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kg4efq
08-28-2012, 10:10 PM
Hey Mike-
I came across an article back in June on using certain cheap Realtek RTL2832U based USB TV tuners function as general purpose software defined radio (SDR) receivers. Here are some of the features:
- Frequency range : 64 - 1700 MHz (50 - 2200 MHz also possible)
- Sample rate: 3.2 MS/s
- Resolution: 8 bits/sample
- < 4 dB noise figure1
- Software support: GNU Radio, Winrad, HDSDR, SDR# etc.
- Receivers implemented: AM/FM, GSM, P25, ADS-B, TETRA, GMR, GPS, etc.

I use SDR# which gives me Wide and Narrow FM filtering and its completely adjustable. I can decode 137 MHZ weather satellite imagery, 2 meter APRS with an AFSK 1200 decoder, can do NOAA Weather Radio DXing just to name a few things with mine and I have barely scratched the surface. I recommend looking at http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/rtl-sdr It will give the particulars on which cards to use and are widely available on Ebay. You can also do a you tube search for RTL-SDR and there are some great videos on the capability of the cards. Lastly take a look at SDR# its the powerful free piece of software I use the addresshttp://sdrsharp.com/ They just added RDS decoding with the latest software build. At $20 you cant go wrong.

Richard

Mike-CT
08-29-2012, 06:45 PM
Well I just bought one today on eBay. It cost $24.99 and supposedly ships from San Diego.

I've been to the SDR# website and there's a link there to a quickstart guide somebody made that should be get it running smoothly.

I know this is becoming quite popular in Europe and you're the first person on this side that I know who has one and has it running. Therefore, if I run into any snags with it, you know who I'm going to be running to for help :-)

kg4efq
08-30-2012, 12:08 AM
Mike-
Glad to hear that. Let me know if you need any help.
Richard

spunker88
08-30-2012, 09:31 AM
How are you connecting an antenna to it? Many of these units on ebay look like they are using an aerial plug. I also found a listing that mentions 75 ohm input impedance so an aerial plug to F connector adapter should allow me to hook up any antenna with coax cable without impedance issues.

pjdyer
08-30-2012, 09:47 PM
Got one of these from China for $16 (and a 3-week wait). Not having much luck with the software getting it going. The antenna connector on the USB device is hopefully going to work with this http://www.pimfg.com/Product-Detail/000-F-MCX. The tiny whip antenna that came with it had the threaded screw in the base part not extending far enough out to attach the whip part !

73, Pat - WA5IYX

kg4efq
08-31-2012, 07:06 PM
I went to Radio Shack and picked up a European TV adapter. I went from PAL To F then with a short jumper went to an F to PL-259 so I could hook up to the array of Antennas here. Does a great job and at less than $7 worth every penny. PJ I need to make a video on how to set up these cards. A lot of folks have problems going into the setup. Give me a few days and let me see what I can put together.

pjdyer
08-31-2012, 10:02 PM
This is where I got mine http://www.ebay.com/itm/RTL-SDR-FM-DAB-USB-DVB-T-Dongle-DVB-T-STICK-RTL2832U-e4000-new-/170889005182?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item27c9c7487e After no luck with HDSDR I tried this http://rtlsdr.org/softwarewindows However, the Zadig version I downloaded is 2.0.1.157 (vs 2.0.1.154), and "show all devices" on it just gives me USB Receiver (Interface 0), USB Receiver (Interface 1), and RTL2832U Picking the first two shows USB ID 046D C51B 00 and 046D C51B 01, while RTL2832U gives 0BDA 2832 The SDRSharp.exe.Config file that I downloaded doesn't contain the remark lines re the RTL device to modify (and pasting it in doesn't seem to work either). BTW, the MCX-to-F adapter arrived and does fit.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

kg4efq
09-01-2012, 04:55 AM
This one is the on I am using... http://www.dealextreme.com/p/mini-dvb-t-digital-tv-usb-2-0-dongle-with-fm-dab-remote-controller-92096?item=8I ordered it from Hong Kong and it took 3 weeks to get it. There is a new pdf manual that is available that walks you through the install process. Here is the linkhttp://www.atouk.com/wordpress/?p=153 I have it installed on a Windows Vista laptop and works pretty well. I only used Zadig one time, as I usually leave the card in the same USB Port. It took me a few times to get it up and running with Zadig but eventually got it running. It was frustrating at first, but everything worked well after that and had no problems.

Mike-CT
09-01-2012, 07:36 AM
This is what I bought:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=271042349016&ssPageName=ADME:L:OC:US:3160

I thought this was going to be easy. Maybe not. Delivery supposedly is Tuesday so we will see.

pjdyer
09-01-2012, 08:27 AM
Mike, that package is identical to what I had the long wait for to arrive by China post. You will need that MCX-to-F adapter http://www.pimfg.com/Product-Detail/000-F-MCX vs the PAL-to-F adapter that other units require. I played around with the Zadig so much on this Win 7 Aspire 5517 that I crippled my Logitech wireless mouse and had to swap in a Gigaware (2.4-GHz) one from the refurbished Dell D505 XP. I'll try to do the Dongle and SDR# thing on the Dell (had already tried the HDSDR route there). BTW, WZ1V, who has had success, had gotten his from that dealextreme source.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Mike-CT
09-01-2012, 09:05 PM
However, the Zadig version I downloaded is 2.0.1.157 (vs 2.0.1.154), and "show all devices" on it just gives me USB Receiver (Interface 0), USB Receiver (Interface 1), and RTL2832U Picking the first two shows USB ID 046D C51B 00 and 046D C51B 01, while RTL2832U gives 0BDA 2832 The SDRSharp.exe.Config file that I downloaded doesn't contain the remark lines re the RTL device to modify (and pasting it in doesn't seem to work either).

73, Pat - WA5IYX

I got mine in the mail today. Ditto Pat what you said about the config file. There is no remark line and pasting one in doesn't do anything.
Also Zadig goes nuts when I tried it on my downstairs computer with my scanner, SDR-IQ and Ray Dees RDS unit all plugging into the computer via USB. The option they want is not there.

So.........I tried a laptop instead. The driver installed all by itself but the config file had the same result as when used on the computer above.

I'm too tired to play with it anymore tonight and besides, I'm outta beer, so it will have to wait.

pjdyer
09-02-2012, 04:33 PM
That Zadig does an excellent job of muting my cordless mouse ! The Logitech one had developed a bit of left-hand button bounce anyway. The Gigaware ones on 2.4 GHz have their USB receiver so small that one could swallow it. Anyway, I've ordered the DealExtreme EZTV645 item since folks seem to be having better luck with it. Should have done that in the first place vs looking for the cheapest online. Now to relocate the PAL-to-F adapter that I got from Radio Shack ...

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Mike-CT
09-03-2012, 12:06 PM
Well, I have progressed a little. I have a desktop computer I use only for TV DXing. I have nothing plugged into the USB ports. So I tried that computer.

So far, I have managed to get SDR# to load without any error messages. I have RTL-SDR/USB showing in the Front End Window along with other choices. The only problem is that when I click on START, the program won't start. The Start button depresses, but nothing happens. The program will start if "Other" is selected and Start is pressed, so I know something will cause it to start.

So, that leads me back to Zadig. If I open Zadig and go Options->List all Devices, all I see is RTL2832U. On the left, under driver, I see WinUSB(v6.1.7600.16385) and on the right of the empty arrow, I see the same thing.

