27 March 2013

DVB-T Dongle SDR Radio activation

On the 26 Feb I wrote that I had ordered a DVB-T Dongle in order to try out this dongle as an SDR radio as suggested in a QST article entitled 'Cheap and Easy SDR' in QST January 2013 page 31. This using the Realtek RTL2832U and Elonics tuner.

Yesterday I received the dongle and am delighted to report that I had it operational using the SDR# Software Radio App and associated custom drivers after about 30 minutes of starting to configure the drivers and software radio. I followed the directions in QST without hitch. I am not a software guru so this is saying something! I attached a wire to the dongle and immediately was able to receive local FM stations loud and clear!

Here are the steps I followed and articulated in 'software config for dummies' kind of language.

FOR WINDOWS 7 PC's/laptops. Sound card working and volume turned up.

  1. Download the install script from sdrsharp.com/downloads/sdr-install.zip into the Windows download folder. Move the zip folder (SDR-install.zip) to the desktop and open it.
  2. Open the SDR-install folder and extract the httpget.exe, install.bat, and unzip.exe to your desktop.
  3. Double click on the install icon on your desktop and you will see the install taking place. Give it time and after a while it will say 'install successful'
  4. Delete the install files (ref 2,3 above) from your desktop since you will not need them any longer.
  5. Look around on the desktop for a new folder now on your desktop called SDRSharp.
  6. Open SDRSharp and scroll down until you see an icon called ZADIG
  7. Plug in the dongle to a spare USB port
  8. Double click on ZADIG to open it
  9. In the window that appears you should see a box with 'Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 1) shown'
  10. Click on the 'install driver' box and give it a bit of time. Eventually you will see a 'driver installed successfully' box appear. This is all good. Close the window.
  11. Open the Device manager view in Control Panel.
  12. Look down the list and you should see something called LibUSB. Under this 
    1. Bulk - In, Interface (Interface 0)
    2. Bulk - In, Interface (Interface 1)
  13. Close the Device manager since the above indicates that the drivers have been installed successfully.
  14. Open the SDRSharp folder (it may already be open). Scroll down until you see an 'EggBeater' icon. This is the executable. Double click on this exec to run SDRSharp.
  15. You should now see the GUI for SDRsharp appear. This is good!
  16. Press the config button and select the SDR radio called RTL-SDR/USB from a list of supported SDR radios.
  17. Click WFM (wideband FM)
  18. Stick a piece of random wire a few feet long into the dongle antenna PAL socket
  19. Press PLAY and presto your world will light up with the sound of static coming through the laptop speakers.
  20. Click on a signal and the static will turn to music! Well done!
  21. Now fool around to your hearts content with the settings.
  22. Go to tinyurl.com/blsg2or and look around for a manual on SDR# written by W9RAN.
If the above sequence does not work for you then please refer to the QST article where much more detail is given.

I really am enjoying my first exploits into the world of SDR Radio. Now I need a decent antenna.

Dongle from EZCAP. DVB-T FM DAB

SDR on the cheap. Showing SDRSharp + Dongle + Test Antenna

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