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Reviews Categories | Receivers: General Coverage | Realtek RTL2832U DVB-T tuner Help

Reviews Summary for Realtek RTL2832U DVB-T tuner
Realtek RTL2832U DVB-T tuner Reviews: 15 Average rating: 4.1/5 MSRP: $27
Description: SDR 641,700 MHz (sensitivity drops off considerably outside this range, but can go 02,100 MHz).
Similar to the Funcube.
Sampling rate: 1 MHz (can go up to 3 MHz but drops samples).
Works with Windows, Linux, and other OS.
Product is in production.
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ON6AB Rating: 3/5 Dec 28, 2015 16:46 Send this review to a friend
Limited usability  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I use mine as a panadapter for the FT817nd with limited success because they get overloaded so easily. I have the 820T2 and I use HDSDR.
If I take the IF-out from the FT817 before the 1st IF filter (68.33Mhz), the spectrum is very wide. Looks perfectly...until some strong signal appears anywhere in the passband, then it is game-over on ANY band. The screen fills with huge IMD products all over the place. If you turn down the tuner gain to zero, it is again more or less workable although the signals are rather weak then and you cannot calibrate the S-meter to a reasonable value. Also, some birdies are becoming the same size as the real signals which is annoying.
I finally took the IF-out AFTER the 1st IF filter (T1025 on the FT817nd via 100pf at the open end of the coil). Now I got a clean spectrum without any overload but of course the bandwidth is limited. Nevertheless there is a usable 40Khz (-6dB at the edges). I can calibrate the S-meter to match the FT817 (more or less) and I can use the tuner gain as much as I want showing the weakest signals without any problem.

It's either a lot of garbage either a limited bandwidth. Of course, you can't have it all for 20$.

If you're planning to buy one, take the 820T2 from NOOELEC with the 0.5ppm TCXO. A standard version without TCXO drifts about 1 Khz before becoming stable. This takes about 30 minutes.

Another thing, when looking at Youtube you always see demo's on receive, never on transmit.
If I take the IF-OUT directly at the input (or output) of the XF1001 filter as seems to be common practice, my maximum power output does down to 2.5W instead of 5W even when using a buffer amp! Using the tap at transformer T1025, there is no influence on the transmit signal, with or without the G4HUP buffer amp.
Happy experimenting!
KW4JA Rating: 5/5 Oct 15, 2015 00:21 Send this review to a friend
eat crow  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
I am here to eat crow regarding this realtek vhf sdr type device. To listen to hf you connect antenna to hf input then change the input source to Direct Q. What that means I have no idea but all of a sudden the device works like a quality sw and mw receiver. This review applies to the ebay sold hf vhf device that is black in color and sells in the $40-$75 range. It comes from China and is also sold by usa distributors. This review updates my review dated 10/14/2015.
KP4MLF Rating: 0/5 Jan 22, 2015 18:59 Send this review to a friend
no support, lost my money  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Bought mine from Nooelec and work exactly 2 times, when tried to use it for a third time don't work anymore. I tried in 3 different computers.

I contacted the "support" and they say is my computer (in other words my 3 computers are wrong)

I think you get what you pay. Ill better spend $20 in a couple of beers next time
M0ODV Rating: 5/5 Dec 21, 2014 00:14 Send this review to a friend
RTL2832U-R820T  Time owned: more than 12 months
Value for money so many uses and software platforms,research applications the uses are endless and always developing.
The newer R820T2 DVB dongle(about 10) is more sensitive and i use a modified driver so i can get around 700khz to 1.8Ghz no gaps and at a fraction of the cost of a funcube dongle with gaps :-(
I use multi-dongles simultaneously so i listen to Aircraft 108-138Mhz on one and ads-b radar RTL1090+ADSBscope on the other.
With a XHSI 2.0 beta7 download and a custom built rtl1090.exe and some tweaking i can see the pilots glass cockpit displays(ND)(PFD)instruments in real time.
I use my DVB dongle for:
Spectrum analyser
Decoding D-Star/Tetra and mototrbo.most data on HF freq's
Signal intelligence and analysis
VHF/UHF scanner and heatmap viewer
RF sniffer
SDR receiver
Hacks and mods
Aircraft radar
Satellite tracking and in some instances decoding the downlink data.
all this from a 5 DVB tuner,No way..Yes way.73
HAMMYGUY Rating: 3/5 Jun 22, 2014 12:00 Send this review to a friend
Neat toy  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
After fighting drivers for Windows 8.1, I was finally able to see what all the excitement was about. Not to bad since it's designed as something completely different. AM BCB on up to about 4 MHZ seems kind of insensitive with my HF converter. On up though it approaches the quality of reception of my FunCubePro Plus. But to make these approach the quality of a ready made SDR you'll probably spend much money. But as a platform to experiment with it looks like it will provide lots of fun.
CHRISTOFERO Rating: 5/5 May 8, 2014 12:39 Send this review to a friend
My nomination for the most flexible RF device around - EVER!   Time owned: more than 12 months
I think the little dongles which now cost as little as $10-11 shipped on ebay, are basically the best RF deal I've ever seen.

These little dongles, are the "swiss army knife" of RF experimentation now.

I wanted to make this review to point out a few things.

One is that they can be modified to work for any IF without needing any additional hardware. For IFs below 24 MHz, they can be used in direct sampling mode which lets them sample HF frequencies -although - unless your receiver/IF chain already has this functionality (it should) you are going to want to also use a balun (i.e. toroid wired as RF isolation transformer) and band pass filter because otherwise out of band signals will cause lots of issues and the AM bands will overpower the weaker HF signals.

*One interesting use for them in direct sampling mode is as a compact RFI finder!*

They work quite well with a magnetic loop which can act as your band pass filter.