If I click Install Driver, or Re-Install driver, I get this error:

The procedure entry point_except_handler4_common could not be located in the dynamic link library msvcrt.dll.

If I X out this error 4 times, the error goes away and soon after I get a successful installation notice, but the arrow should be filled in with green but it is not.

So I'm guessing the driver is not installed, or properly installed.

I am not too good with maneuvering around with command prompts in order to do the RTL_test -t operation, but I have taken apart the dongle and found the E4000 chip inside.

What next? I'm subscribed to the SDR Yahoo group but I don't see any help there.

pjdyer
09-03-2012, 01:24 PM
Sounds distressingly familiar. I was going to try to install things on the $100 refurbished Dell XP desktop (as well as that Seeeduino-Sony mod thing). The AC power supply for the D505 puts out a ton of VHF RFI, and the FairRite snap-on-ferrites via Mouser have not completely tamed that. Wish that I could find a linear supply to replace that switcher.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Mike-CT
09-03-2012, 03:13 PM
Well, today I dug a little deeper into the error msg I'm seeing. I found the latest msvcrt.dll and installed that into my Win32 folder. Didn't help. What I can gather is that something is overwriting the dll. I think I've hit a brick wall and I can't go any further. It has to be the USB card because I tried two desktops and one laptop and this is as far as I get. I'm done, I think unless an answer suddenly shows up on the SDR# Yahoo list.

rdees
09-03-2012, 07:44 PM
Mike & Pat:

I've ordered one of these just too see if I can be "beat up" as well. I think mine is coming from Jupiter, because the delivery date is September 26th.

Mike-CT
09-05-2012, 10:32 AM
Well, I don't know what I did but I got it running (the same way I got Canon copiers fixed every so often...either by doing nothing or by just breathing on them...sometimes you just don't know what you did but if the machine works, just make some copies and get out of there, lol).

I got it running on the computer I didn't want to install it on. Just for the heck of it I transfered the folder with all of the files in it from a thumb drive to the computer. Then I opened the .exe file and RDS Sharp loaded, but of course wouldn't run.

So, I unplugged all the USB devices I have on that computer and opened Zadig, which was already on that computer. I clicked to re-install the driver. I got the error message I mentioned in an earlier post, X'ed it out, got it again, X'ed it out, got it again, X'ed it out, got it again and one more time, X'ed it out. A second later Zadig said the driver was successfully installed. "How could that be, I thought."

So I went back and loaded SDR Sharp. I clicked the "play" button, not expecting anything to happen. The da*n program started. I sat there stunned.

So, I've been playing with it all yesterday evening and this morning. It's a really cool program. I've spend a lot of time checking out FM and monitoring 155-156mhz, the weather radio band and 460mhz police (ours town is on 460.550). I love watching the signals popping in and out on the spectrum analyzer and waterfall. It's so easy to see what's on the band now.

As far as FM, the variable bandwidth is really cool. Some stations distort when using 80khz filtering, but I expected that. I have good luck using 100khz filtering instead. The RDS is cool but there's no PI code, only PS with or without scrolling, and you really need 110khz filtering or greater for the RDS to decode. I have my APS-13 connected to the dongle and it's a bit too much gain for it, especially when the antenna is aimed SW into all the Hartford garbage/IBOC, etc. So I put a Radio Shack attenuator inline with it to just bring down the signal a little so the noise floor goes down to 70-80db instead of 50db. I can tweek it as I need it.

But stations like WFCC 107.5, NYC on 98.7, Frank up in ME on 107.5, WCRI 95.9 are there so the unit has pretty good sensitivity.

Gotta thank Richard KG4EFG for posting about this and motivating me. Here's a screenshot I took of how SDR# looks on part of my FM dial.

spunker88
09-05-2012, 12:03 PM
What is the frequency range the SDR software will tune? On ebay I see it says down to 48.25 Mhz. It would be awesome if this thing could do SSB on shortwave since I see options in the software for it, but I'm guessing it can't tune that low. Otherwise looks like a great tuner/software combination.

Mike-CT
09-05-2012, 12:54 PM
Richard's first post says
- Frequency range : 64 - 1700 MHz (50 - 2200 MHz also possible)

I tried 55mhz with a scanner antenna connected but with 55.240/260 empty it's hard to tell. My lowband antenna is down now.
The software might tune 30mhz or less but the SDR won't.

mikeydxer
09-05-2012, 02:58 PM
OK Mike, you had me so intrigued, that I went online and bought one of those things on Amazon. Must be coming from Europe because it might get here by Christmas! I just LOVE tinkering with this stuff. After having a heart attack, (not really) finding out how much it would cost to get Wide FM on my Win Radio, this is a piece of cake! Will let you know how I make out. Might be callin on you for help!! Mike

fmdxing
09-06-2012, 03:35 AM
Can you lads confirm this device works with WR Plus 1.11 Beta? Apparently it does, but as my model is awaiting shipment from Deal Extreme in Hong Kong, I can't test it. :D

I am running this software under 98SE. Extremely cool with excellent documenation for SDR newbies like me.

kg4efq
09-06-2012, 05:52 AM
Mike-
So Glad you got things up and running. I am able to tune down to about 54 MHZ on mine. WSB-TV in Atlanta still has something operating on there CH 2 frequency so I know I can that far down on mine. I did put a ferrite choke on my USB cable to cut down on RF noise from the PC and I plan to mount mine inside an Altoids tin. Need to order a few more from China and do the resale thing too and keep some extra on hand.

Mike-CT
09-06-2012, 08:28 AM
I have HDSDR all set up on another desktop running XP SP3 but I can't get the stick to work on that computer. I've already got HDSDR in use with SDR-IQ on the computer where the stick does work, but I don't want to have it try to work with two devices and mess up the computer since I had to reinstall windows and everything a few weeks ago and I really don't want to do it again.

I'm thinking that it may not work on this particular computer because I don't have USB 2.0 ports on it. I may pick up a 2.0 card on eBay and try to install it again. I would really like it to work with HDSDR, even though HDSDR is a memory hog.

pjdyer
09-06-2012, 09:08 AM
Well, tried it all again on my refurbished Dell XP desktop (GX620 - Intel Pent 4 3 GHz, 1 G RAM) - Zadig seems to be the hangup. With USB Human Interface Device (Interface 0) used as the driver install, and ignoring the warnings about dll, all that it does each time is add another "(Interface 0)" text to the device while SDR# (now that the Config file mod lets RTL-SDR/USB show in the menu of "Front End" choices (plus RTL-SDR/TCP, FunCube, Softrock, and Other) says RTL-SDR/USB not connected or its driver is not functioning properly.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Mike-CT
09-06-2012, 11:49 AM
Pat,
When you open up SDR#, look at Front End. Is RTL-SDR/USB one of your options. If it is, then SDR# is not the problem.

pjdyer
09-06-2012, 04:24 PM
Yes, the modifed config.exe file does get the RTL-SDR/USB to show in the SDR# pull-down menu - but then the error message.
The Seeeduino-Sony on that Dell still has a problem with the xdr-gtk graphical interface - COM3 - either errors or the gtk.exe just quits.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Muzza
09-07-2012, 05:21 AM
So is the pay-off worth the seemingly endless hassle? Sounds like a "no" from what I'm reading.

Mike-CT
09-07-2012, 02:54 PM
I don't think that anyone here is saying that the pay-off is not worth the trouble. If it was, none of us would be trying this and the market wouldn't be running out of E4000 chips so quickly.

