26 February 2013

DVB-T Dongle. Cheap and Easy SDR?

Having been inspired by the article in QST January 2013 page 30 titled 'Cheap and Easy SDR' by W9RAN I went ahead and ordered one of these dongles from Amazon.com. This dongle can be used to receive radio signals from 64MHz - 1700MHz (except 1100 Mhz- 1250Mhz). It uses the chipset RTL2832U and the Elonics E4000 tuner chip. The SDRSHARP software will decode almost any mode.

I probably paid over the dollar for this kit but I have a good chance of being able to make it work since this dongle is listed on the Osmocon website.

I like the fact that the implementation does not require the use of sound cards. This is a full digital interface with a 2MHz view of the spectrum! Fantastic. Maybe I can progress towards making a homebrew panadaptor down the road?

I watched a UTube video showing a decoding of Amsat signals. This looked really interesting.

My level of ambition is to simply be able to decode the local FM broadcast stations using the supplied whip antenna. Thereafter better antennas will be required.

I tried to search the web for a local source for these dongles here in South Africa but with no luck. I was surprised since I know that DVB-T is coming to South Africa in the next few years.

Go here to the Osmocon website if you are interested: http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/rtl-sdr

Herewith is a copy of my order from Amazon.

"SDR Starter Bundle: EzTV668 DVB-T USB Receiver & Low-Cost Software Defined Radio (SDR) with Free PAL to BNC Adapter - Realtek RTL2832U + Elonics E4000"
Electronics; $59.95

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