they cost they are quite amazing.

As for them being just 'toys' - this is a hobby - spend what you want, £10 or £10,000 all your buying is your own 'toys'! If you need to spend thousands to have fun, thats your own choice!
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KD7RDZI2
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Posts: 66




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« Reply #138 on: March 19, 2014, 10:47:03 AM »

A Total waste of money is what all of these USB SDR so called receivers are.

 All the USB SDR packages suck, they typically cannot find the dongles especially if you are using win 7 or win 8.

 Don't waste your money they are to frustrating and certainly not plug and play, if you want to spend, no waste,  weekends trying to get the software to find the dongle, and I tried all of the software packages, then fine waste your money on this junk.

If you value your time then buy a bigger name SDR with discrete IQ outputs to a sound card I have never had a problem with the older models such as softrocks but stay away from these USB dongle nightmares. 

The USB dongles are the easiest to use. They are supported by the excellent SDRSharp. The Softrocks receivers are mainly for HF, the USB dongles mainly for above the HF. The USB dongle works very well under linux too. Not that easy the softrock. Not to say the softrock transceivers... a real nightmare to TX!!!!
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N5INP
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« Reply #139 on: March 19, 2014, 04:10:23 PM »

A Total waste of money is what all of these USB SDR so called receivers are.

Ridiculous.

I use a cheap USB dongle every single day with HDSDR DXing and I wouldn't want to be without it. It works very well and is certainly not a waste of money.  Roll Eyes
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G7MRV
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« Reply #140 on: March 20, 2014, 04:16:38 AM »


A Total waste of money is what all of these USB SDR so called receivers are.

Heres a thought for you - How much did you spend on snacks last time you went to a hamfest? My bet is it was far higher than the cost of one of these, and what you bought was far less healthy than if you'd taken your own snacks from home?

Heres what I did - I like a good cooked breakfast from my works canteen - about £3. I didnt have that two days in a row, and bought a RTL USB stick!

An im very surprised by what these things can do and be used for. They are a lot of fun, a very easy way to have a go at SDR and see if you like it
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K2NCC
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« Reply #141 on: March 21, 2014, 07:14:19 PM »

An im very surprised by what these things can do and be used for. They are a lot of fun, a very easy way to have a go at SDR and see if you like it

No doubt!  Sold all my HF gear recently and thought I'd try a couple RTL-SDRs for something to experiment with for a while.  Now, until something better comes along, they're a permanent fixture of my shack.

Turns out I can do more with a $20 tv-tuner than I could with a $2000 Flex3000 SDR.  Granted, I can't TX, but more of a listener anyway.  I also don't get the quality of signal as I would from a more expensive rig, but the trade-offs are worth it if you hardly hear your radio anyway.

I never had 2M SSB (etc) but I do now.  I was once so impressed with the Flex huge waterfall, but now that's a sliver.  Back way out and voice looks like a JT9 signal so much fits on there.  I can now listen to six slices of RF across 3MHz.  Only 2 within a 100KHz slice on the Flex.

All thanks to a cheap device and some really really really smart people who share their skills.  Often for no cost to the user.

Check out some of the recent fun I've had with my dongle.  (which sounds bad out-of-context!)
http://www.youtube.com/user/k2nccvids/videos

If you're into amateur radio and haven't bought one of these yet (i recommend NooElec), you should try one out for a few days at least.  Worth the 20 bucks for what you'll learn and experience.


vy 73, de frank in Oregon, k2ncc
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Vy 73, de Frank K2NCC
KI6LZ
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Posts: 579




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« Reply #142 on: March 21, 2014, 08:15:41 PM »

Maybe I missed something. I have a Funcube that I use for spectrum display of FT-1000 IF output. But I can only get about 192 KHz max spectrum using USB 2. I would love to see 1 or 3 Mhz for other uses, what am I missing?

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K2NCC
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« Reply #143 on: March 21, 2014, 09:23:39 PM »

I have a Funcube that I use for spectrum display of FT-1000 IF output. But I can only get about 192 KHz... what am I missing?

I'm not familiar w/the Funcube, but the specs page say the max you can see is what you are.
http://www.funcubedongle.com/?page_id=1201
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Vy 73, de Frank K2NCC
WB8VLC
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Posts: 119




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« Reply #144 on: March 25, 2014, 11:22:04 PM »

ok i'll admit that for 10 to 20 bucks they are ok to experiment with but for serious receiving they are only so so unless you have lots of time to experiment.

 But again the low price is the selling point and the potential to add your own external hardware to improve performance is another plus if you have the time.

The biggest negative for me was that you can't use them near any transmitter unless you add a bank of switched band pass filters which is what I do just to listen to 2 local PD's, one running DMR and the other NXDN96, but the price for mine being free was the reason why I have one.

And I'll admit that the software is free and they are certainly better than a uniden scanner at several digital demod schemes and at trunking but be prepared to spend a lot of time compiling code and experimenting with the numerous settings in the various plugin screens. 

If you can get past the frustrations of setting up all the numerous plugins, which are required to do the more interesting digital demodulation and trucking, then you actually may learn something but for me it was the darn frustration of getting the dongles working on one pc while it failed outright on another and the constant software tweaking of the plugins but of course it is free.
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K2NCC
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« Reply #145 on: March 25, 2014, 11:46:26 PM »

If you can get past the frustrations of setting up all the numerous plugins... then you actually may learn something but for me it was the darn frustration... and the constant software tweaking of the plugins...