Remember, just a few years ago the Icom R7000 or 7100 was the ultimate VHF receiver covering 30mhz to a ghz or more and the cost was well over $1000 USD. It also weighed a ton. Now you can get a receiver that covers the same spectrum, more or less, and with more features for $24USD. And if can fit in your pocket and weighs an ounce or so.

Just a few months back I bought a Winradio WR-g301 receiver. It did not have wide FM mode for listening to FM stations so FM radio listening was useless. It had two positions for adjusting bandwidth. It had a simple spectrum analyzer. Oh yes, and it cost $600USD (add another $200+ if I wanted to buy one with wide FM for 88-108mhz).

I get that with my SDR and SDR sharp for just $25 USD, plus a spectrum analyzer that covers 2mb or more, wide FM, completely functioning FM, a waterfall display and completely variable filtering. $25 versus $800 ? Which would you rather pay?

Radios like these were dreams just a few years ago. No they are reality and people know it and take advantage of the technology.

So, worth the trouble? Definitely yes.

fm_dxer
09-07-2012, 03:05 PM
"$25 versus $800" Only a fool would pay 800 bucks for an 800MHz castrated radio, the law is an ass

Mike-CT
09-07-2012, 03:23 PM
"$25 versus $800" Only a fool would pay 800 bucks for an 800MHz castrated radio, the law is an ass

Keep in mind that the "castrated" radio also starts at 100khz or less and is a pretty good receiver for the AM (MW) band. Plus it does not overload at all and can be used with Spectrum Lab for very precise measurement of TV carriers, which is mainly what I wanted it for. Unfortunately, the SDR radio cannot do that. I knew what I wanted and would not consider myself a fool for buying it.

But The Realtec DVT card for $24 and the free SDR Sharp software is definitely worth it.

fm_dxer
09-07-2012, 04:04 PM
Point of clarification: the above fool statement is not directed as a personal attack, it only ridicules the ones who pay no tocsin to others regarding the law and do not boycott that portion of the ECPA which is technologically out-of-date.
A radio starting at 100khz is not castrated, a limited demodulation range is not the same as attempting band exclusion to prevent tuning to a “forbidden” frequency. Only governments on the ash heap of history will try that.

pjdyer
09-07-2012, 08:08 PM
I do have another Win 7 (refurb desktop, e-machine, Intel Pent E5800, 3 G RAM, 1 TB HD) that I could use Zadig on to mess up the five USB port (drivers) on it ... Maybe I should wait until the other RTL device makes it here from Hong Kong (sez shipped today) to try it there.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

fmdxing
09-08-2012, 01:01 AM
I have not noticed any participant of this thread running the RTL2832U/E4000 (http://superkuh.com/rtlsdr.html) as a software defined receiver on Ubuntu. This is the most popular 'flavour' of the Linux operating system. If you have at least 1 gigabyte of hard disk space free (or a spare USB flash drive) setting up a dual-boot system (http://http://www.ubuntu.com/download/help/install-ubuntu-with-windows) with Windows XP and Ubuntu is a breeze. Download if on a relatively fast ISP or wait for the CD. Zadig (http://wiki.spench.net/wiki/Zadig) under Windows may be the source of the woes?

kg4efq
09-08-2012, 05:56 AM
I have a dual boot load on a Toshiba Laptop running Vista and Ubuntu and have tried it. Couldn't get it to work in Ubuntu as of yet, but had no problems with Vista. I have a new quad core with Windows 7 running and I plan to video the install of it for the group. I also have an Acer Netbook I plan to install it on running Windows XP and will also try to upload the video coverage of that as well. I have been working on a new blog for a client of mine, but plan to do the install one day this week. Stay Tuned!!!

Mike-CT
09-13-2012, 01:44 PM
I just got it running on my laptop, which is a Dell Latitude D610 with 1gb ram and 2.1ghz. I used one of these at work before I retired, so this model has been around for a few years. Someone posted today on the SDR sharp YahooGroup that they were unable to get the stick to run, and the responder led them to this page (http://rtlsdr.org/softwarewindows). This time I did the Automated Install (sdr-install.zip). Zadig installed the driver without a hitch (no errors at all). I ran SDR# and it ran flawlessly. That's two out of three.

I tried the auto install on the other desktop and, once again, the driver loaded flawlessly. But when I tried to start the program, nothing happened. I'm pretty sure it will run once I get that USB2.0 board installed but the board is coming on a slow boat from Hong Kong. I'll let you know when it gets here. Next week, I hope.

pjdyer
09-14-2012, 09:42 AM
Seemingly no instant-luck with the Win7 desktop e-machine. About ready to invest in the more-costly but likely more reliable FunCube ...

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Mike-CT
09-14-2012, 12:36 PM
Up to now, the only stick supported was the one with the E4000 tuner. Now that has changed. Here's part of a post on the SDRSharp Yahoogroup...
---------------------------------------

if you have an R820T, as of *9 hours ago*, the NEW RelWithDebInfo.zip on Osmocom now supports this tuner! R820T support only came in the last few days, and the precompiled binary has only been available for a few hours. If you downloaded it more than a few hours ago, you got the one that only worked on the e4000 and FC0013. Download the new zip and put in the new rtlsdr.dll... I bet it will work for you! It indeed works on my R820T dongle! http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/attachment/wiki/rtl-sdr/RelWithDebInfo.zip
---------------------------------------

So, now there's one more tuner you can use if you can't find one with an Elonics E4000 tuner in it.

Mike-CT
09-14-2012, 12:39 PM
Seemingly no instant-luck with the Win7 desktop e-machine. About ready to invest in the more-costly but likely more reliable FunCube ...

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Before you do that, Jeff Rostron, who lives nearby in Springfield, bought one of those and could not get it to work. I think he gave it to Keith McGinnis to try. I'm not sure of the results.

pjdyer
09-14-2012, 03:30 PM
Persistence and black magic ?? but it finally functioned with SDR# a while ago. Using the old 1973 Archer V-100 antenna on it - FMs no where as many db as the Sony finds them. No overload apparent. Amazed to see that it displays some of the decoded RDS text! Lots to explore.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

rdees
09-14-2012, 04:23 PM
This is the one that I purchased:

http://www.amazon.com/Digital-receiver-Realtek-RTL2832U-FREEVIEW/dp/B008BQV25M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1347657479&sr=8-1&keywords=B008BQV25M

I installed it as the RTL2832U using Zadig. (The Bulk-In Interfaces were not choices.) I followed the rest of the instructions from:

http://rtlsdr.org/softwarewindows

It was up and running in about 5 minutes.

pjdyer
09-14-2012, 08:29 PM
On closer inspection I'm finding a few FM spurs with it. Our KPAC and KSTX show several SCA carriers - others may as well but don't go to dead air often/long enuf to so easily see that. The ASCII pagers between 72-76 MHz show well as do aircoms (and ATIS) over 118 MHz. I need some screen capture software on that machine (it came with a 1 TB HD so lots of room for such :) ) I've yet to explore UHF with the CM-4228 on it yet.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

pjdyer
09-14-2012, 10:14 PM
OK, some screen captures from SDR#. The first shows KSTX 89.1 with SCA (88.3 has more) - others may have them but don't have enough dead air to reveal them so easily. The second is of KSGX 95.1 showng their HD IBOC sidebands as well as the RDS (text) decoding for them.

73, Pat - WA5iYX

Mike-CT
09-15-2012, 09:31 PM
I received my USB 2.0 card in the mail this evening. Popped it in the other desktop, reloaded the driver using Zadig, clicked play on SDR# and it works.
Batting 3 for 3 now.

