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Author Topic: DVB-T Stick as SDR  (Read 123855 times)
N3DT
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Posts: 556




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« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2012, 11:58:54 AM »

Yeah, the old Heathkit super regens on 6 and 2 were sort of effective with AM, but certainly left a lot to be desired.  I got a VX-7 from HRO years ago and was so disappointed with the image problems I took it back.  But we're not talking $300 here.  There were digital spurs all over the ham bands and strong too.  I actually measured the image rejection and it was like 30db, not within spec.

Dynamic range, I take it you mean it overloads easily and then get a lot of extraneous signals?  I live in the boonies, so there's not much in the way of strong signals here.  But it's probably not very sensitive either and adding a pre-amp would probably overload it and make the DR worse.
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KA4POL
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Posts: 2027




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« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2012, 09:44:23 PM »

I started this thread with experimenting in mind. If you want the perfect SDR you can select from expensive ready made units on the market. That's experimenting using your wallet.
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2012, 02:59:24 AM »

I started this thread with experimenting in mind. If you want the perfect SDR you can select from expensive ready made units on the market. That's experimenting using your wallet.

That's OK if you are into wasting your time playing with silly toys or *maybe as a first introduction to SDR.   There are many other options out there to experiment with, such as the SoftRock Ensemble or the UHFSDR, that are much higher performance than these silly DVB-T dongles.  And they are not expensive.

Gene

*maybe, because it will turn some off to SDR when they see how bad the DVB-T performance is when compared to even a conventional analog receiver.
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KA4POL
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Posts: 2027




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« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2012, 03:35:21 AM »

Your destructive comments are really not helpful at all. If you want to be pessimistic, return your license.
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2012, 03:41:55 AM »

Your destructive comments are really not helpful at all. If you want to be pessimistic, return your license.

It has nothing to do with being pessimistic.  Encouraging people to buy into these DVB-T dongles and use them as a SDR is not doing anyone a favor.  These were made for decoding digital television where there is no need for great dynamic range. Using them as a general purpose SDR is another story.  You just don't like opposing opinions backed up with fact.

I gave other much better examples of simple SDRs to experiment with, so your comment about being destructive is also not true.

Gene
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K9AQ
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Posts: 55




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« Reply #20 on: December 22, 2012, 07:15:00 AM »

I can speak from experience that the DVB-T stick works very well on HF SSB.  I am using an upconverter from Opendous, which can be purchased through Amazon or Ebay.  Look up "ham it up" converter.  I am using HDSDR software and linked it with HRD using DDE.  This only allows the SDR to track my Kenwood TS-480 so that can compare the sensitivity of the DVB-T/upconverter versus my Kenwood. (HDSDR also supports a CAT interface to HRD, but I haven't set this up yet.)

It works!  I won't use it as my primary receiver but for a second receiver to provide a panadapter display it works very well.  It is a real pleasure to be able to quickly see if a band is open and to visually see the activity on the band.   As I am writing this, I am listening to a DX station on 15 meters that doesn't register on my TS-480 S-meter but I can still hear him on the DVB-T.  If I can comfortably hear a station on the TS-480 I can also hear it on the DVB-T.

For a total investment of less than $100, with the upconverter, this is much more than a "toy"!  Don't let the negative postings from hams that have no real experience with the DVB-T discourage you from experimenting with it.

Don, K9AQ
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KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #21 on: December 22, 2012, 07:48:37 AM »

I can speak from experience that the DVB-T stick works very well on HF SSB.  I am using an upconverter from Opendous, which can be purchased through Amazon or Ebay.  Look up "ham it up" converter.  I am using HDSDR software and linked it with HRD using DDE.  This only allows the SDR to track my Kenwood TS-480 so that can compare the sensitivity of the DVB-T/upconverter versus my Kenwood. (HDSDR also supports a CAT interface to HRD, but I haven't set this up yet.)

It works!  I won't use it as my primary receiver but for a second receiver to provide a panadapter display it works very well.  It is a real pleasure to be able to quickly see if a band is open and to visually see the activity on the band.   As I am writing this, I am listening to a DX station on 15 meters that doesn't register on my TS-480 S-meter but I can still hear him on the DVB-T.  If I can comfortably hear a station on the TS-480 I can also hear it on the DVB-T.

For a total investment of less than $100, with the upconverter, this is much more than a "toy"!  Don't let the negative postings from hams that have no real experience with the DVB-T discourage you from experimenting with it.

Don, K9AQ

Yeah, the 48 dB theoretical dynamic range sure qualifies it to be more than a 'toy' alright.   Roll Eyes  Maybe compared to a very poor receiver it is better.  However, I doubt that those who consider this a serious SDR receiver even know what dynamic range is anyhow...

