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Saturday, April 25, 2015

"Dongle" USB SDR Receiver $13 (VIDEO)

I was recently commenting to Pete that I could use some gear that would give me a better means of checking the bandwidth of my transmissions.  Pete.  pointed to the latest issue of our much-loved SPAT magazine.  Indeed on SPRAT 165 (Spring 2015) there is an article by Ken Marshall G4IIB on how  use the RTL2832u R820T DVB-T "dongle" (USB stick) as an SDR receiver.  I sent 13 dollars to Amazon.  The device arrived yesterday.   I followed Ken's instructions and soon I had the little device inhaling on 12 meters.  It is really amazing.  Lots of technology in a little box the size of your thumb!  I use it with the free HDSDR software and have been listening to 12 and 10 CW and SSB.  See the video above.  Tomorrow I will attempt Ken's mod that will open up the other HF bands.  Then I will be able to put to use a second SPRAT article about this device :  Also in SPRAT 165 Tony Fishpool  G4WIF  describes how to use this device as a rudimentary indicating instrument for bandwidth measurements. 

Great stuff.  Get yourself one of these devices.  You will in effect be getting an all-band all-mode computer controlled receiver for $13 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I got this one:


Thanks Ken, thanks Tony.

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  1. Bill
    A couple more things you can do with the "Dongle".
    I have used SDR# and the Plugin frequency manager and scanner I set it up to scan all the local repeaters.
    Available at http://sdrsharp.com
    The SDR software is limited in the bandwidth width you can scan at one time, this works great as a receiver or as test equipment for looking at the output of transmitter stages.
    But there are times you want to look at a wider band, such as checking for harmonics. There is a Python program RTL Scanner that do wide bandwidth sweeps.
    With a 100 Mhz. up-coverter, input step attenuator , and good shielding you have a usable spectrum analyzer for the HF bands.
    If you can bring the receive IF signal out of your transceiver, it makes a nice panadapter.

  2. Search R820T2 on Aliexpress, they sell for less than $8


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