Now I'm thinking I'd like to try one of the Realtek sticks with the R820T tuner, which has a lower noise figure (the 2-3 db range instead of 4db in the E4000.

From the SDRSharp email list...

2012-09-07: Experimental support for dongles with the Rafael Micro R820T (http://www.rafaelmicro.com/products.htm) tuner that started appearing in May has been added to rtl-sdr source base (http://lists.osmocom.org/pipermail/osmocom-sdr/2012-September/000253.html) by stevem. These tuners are supposed to cover 40Mhz to roughly 1.75GHz (with no l-band gap) with 1-2 dB less noise than the E4000 tuners. They also do not have the DC spike since they use a different, non-zero, IF. On the other hand, they seem to have more image aliasing due to being superheterodine receivers.

The Zadig installer that is in the auto install folder is an upgraded installer, so they say. Maybe that's why it worked flawlessly the three times I used it in auto-install.

pjdyer
09-18-2012, 02:00 PM
OK, a 4:20 video with audio of SDR# 88-108 MHz here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0GWxCyAfe4
With its dynamic range and overload limits it's certainly not a DXing machine, but it sure reveals things (like all the SCA carriers)!

73, Pat - WA5IYX

kg4efq
09-20-2012, 08:37 AM
I have been using my card as of late to decode APRS packets in 2 meters. It helps me out in figuring out propagation in and around the Southeast due to the fact that some packet messages will travel great distances. From my QTH in Dallas, GA on most days I can log traffic in around Metro Atlanta within 100 miles easy. When propagation is good I can decode traffic in North Florida to the South, Southern Kentucky into Southwest VA to the North, Western Alabama and Eastern Mississippi to the west and into Carolina's to the east.

The packets look like this from my QTH:

08:15:17$ fm N4NE-1 to APRX22-0 via N3DAB-2,N4NEQ-2 UI PID=F0
!3414.21NT08409.59W&ab0oo@arrl.net
08:15:38$ fm AB4KN-2 to BEACON-0 via W4GR-10,N4NEQ-2 UI PID=F0
!3329.34NN08434.06W#PHG7550/W-R-T Tyrone, GA. God bless ya'll.
08:15:44$ fm N4NEQ-2 to APRS-0 via WIDE-0 UI PID=F0
!3404.03NN08427.29W#PHG8460/WIDEN-N Digi info: rwf@BSRG.org
08:16:17$ fm KF4TNP-1 to BEACON-0 via W4HP-1,WIDE1-0,WIDE2-1 UI PID=F0
!3524.12N/08552.34W#! Manchester TN kf4tnp@kf4tnp.net voice 145.450- pl127.3
08:16:56$ fm BALSAM-0 to APTT4-0 via N4NEQ-3,WIDE2-0 UI PID=F0
T#018,139,074,999,320,218,00000011
08:17:23$ fm W4LEE-1 to APU25N-0 via AB4KN-2,WIDE2-0 UI^ PID=F0
>250052zUI-View32 V2.03
08:17:32$ fm W4LEE-1 to APU25N-0 via W4LAW-6,WIDE2-0 UI^ PID=F0
=3233.91N/08522.20W#East Alabama ARC APRS Digi {UIV32N}
08:17:51$ fm W4VLD-1 to APOT21-0 via AE4XO-2,WIDE2-0,GA2-2 UI PID=F0
!3050.80NS08319.32W#W2-2,GA2-2 VARC Digi - Valdosta, GA
08:18:11$ fm KC4MHH-6 to R9SV5S-0 via W4DFU-3,KI4JOO-7,WIDE2-0,KD4MOJ-7,WIDE3-1 UIv PID=F0
'n26l"Yv/]"4D}
08:18:36$ fm K4TQL-4 to APTW01-0 via W4LAW-6,K4RJJ-7,WIDE2-0 UI PID=F0
!3409.07N/08445.88W_WXTRAK
08:18:53$ fm KA4GNY-3 to BEACON-0 via KA4GNY-7,W4GR-10,WIDE2-0,GA1-1 UI PID=F0
!3339.90N/08410.60W_/U2kr
08:18:54$ fm KA4GNY-3 to APRS-0 via KA4GNY-7,W4GR-10,WIDE2-0,GA1-1 UI PID=F0
!!0000001A0288000027EB02B402CD----010701EA00000000.
08:19:17$ fm AE4XO-12 to SR3W7W-0 via AE4XO-2,WIDE1-0,WIDE2-0 UI PID=F0
`oFXlH=j/"5W}
08:19:24$ fm W4TL-3 to APRS-0 via W4GR-10,N4NEQ-2 UI PID=F0
!3430.57NN08348.40W#/W4TL-3 Wauka Mtn Digi at 2600' e-mail w4tl@arrl.net
08:19:27$ fm W4TL-3 to APRS-0 via N4NE-1,N4NEQ-2 UI PID=F0
!3430.57NN08348.40W#/W4TL-3 Wauka Mtn Digi at 2600' e-mail w4tl@arrl.net

I am using my RTL-SDR Card running SDR# tuned to the APRS frequency 144.390 MHZ NFM, Filter bandwidth set at 11400 and squelch set at 50. You will need to download a copy of Qtmm AFSK1200 Decoder...its free and available at http://sourceforge.net/projects/qtmm/. I extracted it into a folder for easy access. Once open you point the software to the sound source of the packet, hit the play button and the messages will begin to appear in the window below.

I use the website APRS.fi to track any of the traffic I am unsure about to get distance and heading from my QTH.

I am using a two PC solution since I have a Alesis mixer in my shack and can route traffic from any audio source into a decoding PC. The AFSK1200 can be run on the same machine as the RTL-SDR Card with the program virtual audio cables as a source.

I produced a video to show it in action. http://youtu.be/-3vSKDyMfAg

Richard
KG4EFQ
Dallas,GA


http://youtu.be/-3vSKDyMfAg

pjdyer
09-24-2012, 03:04 PM
Some more static screen captures of what elevated in-state tropo can do to clutter the band here
http://www.qsl.net/w/wa5iyx//images/ksym-a.png
http://www.qsl.net/w/wa5iyx//images/kroi-a.png
http://www.qsl.net/w/wa5iyx//images/bronco93-a.png
http://www.qsl.net/w/wa5iyx//images/kbzt-a.png

I'd have more if the thing didn't "crunch" in mid-band and give a horrendous noise floor and spurs there. Perhaps some tuneable narrow bandpass filter ahead of it would tame things down.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Mike-CT
09-25-2012, 01:18 PM
Here's something else you can see with SDR#.
This afternoon I monitored ch2 to the west for activity. What I found was CIII-2 Bancroft, ON (350 miles NE of here) fading up and out, over and over.
Here's a screen capture of that....

13275

What you see is nothing on 55.240 and just garbage on 55.250 but on 55.260 there is the carrier (bright yellow w/red line through it). I had the zoom lever about a third of the way up so I could see all three offsets clearly. Meteor pings will show up on this. So will 2Es, btw, long before you see video. My antenna is a Winegard PR-5030 with a Realistic preamp (around 20db gain and lousy 6db n/f). Height is only about 18feet agl.

This is a cheap way to monitor the lowband VHF channels for E skip, MS or tropo conditions on lowband. You don't even need to turn the TV on.

N.C.
09-25-2012, 05:56 PM
I tried to post to this thread yesturday and today,so I saved my message today (just in case it did not post).So I am going to try to post this way,sorry if the other post show up later.