Gene
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KS4JU
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Posts: 18




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« Reply #22 on: December 22, 2012, 10:45:33 AM »

K9AQ, you are quite correct! I have been using a RTL2832U / Ham It Up coverter for HF reception also. It easily out does my more expensive commercial receivers. When it come to SDR, it isn't always about the numbers. Unfortunately, there are apparently folks that have no real clue about what they are talking about when it comes to RTL2832U devices or SDR for that matter. There are two components to consider, the hardware and the software. Often the software can make a bigger difference than the hardware. For under $100 you can put together a very nice HF receiver with a 2.5MHz spectrum display. It's almost embarrassing that such an inexpensive system can outperform receivers costing 6 time more.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2012, 10:48:38 AM by KS4JU » Logged
KE5JPP
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Posts: 0




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« Reply #23 on: December 22, 2012, 12:00:06 PM »

K9AQ, you are quite correct! I have been using a RTL2832U / Ham It Up coverter for HF reception also. It easily out does my more expensive commercial receivers. When it come to SDR, it isn't always about the numbers. Unfortunately, there are apparently folks that have no real clue about what they are talking about when it comes to RTL2832U devices or SDR for that matter. There are two components to consider, the hardware and the software. Often the software can make a bigger difference than the hardware. For under $100 you can put together a very nice HF receiver with a 2.5MHz spectrum display. It's almost embarrassing that such an inexpensive system can outperform receivers costing 6 time more.

You must have some real junky commercial receivers!  No, it is more like guys who think that the performance of these 8 bit DVB-T sticks is great have probably not used a real high performance SDR receiver before.   They are just dazzled by the pretty spectrum display.  Anyone with even a fundamental understanding of SDRs will know why 8 bits is hot going to get you high receive performance.

Gene
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KS4JU
Member

Posts: 18




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« Reply #24 on: December 22, 2012, 01:26:22 PM »

I think that most folks consider Yaesu HF receivers to be too junky and yes I have used a higher end SDR. The point is that it doesn't matter and the end of the day about the bits, just the results. What does matter is that at the end of the day for less than $100 you can get a pretty darn good HF SDR radio out of a RTL2832U and the Ham it Up HF converter (Opendous). I don't think anybody here was ever comparing the RTL2832U sticks to $800 SDR radios. However in my opinion a well set up RTL2832U / Ham it Converter offers a lot of bang for the buck.

Plus, the popularity of the $20 RTL2832U based SDR receivers have exploded over the past year. This has allowed a lot of people to experiment with SDR that may not have done so if it weren't for the cheap entry to the hobby. Hopefully, this will spur more interest in the hobby and some will move on to more sophisticated gear down the road. The other advantage of the RTL2832U sticks is that a lot of clever applications have been developed around them. Applications that we have not seen developed with the pretty much stagnated gear thats been around for several years for SDR. The RTL2832Us are now pretty well regarded as entry level ADSB receivers. There are other projects using the RTL2832U as AIS receivers, GSM receivers, GPS applications, Pocsag decoders, trunking receivers, and APO25 receivers. You can even couple a RTL2832U to a Raspberry Pi for a cheap ethernet SDR server. I understand that since the response to cheap SDR has been so hugely successful, that some vendors are working on higher quality devices. One vendor that I know of is currently working on a cheap SDR with a touchscreen interface. So in the long run the SDR hobby is getting a long needed "shot in the arm".

So, the discovery of the hacked RTL2832U SDR receiver has been a good thing, inspiring more innovation than we have seen in SDR in years. So, I would say to folks who are interested in the RTL2832U SDR to spend $20 bucks and learn more about SDR radio in general and look into all the interesting things you can do with a RTL2832U. Its good cheap radio fun!
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WD5GWY
Member

Posts: 403




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« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2012, 02:44:28 PM »

I can speak from experience that the DVB-T stick works very well on HF SSB.  I am using an upconverter from Opendous, which can be purchased through Amazon or Ebay.  Look up "ham it up" converter.  I am using HDSDR software and linked it with HRD using DDE.  This only allows the SDR to track my Kenwood TS-480 so that can compare the sensitivity of the DVB-T/upconverter versus my Kenwood. (HDSDR also supports a CAT interface to HRD, but I haven't set this up yet.)

It works!  I won't use it as my primary receiver but for a second receiver to provide a panadapter display it works very well.  It is a real pleasure to be able to quickly see if a band is open and to visually see the activity on the band.   As I am writing this, I am listening to a DX station on 15 meters that doesn't register on my TS-480 S-meter but I can still hear him on the DVB-T.  If I can comfortably hear a station on the TS-480 I can also hear it on the DVB-T.

For a total investment of less than $100, with the upconverter, this is much more than a "toy"!  Don't let the negative postings from hams that have no real experience with the DVB-T discourage you from experimenting with it.

