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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: 16 Average rating: 4.0/5 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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LNXAUTHOR Rating: 4/5 Jul 22, 2019 10:16 Send this review to a friend
inexpensive fun  Time owned: more than 12 months
i use a couple of these around the house... one is used for FM radio via gqrx under Mojave 10.14.5, another is used with a Raspberry Pi and touchscreen LCD for a panadapter running WQ7T's Python scripts - the tuner is attached via an SMA male plug to MCX male cable into a Xiegu X5105, which has an IF port offering signals at 70.455MHz...

my preferred tuner is the Elonics hybrid w/the E4000 chip, which does not run extremely hot like nearly all other RTL2832 variants - there are a number of them out there... and some of the 'nano' sized tuners have been known to destroy smartphone, tablet, and laptop USB interfaces - i highly recommend using a USB pigtail if your tuner runs hot

also unfortunately, it seems like some of the drivers for these have changed recently, and many no longer offer extended reception ranges via direct sampling; that's too bad as having to add an upconverter is inconvenient

an additional (but perhaps temporary) problem is that they are not supported (with the exception of the Elonics hybrid) under Raspbian Buster with the new Raspberry Pi4 (2GB or 4GB versions); according to recent posts on github, this issue is fixed - but not yet mainstream at this time

out of the box, these tuners work fine for FM broadcast, NOAA WX and 2M; hopefully a few enterprising companies will invest some R&D and will introduce newer low-cost and more capable chipsets
KD7RDZI2 Rating: 2/5 Jul 21, 2019 20:09 Send this review to a friend
Updated review: CPU eater  Time owned: more than 12 months
I have exactly this stick with the Elonics e4000 chip and other two with the R820t and t2. They have different characteristics but the main drawbacks compared to the original Funcube Pro are the limited 8bits ADC and the too wide sample. You might enjoy the 1-2M sample rate if you have a powerful computer. But I use an old laptop which runs flawlessly keeping cool with the Funcube which has just a 96khz sample rate. I also prefer much more the GUI I currently use with the Funcube (Qthid and Quisk under linux) rather than gqrx under linux or SDR# under Windows.
BURGERLOVER65 Rating: 2/5 Apr 7, 2018 19:00 Send this review to a friend
VHF/UHF Ok  Time owned: 0 to 3 months
The one I purchased from China is supposed to work from 500khz to 1.7ghz. Used with HDSDR it works ok from 30mhz to about 400mhz. On HF it only picks up a local 500,000 watt am station at about S-2 with a great deal of static using an outdoor antenna. I owned one of these previously that worked fine on HF but I guess it is a crap shoot ordering anything from China.
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
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