Hello everyone,
I tried to post in here yesturday,but I don't see it so I am going to try this again.
As of last week I could pick up every thing on my Radio Shack Pro-2018 scanner, but the county I live in went to the new Digital Viper system that some call P25 or Apco25, anyway I really don't have $500 to buy a BCD996xt scanner,so I started doing alot of research on how to turn my windows XP laptop into a scanner and well here I am.
I am mostly home bound so the scanner was my world,and I hope I can do this.
I am going to try and order a Realtek RTL2832 E4000 off ebay and when I get it I will open it up to make sure it is the real deal,but I have no way of knowing if it is DOA though.
I am so glad you have done alot of trial and error on this.
I am not a programmer and I am not going to try to say I am.I can however copy and paste pretty good though.
I guess the main thing I need to know is while I am waiting on my Realtek RTL2832 E4000 to get here,could anyone give me the best program (link) to download to make it work , and maybe just give me directions on when I get it downloaded what I should do then?
There is alot of sites I looked at and I chose this one because you all have done this and so I want to know the best way.The main frequencies I am looking to get are Digital 868.18750a , 868.88750c ,867.61250 ,866.17500, and I guess anywhere in this range.
Any help would be very much appreciated.Thank you in advance.
Sincerely,Terry

Mike-CT
09-25-2012, 08:00 PM
Hi Terry,

As of last week I could pick up every thing on my Radio Shack Pro-2018 scanner, but the county I live in went to the new Digital Viper system that some call P25 or Apco25


As I understand this, the new system is digital and your Radio Shack scanner is analog and you can't pick up the new system. If that is the case then you won't hear it on the Realtek either. If I'm wrong, I know one of the other guys will correct me.

I guess the main thing I need to know is while I am waiting on my Realtek RTL2832 E4000 to get here,could anyone give me the best program (link) to download to make it work , and maybe just give me directions on when I get it downloaded what I should do then?

The program you'll need is SDR# (SDR Sharp). I have also seen that early on HDSDR was used. I'd prefer that program because of the way frequencies are scaled, but I haven't been able to make it work with the Realtek. So the one program left is SDR#.

You really need this (http://www.atouk.com/wordpress/?p=153) to get SDR# up and running. I actually printed out the pdf document and I keep it handy. Also you need this (http://rtlsdr.org/softwarewindows) to get your driver installed. Get your driver installed and you're almost home free.

Note that this dongle does not scan like a Bearcat or a Pro scanner. I think I read that there is a plug-in that allows it to scan like a scanner but I don't really need it for what I do (460mhz police, weatherradio, 155mhz police and medical calls, some FM, 118-134mhz aircraft and whatever else I find as I poke around). Through the software you will be able to see a 2mhz slice of spectrum. You'll see signals coming and going and it's really helpful.

I'm not sure if this is going to do what you want it to do, though. Let us know what happens when you get the dongle.

N.C.
09-25-2012, 09:35 PM
Mike,
Thanks for responding, and for the information.
I was really hoping this would pick up the Digital since my old scanner was Analog, but if it won't ,I guess I can just play around with it a bit, if I can get it to working.
Thank you for your time,and when I get the tuner,I will let you know if I get it going.
Sincerely,Terry

pjdyer
09-25-2012, 10:16 PM
Apparently with the right software http://wiki.spench.net/wiki/RTL2832U it will decode P25 transmissions.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wShOLgW2tmI

73, Pat - WA5IYX

N.C.
09-26-2012, 07:06 PM
pjdyer,
Thanks, this will help me alot.
It will be a week or two before I get the tuner. Meanwhile I am reading up on this page http://op25.osmocom.org/wiki , which I got from the you tube video you had mentioned.
Thank you very much.
Sincerely,Terry

Mike-CT
09-27-2012, 12:31 PM
I did manage to HDSDR working with the dongle yesterday but I ended up un-installing the program. One big reason was that there's no provision for WFM on it. The other reason was that there was no way to correct the frequency deviation or offset you get with the dongle. For example, the local police is on 460.550 but HDSDR showed it on 460.995. SDR# lets you correct that but you cannot with HDSDR.

I went out looking for WR Plus but couldn't find a decent download site anywhere. The one I did find wanted to download the Babylon toolbar and other garbage along with WR Plus. The last time that happened to me it took days to get all that crap off the computer again. So, no I passed on that.

I know Keith is using Studio 1 with his and it works. The trouble is that Studio 1 is not freeware and costs quite a bit. So I'll stay with SDR#.

spunker88
09-28-2012, 12:11 PM
I finally decided to get one of these and it arrived today. Installation was easy on Windows 7 64 bit,heres what I did. I put the tuner in a USB port, Windows tried to find a built in driver but failed which is what I expected. After that I went to Zadig and installed the driver. After it was done I was prompted to restart my computer so I did that, and once I rebooted the driver was installed and SDR# recognized it. I installed SDR using this site (http://rtlsdr.org/softwarewindows) that Mike posted, there is a batch file that downloads and installs the needed parts. It works from any USB port as long as I safely eject it like a flash drive. This is the tuner I bought since it ships from the US fairly quickly: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251151392290

For being more of a UHF sized antenna the built in antenna that came with my tuner isn't bad. I'll have to splice an F connector in somehow or else buy an adapter so I can get a real antenna hooked up. I'll have to see if I can get the frequency correction adjusted, its hard to notice on FM since its so wide but I imagine Ill notice offset on scanner frequencies with lower bandwidth (we are all analog in this area).

EDIT: A great way to get the frequency correction fine tuned is to attach a TV antenna and tune to the ATSC carrier of a few local TV stations. Wikipedia has a list of the carrier frequencies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_American_broadcast_television_frequencies) for each channel. The carrier signal is pretty narrow but high amplitude so its easy to find. Mine was actually quite a bit off, around -100 ppm is what I adjusted it to. Now NOAA weather is showing up on the correct frequency.

spunker88
09-29-2012, 07:50 AM
Even though this may not be a DX grade tuner like the XDR-F1HD, having SDR software allows you to do a lot. In WFM mode it has a lot of splatter on local adjacent channels, but if you narrow the filter it will pick up a weak adjacent station. On 97.7 I was getting nothing but adajcent spillover from Froggy 97 until I changed the filter bandwidth to less than 100k and then I started hearing CHMS from Bancroft. With the visual spectrum I was able to narrow the FM bandwidth to 50k and tune right to the edge of local WJNY's IBOC allowing me to hear CBOF from Ottawa on 90.7. I had to turn off tuner AGC and and apply a 34db RF gain, otherwise the strong signal from WJNY was overloading it I think because the noise floor got really high if I left tuner AGC on.

I also hooked it into cable TV and can confirm that my unit tunes down to channel 2 audio just fine and was even able to get the video signal below, so this tuner may be useful for VHF-L ES monitoring.

amfmtvdtvbrla
09-29-2012, 12:11 PM
I ordered one of these Realtek RTL2832U + E4000 DVB-T USB Tuners yesterday and i will try SDR Sharp software with it. I read thru the six pages of information that you and the other members here have provided on this Tuner . Thanks for all this info and help. It's really appreciated. This is the tuner I bought since it ships from the US fairly quickly like spunker88 had said in his post.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=251151392290

pjdyer
09-29-2012, 12:48 PM
It looks like mine needed a -7,000 Hz shift at 93.7 MHz (easy to set on them with their non-rare modulation failures :)). SDR# only seems to let you fiddle with the AGC settings when it is in AM mode. Narrowing the bandwidth to even 110-kHz seems to adversely affect the RDS decoding on some stations using low injection levels of it. Amazed at how many of our locals have SCA/SCS subcarriers (some may not be modulated). Shows many UHF DT pilots long before the DTT901's "meter" even twitches.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

amfmtvdtvbrla
09-29-2012, 01:12 PM
Pat, the fact that these tuners can detect UHF DT pilots long before the DTT901's "meter" even twitches is a big plus. now if we can get these same results with E-Skip we will be in business big time.

pjdyer
09-30-2012, 03:22 PM
I got the ezcap version (from Hong Kong) to work on this Win7 Acer 5517 laptop, but I have so many apps running that its performance is choppy. Also, it seems far less sensitive than the other rtl2832 unit that I have (and so suffers less from the FM spurs 88-108 MHz).

