RTL-SDR USB Tuner Hack Allows Software Defined Radio DXing - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 2012-06-26, 01:02 PM Thread Starter
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Thumbs up RTL-SDR USB Tuner Hack Allows Software Defined Radio DXing

This really got my attention this morning! From the article:
Quote:
The last few months have seen an explosion of activity in the field of Software Defined Radio (SDR), after it was discovered that cheap USB TV tuners based on the Realtek RTL2832U chip could be dialed into frequencies well outside their advertised ranges. What was designed and sold as a simple device for watching TV on your computer could be turned into a radio capable of receiving anything between 64 MHz to 1700 MHz with open source software.

Now, anyone with about $20 USD to spare can tune into everything from police and fire transmissions to the International Space Station.
http://www.thepowerbase.com/2012/06/...-with-rtl-sdr/
Quote:
With powerful software like GNU Radio and Gqrx backed up by affordable hardware such as the Realtek RTL2832U, the sky literally is the only limit to what you can do.
So, with the right USB TV tuner stick, a Linux box or laptop with the right software and drivers, and a set of well-tuned antennas, this opens up a huge set of radio DXing opportunities.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 2012-06-28, 01:47 PM
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Hold on! The RTL2832U is a worldwide DVB-T receiving device! Not a North American ATSC receiving device! You might have to order it overseas if you want to try one out for radio broadcast reception.

Luckily, the author ordered one from Deal Extreme. That makes it pretty easy to get, with likely no taxes or duties to pay due to its low cost.
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 2012-06-28, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
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I ordered a couple of them after I read the article.

Let's be clear that these are DVB-T (mostly European) HD OTA tuners that have been hacked, so do not bother to use them for OTA TV from Canada or the U.S.A.
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 2012-06-28, 07:38 PM
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cool, send me one Stampeder ..J/K..

I was tempted too when seeing this article in March...
http://dangerousprototypes.com/2012/...-sdr-a-20-sdr/

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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 2012-06-30, 07:37 PM
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Can that be done with my All In Wonder Radeon?
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 2012-07-01, 01:37 AM
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^^If you had read the article, or even the following quote, you'd know the answer is "No."

Quote:
Originally Posted by stampeder View Post
Let's be clear that these are DVB-T (mostly European) HD OTA tuners that have been hacked, so do not bother to use them for OTA TV from Canada or the U.S.A.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 2012-07-20, 02:34 AM Thread Starter
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re Post #3, I just got them today via Canada Post from Hong Kong and plugged one into my laptop running Linux kernel 3.3.6, which recognized it immediately. I'll hang onto the credit card-sized remote controls that came with them in case I ever need them, but the pathetic little whip antennas are going to the dump. Now to find some time to hardware hack the BL antenna connectors of those USB sticks to F-connector for RG6 coax cable leading to the rooftop antennas, then install the SDR software... Hopefully soon but I have a lot of other things to do these days!
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-10, 10:06 PM
 
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Question

A friend insists that this won't work anymore, as we don't have analog OTA channels anymore. Can you confirm if this SDR setup works? Thx.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-10, 10:17 PM
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LOL, I think your friend is confusing analog tv with radio.
The whole point of the Software Defined Radio is to use the dongle as a radio. Not for TV reception.
Yes, it works just fine. I have used mine from VHF Lo on up thru L Band.

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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-10, 10:45 PM
 
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Thx for confirming that! I'm about to pull the trigger on a tuner.
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post #11 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-10, 10:54 PM
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Cool... I wouldn't call it a substitute for a real receiver, but it is certainly fun to play with. price is right too.

DB4E/VHF Yagi rotor FM Bandstop ap-8700 preamp 4way split LG lcd.
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post #12 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-10, 10:57 PM
 
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Agreed. DX has one for $14.
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post #13 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-11, 12:42 PM
 
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Anyone tried this for radio? Used for, say, shortwave radio, what are the limitations of this? Is it limited in terms of sensitivity, or by the ease you can adjust it, or something else?

At home in Trinity Bay.
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post #14 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-11, 07:57 PM
 
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Hi Phycks:

It wouldn't seem likely (for shortwave). The range in the article says 64-1700 Mhz, which is way above the traditional shortwave bands (2-30 Mhz). My ham radio transmitter works up to the 6 meter band 50-54 Mhz; and I have a VHF transceiver for the 2 meter (144-148Mhz) and 70 cm (420-450 Mhz) ham radio bands. This USB tuner stick ought to work on those, I think; VHF/UHF ham radio and utility/scanner frequencies, not shortwave or AM radio, the wavelengths are too long.

VA3SAJ
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post #15 of 17 (permalink) Old 2013-06-11, 08:14 PM
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For frequencies below the capable range, say HF frequencies, you can buy a 100 MHz LO, and a mixer. Mix the antenna with the LO, and the HF frequencies on the antenna port from 2-30 MHz for instance would then be found at the output of the mixer from 102 - 130 MHz, which would route to your SDR tuner stick's antenna input. You'd then tune to 102 thru 130 MHz with whatever PC side SDR software you were using to listen to HF.

I've seen people selling them on Ebay (~ 5o bux if I recall). No idea how well it performs having not tried it.

Edit: This isn't the exact circuit I saw on ebay, but it's the same principle.
http://www.dgkelectronics.com/hf-con...or-sdr-radios/

DB4E/VHF Yagi rotor FM Bandstop ap-8700 preamp 4way split LG lcd.
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