Don, K9AQ

 My setup just arrived in today's mail!! Including the up converter. (same one as yours)
I also have dug up enough parts to build another up converter for it. The Ham It UP converter
seems like it might be a good deal.
Now I need to go to Radio Shack and see if they have any of the SMA connectors and MCX
connectors. I thought I had some of those around here someplace. I'll probably find them
once I go buy new ones!
  Personally, I don't see any reason to discourage anyone from playing around with the
DVB-T dongles and up converters. It's not like buying a dongle and building/buying an
up converter are going to break the bank!  Dynamic Range etc. at that price point
($20 for my dongle) is not a big issue. Testing it, building things for it (additional HF
up converter) and doing some C# programming for SDR Sharp, is what I am interested
in.  To me, it's just another way to have some enjoyment in life and learn some new
and interesting things.
I hope more people give them a try and share their experiences using them here.
If some of the naysayers here would go to You Tube and do a search for "DVB-T"
they might be surprised at what some people have managed to do with such inferior
hardware!
james
WD5GWY
   
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KE5JPP
Member

Posts: 0




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« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2012, 04:23:32 PM »

I can speak from experience that the DVB-T stick works very well on HF SSB.  I am using an upconverter from Opendous, which can be purchased through Amazon or Ebay.  Look up "ham it up" converter.  I am using HDSDR software and linked it with HRD using DDE.  This only allows the SDR to track my Kenwood TS-480 so that can compare the sensitivity of the DVB-T/upconverter versus my Kenwood. (HDSDR also supports a CAT interface to HRD, but I haven't set this up yet.)

It works!  I won't use it as my primary receiver but for a second receiver to provide a panadapter display it works very well.  It is a real pleasure to be able to quickly see if a band is open and to visually see the activity on the band.   As I am writing this, I am listening to a DX station on 15 meters that doesn't register on my TS-480 S-meter but I can still hear him on the DVB-T.  If I can comfortably hear a station on the TS-480 I can also hear it on the DVB-T.

For a total investment of less than $100, with the upconverter, this is much more than a "toy"!  Don't let the negative postings from hams that have no real experience with the DVB-T discourage you from experimenting with it.

Don, K9AQ

 My setup just arrived in today's mail!! Including the up converter. (same one as yours)
I also have dug up enough parts to build another up converter for it. The Ham It UP converter
seems like it might be a good deal.
Now I need to go to Radio Shack and see if they have any of the SMA connectors and MCX
connectors. I thought I had some of those around here someplace. I'll probably find them
once I go buy new ones!
  Personally, I don't see any reason to discourage anyone from playing around with the
DVB-T dongles and up converters. It's not like buying a dongle and building/buying an
up converter are going to break the bank!  Dynamic Range etc. at that price point
($20 for my dongle) is not a big issue. Testing it, building things for it (additional HF
up converter) and doing some C# programming for SDR Sharp, is what I am interested
in.  To me, it's just another way to have some enjoyment in life and learn some new
and interesting things.
I hope more people give them a try and share their experiences using them here.
If some of the naysayers here would go to You Tube and do a search for "DVB-T"
they might be surprised at what some people have managed to do with such inferior
hardware!
james
WD5GWY
   

I am not trying to discourage others from experimenting with them.  I have one of the dongles and converters myself.  Just please don't exaggerate their performance.  They are no where in the league of the more sophisticated SDRs on the market.  In relation to them, they are just a 'toy'.

Gene
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WD5GWY
Member

Posts: 403




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« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2012, 06:40:41 PM »

Well, other than looking at the videos on You Tube, and hearing the
results, that is the limit of my experience with them. I have not had
time to set mine up yet. Been busy playing with my Flex 1500 and
the latest version of PowerSDR!
  I'm sure that most, if not all, of the people that are wanting to use
or experiment with the Dongles and upconverters understand that
they are not as good as real SDR receiver. After all, the dongles were
never intended for that sort of usage. That someone found that the
hardware instruction set included commands that make it possible to
use them as SDR receivers, is interesting to me. (and others)
  Toys or not, it really doesn't matter in the long run. Experimenting and
learning does matter.  I plan to get one of the RxTx Ensemble kits and play
around with one of those as well. I would even like to get a Genesis G59
transceiver kit too. But, those are very expensive for a one watt radio.
And they use a sound card for the I/Q processing.
Lots of possibilities out there!
james
WD5GWY
 

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WD5GWY
Member

Posts: 403




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« Reply #28 on: December 23, 2012, 01:39:11 PM »

Just a quick update. Installed SDR# and got it going with my $20 toy!
Works much easier than HDSDR. But, then again, it has a much simpler
interface. Just playing around with the software, I am surprised at how
well it does work. I live quite some distance from a lot of FM radio stations
and i was surprised that it receives stations in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area as
well as it does. Especially since I just used the provided antenna, which is
about 5" long at the most. I'm going to dig out an old Radio Shack scanner
antenna I have had for years and see what happens with that one.
Also downloaded the source code as well. Think I'll fire up Visual Studio and
see what kind of mischief I can get into with that!!!
james
WD5GWY
 
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KA4POL
Member

Posts: 2027




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« Reply #29 on: December 23, 2012, 09:46:41 PM »

If you compare quality and price with one of those commercially available SDRs you are getting much more per dollar.

Merry Christmas!
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