73, Pat - WA5IYX

fmdxing
09-30-2012, 04:37 PM
I went out looking for WR Plus but couldn't find a decent download site anywhere. The one I did find wanted to download the Babylon toolbar and other garbage along with WR Plus.


This is clean, works perfectly under 98SE with the latest release of Kernelex. No expiry date.

http://www.ab9il.net/software-defined-radio/WRplus_1.11_unlimited.zip

This is clean, works perfectly under XP Home SP3. No expiry date.

http://www.weaksignals.com/

Mike-CT
10-02-2012, 02:45 PM
Can you lads confirm this device works with WR Plus 1.11 Beta? Apparently it does, but as my model is awaiting shipment from Deal Extreme in Hong Kong, I can't test it. :D

I am running this software under 98SE. Extremely cool with excellent documenation for SDR newbies like me.

I've installed WRPlus but haven't gotten it to work yet although I've seen video on YouTube that indicates it should work. I installed ExtIO_USRP+FCD+RTL2832+BORIP and it seems to create the device okay but when I click on start nothing happens. I'm not discouraged because it took me a while to get SDR# to work on two desktops and a laptop but it did work eventually. I'll keep playing with it.

Mike-CT
10-03-2012, 02:34 PM
This is clean, works perfectly under 98SE with the latest release of Kernelex. No expiry date.

http://www.ab9il.net/software-defined-radio/WRplus_1.11_unlimited.zip

This is clean, works perfectly under XP Home SP3. No expiry date.

http://www.weaksignals.com/


The link to WRPlus looked encouraging, but....

I could not get it working with the dongle on either of two desktop computers I tested. So I wondered if WRPlus would work with anything. Since I have an SDR-IQ and have had it working using both HDSDR and WRPlus in the past, I took the ExtIO and bat files from HDSDR and put them into the WRPlus folder because both programs are so much alike they should (and normally do) work. The result was that WRPlus set up perfectly as before but would still not start my SDR-IQ. That tells me that something is wrong with WRPlus.

Next test was to see what I could find from that weaksignals.com site. What I found there was Winradio v1.33, not WRPlus. So, what the heck...let's see if the dongle would start with that. So, I set it up for the Realtek dongle and click start and it works. But there aretwo big problems with it. One is that there is no WFM and the biggest problem is that you can only tune up to 100mhz with it. These quirks are not good for the dongle at all. But this program I found is good for MW DXing with my SDR-IQ. It uses less resources than HDSDR and all it lacks is a notch filter. I just stumbled on something I'll be keeping.

Still looking for a WRPlus that works.

fmdxing
10-05-2012, 09:52 PM
Indeed, Winrad version 1.33 works but stops at 100 MHz for me as well. I would like to get this working as the resource drain seems less intense than 'Sharpie'.

I have been using the E4000 for one hour now with the aid of 5.8 % lager (well it's a hot 'tropospheric' night!) and either I'm an (impaired) genius or the software is phenomenally easy to get going! :p

fmdxing
10-06-2012, 11:08 PM
Here are some screenshots of everyday performance on VHF bands 1-3 using the supplied software, Blaze HDTV 6 full version. Reception is via the external television antenna. For satisfactory FM reception, a variable attenuator is used inline.

Whilst this is not the selling point of the E4000 I thought this might be interesting for those considering buying this. In other words, I take the view if that you don't end up finding the SDR functions worthwhile (Spectrum Analysis, Air Band reception et. al.) such a cheap dongle still has intrinsic value. :cool:

Analogue TV audio on 69.700 MHz, (12 miles)

13298

The below attachments show a:


FM station on 94.500 MHz (89 miles)
Digital radio station on 206.352 MHz (12 miles)

fmdxing
10-07-2012, 01:10 PM
Testing using the same antenna and software, sensitivity on band III with the Elonics E4000 (http://www.elonics.com/product.do?id=1) is poor compared to a similar USB dongle with the Afatech Af9013 (http://www.datasheet.co.kr/download.php?id=705982) or 9015 chipset. In addition, a stand alone set top box outperformed it using the same antenna. However, band IV performance is satisfactory.

To be fair, TV tuners with E4000 are considerably cheaper, less than a third of the price of TV tuners with the Af901x chipset! And the Af901x covers bands III-V only. So effectively this like comparing a Chinese low cost passenger car to a German sedan! ;)

Conceivably, a preamplifier may improve performance on band III. It would be cool to try something which attenuates the FM band (which appears to be the predominant source of bleed through). These units (priced from $75) for example, might suit such a task:

Kingray MHW24FE (http://www.academytv.com.au/products/Kingray-MHW24FE--F-Type-VHF%7B47%7DUHF-Requires-PSK06%7B47%7D08.html)

Kingray MHW34F (http://www.academytv.com.au/products/Kingray-MHW34F-Non-Sheilded-F-Type-Requires-PSK06%7B47%7D08.html)

Kingray MHW24FS (http://www.academytv.com.au/products/Kingray-MHW24FS-Fully-Sheilded-F-Type-Requires-PSK06%7B47%7D08.html)

Obviously a lot of other cheaper possibilties might help as well, for instance a band I-II trap (http://www.hillsantenna.com.au/en/Products/Product_subcat/Product?cat=14&ProductID=539) before a high quality wideband preamplifier.

fmdxing
10-07-2012, 02:35 PM
I just found a 10 foot USB cable in the office cupboard. By swapping this cable for the existing 39 inch cable the differences in Band III sensitivity described above disappeared... those absent decodes or partial decodes were remedied. :o

kg4efq
10-07-2012, 06:05 PM
I ordered a second Realtek RTL2832U + E4000 DVB-T USB Tuner off of Ebay and got it in the mail on Thursday. First chance to play with this card today and I find it to be even better than ezcap version for pulling in weak signals. I adjust the sample rate down to 1.4 MSPS, uncheck the RTL AGC & Tuner AGC and crank up the RF Gain as high as I can. The ezcap has about 19 db of gain while the new card has 49 db of gain. With the RF Gain up to maximum pulled in WQPR 88.7 in Muscle Shoals, AL (175 Miles away) and have been listening to the signal for nearly two hours with just some occasional bleed over from WEYY in Tallapoosa, GA (25 Miles away). This is connected to my new Antennacraft C-490 30 ft in the air with a Radio Shack 15-259 High Gain Signal Amplifer. The card is on a 3 ft USB extension cable with an RF Choke on the PC end of the USB cable to cut down on spurious signals. Eventually I will mount the card in a shielded case to improve it even more. Well worth the $22 and the 4 day wait to get it from California. Still having issues getting the card to work on my Windows 7 64 machine, but works great on my Toshiba laptop running Vista. Great catch by spunker88 & amfmtvdtvbrla for turning me on to this card.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/DVB-T-USB-TV-RTL-SDR-FM-DAB-Radio-Tuner-Receiver-Stick-Realtek-RTL2832U-E4000-/251151392290?

spunker88
10-08-2012, 07:16 AM
I'm using mine on Windows 7 64 bit. All I did when I first got the tuner was plug it in the USB port, waited for Windows to try to find a driver and after about 30 seconds or so it said it failed to find a driver. I never used the little CD that came with it. Then I opened Zadig, found the tuner and replaced its driver. After that I rebooted and it has been working ever since.