But what I really wanted to encourage hams to do is buy them to give as gifts to non-hams, especially kids.

Considering the price, these little dongles could be life changers. They will get a kid interested in RF and communications technology, as well as teach them (by necessity) to compile their own software. They could serve as a gateway to some very interesting and useful math skills for very little money. And lets face it, value is important these days.

I wish somebody could have given me something like that as a kid! The only caveat is that they need a fairly decent computer (Pentium 4 or later, 64 bit hardware is often quite a bit better) to work.

The best performing general receiver application on less powerful hardware is Linrad, which is also one of the most interesting from a ham radio perspective, although its learning cure is a bit daunting it rewards time spent learning it well.

Linrad also compiles and runs well on older Macs.

If you look at the aforementioned chart of SDR's on Wikipedia, the RTL2832 really stands out for its value.

The RTL2832 dongles have spawned a huge amount of creative invention. There are dozens of apps and compatible tools, libraries, etc. out there - to do various things with them as well as over 6000 videos on youtube now on them.

The Osmocom "rtl-sdr" web page (bookmark this) is

There is also a very active group on Reddit at

Academics teaching engineering in need of a great learning tool would be well advised to use them and Gnuradio as the core of a DSP/RF curricula as nothing else comes close in terms of flexibility/value.

There are a bunch of really good tutorials by Balint Seeber on the use of Gnuradio with the USRP hardware made by Ettus Research (his employer) which can also be applied to the (much cheaper) RTL2832 dongles. Balint is basically an expert on unknown signals analysis. His tutorials will fill out your knowledge of what can be done with the RTL2832 dongles tremendously. Links to these tutorials are on the wiki at the Reddit /r/RTLSDR group.

If you are buying a dongle, *get one of the ones with ventilation holes as they are more stable.*

One dongle, the white R820T one with the curved row of ventilation holes and the IEC (not MCX)antenna connector - seems to have a slightly better SMT crystal. (although it lacks a writable EPROM)

I've had slightly better performance with that model.
G8JNJ Rating: 5/5 Sep 22, 2013 12:11 Send this review to a friend
Good cheap intoduction to SDR  Time owned: 6 to 12 months
I have tried a few of these and would advise potential purchasers to only buy the RTL2832U version with Rafael Micro R820T tuner.

The versions using the Elonics E4000 or Fitipower FC0013 tuner don't have anything like the strong signal handling performance of the R820T. They also have many more spurious responses and a big DC spike at the center frequency.

I normally set the R820T RF gain to be about 40dB with RTL AGC on. This gives a reasonable compromise between sensitivity and strong signal overload performance.

It also works quite well on 10m. But have to add an extra 10dB attenuator in line with the antenna to get the best results on that band.


Martin - G8JNJ
N4AEQ Rating: 5/5 Sep 21, 2013 23:21 Send this review to a friend
Great deal   Time owned: 3 to 6 months
In this day and time it is hard to find a deal in amateur radio equipment, but this is one exception. I bought 2 of these for 20 bucks and
even though I don't know much about PC programs I
got in up and running on SRD sharp in 3o minutes.
Great SRD, mine is RTL2832u/820 and receives 24 to 1750mhz, has worked great for me at 12 meters to 33cm. I did buy the HF upverter from Janielectronics for $50 and it also works ok, but it's not as impressive as the RTL dongle.
VE3TMT Rating: 5/5 Jun 14, 2013 07:17 Send this review to a friend
Can't beat the price!  Time owned: 3 to 6 months
I have two of these little units, one I purchased from China and one from NOO Electronics (only because I couldn't wait for the first one to arrive!)

I use them for many different purposes in the shack. The main reason I wanted one was to use as a panadapter for my Yaesu FT990. I was using a Softrock Lite II kit prior to the Realtek, and although it worked, I could only sample the 455 KHz IF which provided very little bandwidth on the display.

So I tapped the 47.21 MHz IF in the FT990 (RF board, little trace between T1005 and T1010) and set up the RTL tuner with HDSDR. The results are simply amazing. With my Creative Labs X-FI card I can easily see 2 MHz of the band at 96 KHz sampling. I can dial in any audio bandwidth I want, to hear the DX or listen to the ESSB guys. The performance rivals my old TS870S. It has turned the FT990 into a whole new radio. The radio is interfaced with Omni-Rig, so I see a signal on the band, I click on it and the radio is there. Or you can set up HDSDR so only the screen frequencies change, and your radio stays put on one frequency, like having a dual receiver. It's great for working split DX stations.

In addition to HDSDR, I use SDR# (SDR Sharp) for VHF and UHF receiving. I just installed the latest version, with the scanner plug-in, so it's like having a 24 MHz to 1.7 GHz receiver with no gaps. I also use ADS-B# and ADS-B Scope for monitoring planes overhead, all which work well with this tuner. For $20 plus shipping ($9 from China) these are great little devices. They may not rival the real SDR boxes out there, but for the price, they are fantastic.

You can see pics on the panadapter on my page.

2E1RDX Rating: 5/5 May 11, 2013 06:05 Send this review to a friend
under 40 for a superb SDR Receiver  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
Well where to start I bought a RTL2832U+R820T Dongle off ebay 6.50 I then purchased a Ham It Up v1.0 - RF Upconverter to give me full HF 31.95 so I now have HF, VHF, UHF, SDR Receiver I have it running with HDSDR Software which works superb,
It works as good as my previous SDR receivers SDR-IQ, Perseus SDR, PM-SDR, and has far more coverage in both Panadaptor and frequency coverage,
I have it connected to my TS-590 via Omni Rig and have a Elad Switchbox on order which will then give me and fantastic setup for next to nothing ??? very happy
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