The setup and use of all these great tools is more fun than any conversation I've had in amateur radio.  Once it's all up and running, the fun part is about over!

Most of the places I listen I can't transmit anyway.

"Appliance operators" are often looked down upon and underestimated.  Next time someone that only likes to PTT or click a couple pieces of metal together gives me a hard time, I'll just hand them an RTL-SDR dongle and see what they can do with it. Cool


Oh, while I'm here... this is what I'm doing at the moment....

(be sure to check out my YOUTUBE page for dozens of samples)

« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 11:49:41 PM by K2NCC » Logged

Vy 73, de Frank K2NCC
CHRISTOFERO
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #146 on: April 21, 2014, 10:16:25 PM »

I probably have at least seven or eight of them. I use them for all sorts of things. I have even been able to use one for GPS. The most flexible environment for them is Gnuradio where you basically build your radio application using a flowchart metaphor.

I have to admit I've put a huge amount of time into it but I've finally figured out I think how to get optimal performance out of them in a great many situations that had me frustrated at the beginning. And I've learned a hell of a lot about a great many aspects of radio, about antennas, about propagation, about various aspects of the sciences.

I HIGHLY recommend them as gifts, especially for people who like to tinker. I can't imagine a better inexpensive gift for a technically oriented person.

If a ham wants to change the world of ham radio and bring THOUSANDS of new hams into the hobby, all they need to do is build some hardware project that for maybe $125 takes a system that already consists of an RTLSDR and a ham it up upconverter to the next level and lets it transmit as a slightly more than QRP (20 watts would do it for digital modes) all band SDR. The transmit chain I think is simpler than the receive.

I think an up-converter could be used in reverse to transmit, right? Use the mixer/oscillator in the other direction, filter the output? All in all a huge learning experience and lots of fun too.
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CHRISTOFERO
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Posts: 23




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« Reply #147 on: May 04, 2014, 08:33:41 PM »

Hello,

If you have any problems with a USB SDR dongle you should visit the forum over at reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/RTLSDR.

The info you can find in the forum and wiki there should be able to give anybody all the info they need to have a great experience with them. And feel free to ask questions.

I have to say I have the complete opposite experience, I think my most recent USB dongle purchase - which cost a whopping $12, shipped, is hands down the best gadget deal I've ever found in my life, in terms of fun/value for money. The one I like is the white one with the IEC connector and the little curved row of ventilation holes. It has the flat SMT style crystal, which in my experience is slightly more stable.

The frequency is off by around 1.5 ppm. I can live with that, for the money.

I don't think they are all that accurate. I think I just lucked out on this one. (I have others that range up to 13ppm off)


Quote
A Total waste of money is what all of these USB SDR so called receivers are.
...  Don't waste your money they are to frustrating and certainly not plug and play, if you want to spend, no waste,  weekends trying to get the software to find the dongle, and I tried all of the software packages, then fine waste your money on this junk.

You probably were using it without a USB and some ferrites, and with the stock antenna.. People have to remember they are 8 bit SDRs, very susceptible to noise.   You need to use a USB extension to get it a bit of distance away from a PC, and its good to throw at least two ferrites on there , or more if possible.   Also, you need to use a better antenna, the antenna they come with may be connected with black wire but if you open that up you'll find a sorry, sorry ... 
Trust me on that.   

For VHF, here is a very good, almost instant broadband antenna you might even be able to use for transmitting in a pinch..

http://www.wa5vjb.com/references/PlanarDiskAntennas.pdf


But even if you can't make the dongle sing for you, keep it around for times when you need to listen to VHF/UHF for some reason.

A while ago we had a big storm here and it was really interesting to listen to the rescue operations all over the tri-state-area.

I'm using mine with an upconverter to listen to DX on 40 meters right now. It sounds great. I can hear all the weak signals, no problem.

One thing to get decent receive for HF, with an upconverter, I use a 9:1 "unun" - and make sure you have a good ground.

That makes all the difference.

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AC7CW
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Posts: 210




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« Reply #148 on: May 13, 2014, 07:14:28 PM »

I plugged my NooElec R820T into a Lenovo laptop with SDR#. Once I found the place in SDR# to turn up the RF gain everything was fine. Essentially it's plug and play. Can hear a half dozen FM stations with the little supplied antenna. I have a lot of surplus cable from Dish Network, Cox, etc.. can put a discone on the roof and see what I can find. Pretty much fun really. I hope nobody is offended that I'm have fun here.. NOT!

Reminds me of when I was a teenager in the middle of cycle 23. I had a regen rx, 50watt xtal transmitter, a bug and a dipole. People with expensive rigs were surprised that I could work the world. I had fun, it's a hobby, that's what hobby is about afaik Smiley
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KC9QLE
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #149 on: June 19, 2014, 08:13:34 AM »

HF SDR DIY Manual.

I've read through this thread and am very pleased to see how many have put this amazing RTL2832U dongle to good use.

For those who have been "frustrated" trying to get things working, I publish an eBook downloadable to your email.

The RTL SDR is amazing when used with HDSDR software. It has better filters and notch filtering then commercial rigs.
Amazing performance with CW Skimmer, EasyPal, PSKpal. Also does Olivia and other Digital Voice via software.

It works with any HF transceiver that has a "REC ANT" port, such as a KWM-2A or a Collins stand alone transmitter. I also use it with my Kenwood rigs. A fantastic Panadapter for <$20.

It is "PLUG N PLAY" if you have done the mod. and installed HDSDR.

No "up-convertor" please, they just add noise.

Google     HF SDR DIY





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