Mike-CT
10-11-2012, 02:05 PM
A few weeks ago I ordered a second dongle from China. I had one already with an E4000 tuner and I wanted to try out one with a R820T tuner. After about a month I finally got it (it spent over a week sitting in Chicago before arriving here) and it installed easily. Something wasn't quite right so I took it apart and found an E4000 tuner chip inside. This one is an EZCap dongle. The packaging says it's good down to 48.25mhz. When running Zadig the dongle shows up as Bulk-In Interface 0, not RTL2832.

Anyway, as long as it works, I don't care. I notice that it seems just a hair weaker than the other dongle. I ran my FM antenna to a splitter, then split to both computers and ovserved. There's less overload and the sensitivity on FM is just a hair less. But both will pick up WBZ-FM Sports in Boston, which is around 80 miles.

I noticed Richard said he unchecked both AGC settings and pushed up the RF gain to max. I can't do that. It raises up the noise floor and overloads bad on both. I guess he doesn't have a ton of locals like I have.

I wouldn't call either one a DX machine for FM, but nice to take with your laptop on field trips.

My main point is just a word of caution. Just because the packaging and advertising says one thing, you may get something else. I might have returned the thing if it wasn't going to take 4 weeks to get back there and another 4 weeks back to me. It worked so the guy got + feedback.

fmdxing
10-12-2012, 09:09 PM
I noticed Richard said he unchecked both AGC settings and pushed up the RF gain to max. I can't do that. It raises up the noise floor and overloads bad on both. I guess he doesn't have a ton of locals like I have.


When tested at a location where the local TV and FM broadcasts are 7 mi distant, I found that as well. RTL Gain & Tuner Gain must be disabled at that receiving location for satisfactory performance.

kg4efq
10-13-2012, 07:55 AM
I am about 25 Miles NW of Atlanta so lots of signals coming in but also close enough to get stations in Rome,GA, Birmingham, Huntsville, Chattanooga and Montgomery . I have been trying to log as many stations as I can using 2nd card I purchased and spent a good chunk of Wednesday logging stations. With the antenna turned toward the southwest toward Montgomery I recorded 3 stations in Montgomery including 104.3 WHLW in Luverne, AL (13.5 KW 154 miles away) Several in Birmingham including the RDS signal from WQEN in Trussville, AL (121 miles). One interesting one that I intercepted Wednesday was W257AZ on 99.3 a 250 watt translator on top of Lookout Mountain from 80 Miles. Pretty impressive considering the strongest translator I ever picked up on the old card was 35 miles away but it also helps that I good a good antenna too.
Richard

spunker88
10-13-2012, 08:42 AM
If you haven't updated to the latest nightly build in the last week or two, go ahead and update. They have added a few useful features. If you originally installed from this site (http://rtlsdr.org/softwarewindows), you can just run install.bat anytime you want to update. They have added built in recording, unfortunately its WAV only. They have also added an offset tuning option for the RTLSDR tuners. Instead of there being noise in the middle of the tuned spectrum window, its offset. This allows you to tune on the center frequency and still have good sensitivity.

pjdyer
10-19-2012, 05:36 PM
A fellow in the UK has had good luck with this unit in the 30-50 MHz range.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110959977043?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
Awaiting its arrival here.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

spunker88
10-19-2012, 06:11 PM
A fellow in the UK has had good luck with this unit in the 30-50 MHz range.
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/110959977043?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1439.l2649
Awaiting its arrival here.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Let us know if it works in that range when it arrives, I may have to order one. There are some local police/fire scanners in the ~40mhz area, also would be useful frequencies to monitor during ES opening on days where the MUF stays low.

fmdxing
10-20-2012, 03:24 AM
Pentium 4 clocked at 3Ghz or newer is required to run SDR

According to the listing...

Well that really sucks! My desktop PC only has an AMD Athlon XP 2.8 GHz processor. ;)

SDR# struggles a little with the E4000 with an Intel Cerelon 2 GHz processor on my laptop PC. It's perfectly functional as long the sampling rate is kept as low as possible. :cool:

pjdyer
10-20-2012, 05:00 PM
That sure leaves this Acer Aspire 5517 Win7 laptop with AMD Athlon TF-20 1.6 GHz in the dust ...
The Win7 e-machine desktop with a dual-core Pentium E5800 at 3.2 GHz ought to suffice (being where the SDR# finally worked).

73, Pat - WA5IYX

Jacob Norlund
10-25-2012, 09:20 PM
Hello,

I recently bought a "Digital Energy"-branded RTL2832 E4000 tuner. I installed the drivers as well as HDSDR. When I click "Start" in HDR and tune to a strong local FM frequency (9 miles away, 100 kW, receivable even with no antenna on my XDR-F1HD), all I hear is noise. The same with local weather radio, which should be receivable on any radio capable of tuning in the frequency. The waterfall displays activity around any frequency I tune in, regardless of whether or not there is actually a signal on it, with the "signal" dropping off the farther you get away from the center. Any hints or help? Thanks.

fmdxing
10-26-2012, 01:11 AM
Ditto with HDSDR. The only programme that runs successfully for me is SDR # version 1.0.0.851. HTH

Mike-CT
10-26-2012, 09:41 AM
Ditto also. I got it to run with HDSDR but there are a few more steps you have to do in order to get it going...steps that SDR# setup doesn't have (an ExtIO file, for instance). So go with SDR# instead and it should work. Do the auto-install of SDR#, then run Zadig and make sure it does load the driver (with no error messages). The links are all here in previous posts. If I remember correctly, the auto-install will run Zadig for you.

pjdyer
10-30-2012, 12:10 AM
The unit from the UK (actually Jersey) arrived in the mail Friday (and required a signature). I did install it on this Acer 5517, but the CPU is so marginal that the SDR# with it is sluggish and often freezes (even with just a few other aps running). On 88-108 it seems perhaps a little more robust to intermod overload. (I was occupied this past weekend with the CQWW ham contest, and much of Monday watching WNBC streaming H. Sandy news.) With 30-50 MHz I'm not sure if it's performing properly - I may need some more e-mail exchanges with Mike Fallon in the UK.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

fmdxing
10-30-2012, 02:57 AM
Certainly some A-B tests between the E4000 & R820T in terms of FM overload immunity would be interesting. I think we are all in agreement that that is definitely an area of weakness anywhere near urban towers. I have compared the E4000 to an older PCI card with the SAA7134/FI1216 chipset and the latter killed it. Having said that FM performance is a moot point for my own purposes, but the more information that can be gathered the better. :D

Eventually, of course... even here the news is awash with live coverage of the tropical storm.

ukdx
10-30-2012, 07:17 AM
Two screenshots

fmdxing
10-31-2012, 09:07 PM
Apologies if this has been mentioned before & I have missed it but there is some alternative software which might be more specific to the FM broadcast band than the Windoze breeds such as SDR #. For the tuners supported by the Realtek RTL 2832U, a range of FM-specific software for Linux can be found here (http://superkuh.com/rtlsdr.html#superkuh). The simplest way to install the driver & software can be found here (http://blog.opensecurityresearch.com/2012/06/getting-started-with-gnu-radio-and-rtl.html) under The Really Easy Way.

pjdyer
11-01-2012, 09:28 PM
With results like this on this Acer 5517 I've got to wonder what chip is in that unit from Jersey.

73, Pat - WA5IYX

fmdxing
11-02-2012, 03:04 AM
Pat's post reminded me that I bought a passive bandpass filter several weeks ago! The results:

Using SDR # on analogue UHF, performance with the E4000 without a masthead amplifier was very impressive for $20. For pure troposcatter and jet reflected signals, performance on TV audio (with filter settings generally approximating to 110-80 kHz bandwidth) was comparable to the Leadtek Winfast TV2000XP which uses the BT878a chipset. (Obviously, TV video in USB mode in SDR # is able to be heard on the E4000 before the Winfast TV2000XP provides any visible indication of a signal).

The bandpass filter tamed things as follows: attenuation on VHF band one is 12 decibels & VHF band two (FM) is 30 decibels. Insertion loss is less than 2 decibels.

Even taking into account that hit of 30 decibels, the FM band continues to be problematic with ghosts of FM transmitters within 15 kilometres (9 miles) in relative abundance if I set the gain settings any higher than midpoint.

To sum up: in this particular urban location (that is YMMV!), the E4000 is most certainly suitable for tropospheric UHF DX, whilst FM performance cannot be substantially improved.

I haven't had a chance to try it, but if there is any significant deficiencies or improvements in UHF performance experienced by using the Fitipower FC0013 tuner instead (which seems to be more readily available e.g. EZcap EzTV645 (http://gm7something.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/sdr-cheap/)) I will elaborate.

fmdxing
11-03-2012, 02:53 AM
This afternoon I installed SDR sharp version 1.0.0.1000 (http://rtlsdr.org/start) on a new PC with a fresh install of XP Professional 2002 SP2. I ran into the following error when attempting to start SDR sharp: 'Application failed to initialise properly'. I have not encountered this before on other systems but perhaps this might be useful to someone else.
To fix this error, these rather large downloads are required (roughly 70 megs). Please be aware that Internet Explorer 6 or above is needed to access the Microsoft download site.

http://www.microsoft.com/en-au/download/details.aspx?id=25
http://www.microsoft.com/de-de/download/details.aspx?id=21

mikegmach1
01-16-2013, 05:43 PM
recently I bought both the R820T and ADS Tech RDX-155. My biggest problem installing these radios was that my old Dell's XP was out of date. After a several hour update both installed easily. I like the versatility of the R820T but I find the RDX-155 to do better on weak stations. If I could get the other software to work with it it might be a very nice DX radio.

jdh1974
01-24-2013, 08:45 PM
I just ordered the Newsky TV28T w/- RTL2832U + R820T, along with an upconverter from MF and HF reception. This would allow me to tune down low enough for the AM broadcast band. Both were bought on eBay from NooElec in the US.

My query is which SDR software to use: SDR# or HDSDR. I like the look of HDSDR but researching around, many say SDR# is best. Do they both more or less have the same features, especially:

- RDS decoding
- Wide and narrow FM
- adjustable bandwidth settings. For example 110kHz bandwidth on a broadcast FM station.

I also plan to download "Dream" for decoding DRM radio.

Any hints/suggestions appreciated.
cheers.

Mike-CT
01-24-2013, 11:08 PM
I would definitely go with SDR#. I was able to get HDSDR to set up, but it took a while. You have to find the ExtIO driver and then install it, but it's not the easiest thing to do. If you do the auto-install of SDR# and the drivers, the entire installation goes much smoother and you'll be up and running much faster.

HDSDR uses more resources than SDR#, which may affect your computer's performance. Your mileage may vary.

spunker88
01-25-2013, 06:48 AM
Didn't know anybody was mass producing an unconverter for these tuners, I'll have to check that out. Let us know how the performance at lower frequencies is with this thing connected.

billmalona
02-05-2013, 08:48 AM
I just jumped in and ordered an SDR fob too: "DVB-T USB TV RTL-SDR FM+DAB Radio Tuner Receiver Stick Realtek RTL2832U + E4000 " off EBay for $22.85, got free shipping from a USA vendor. Should arrive by next Wed 2/13/13. Looks like I'll also need an MPX to F-connector adapter. Will let you know how it goes!
Bill

Humberto
02-05-2013, 04:34 PM
Hi! I get one of this several days ago from a vendor trought Amazon, $32.00 total including shiping to El Salvador. Here is a screen capture from my laptop with the HDSDR software, that was the first software to work, now I use SDRSharp that work better for FM. All my local FM band looks like this portion I have line of sight to tthe most of FM stations from San Salvador, El Salvador. BTW the signals was comming from the antenna cable only because the antenna stick fell apart when I did open the envelope from the mail.13785

pjdyer
02-05-2013, 05:43 PM
Envious off that much FM spectrum without the "shoulders" of HD IBOC on the stations (NOT envious of locals every 400-kHz tho!)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0GWxCyAfe4

73, Pat - WA5IYX

billmalona
02-08-2013, 08:56 PM
I just jumped in and ordered an SDR fob too: "DVB-T USB TV RTL-SDR FM+DAB Radio Tuner Receiver Stick Realtek RTL2832U + E4000 " off EBay for $22.85, got free shipping from a USA vendor. Should arrive by next Wed 2/13/13. Looks like I'll also need an MPX to F-connector adapter. Will let you know how it goes!
Bill

Arrived today, 2/8. I was up and listening in 15 minutes. Used SDR#. No problems. It has the MCX not PAL, and the 820 chip. I'm thrilled. Can't wait to get my Yagi hooked up. Moral of the story...don't believe that those E Bay pictures are what you'll get in the mail! LOL!

jdh1974
02-10-2013, 06:28 PM
I got my SDR stick in the mail today. Was getting worried it wouldn't arrive...parcels from the US usually only take 5 to 7 days to get to Australia. I noticed, it had been opened and inspected by customs - anyone else have this. This may have delayed it a little. Anyway, will post later once I get everything set up and I have a chance to play around with it.

jdh1974
02-11-2013, 06:34 AM
I can't seem to get Zadig to install the device driver for my RTL dongle. When I click on replace driver, it comes up with an error message and when I click continue, it comes up saying the driver installation failed. Am stumped at the moment. Also when I plug the dongle in, windows comes up saying found new hardware but I don't what to tell it to do. It says about finding the driver(s) from Windows update but can't find any where to allow you to do that.

13809

Forgot to mention...am running Windows XP SP3. With that in mind, I downloaded the XP version of Zadig, still no luck.

Mike-CT
02-11-2013, 11:10 AM
When windows says "found new hardware" don't do anything. Ignore it.

This folder contains the auto-install setup and also has the Zadig.exe that works with my 3 computers that have XP Pro on them. These are older files so may make things easier for you.

https://www.box.com/s/5iamc4d5w65rg6xyptu3

You might want to delete your zadig file and use the one I give you instead. If that fails to work, use the auto install which already has Zadig in it and auto installs it for you.

Also what you show in your Zadig .jpg is not correct. Instead of HID Infrared Remote, etc you should have an option of either RTL2832 or Bulk Interface 0. Select one of those instead!! And in the driver box it should only say RTL2832. Hope this helps.

jdh1974
02-11-2013, 04:32 PM
Thanks for trying to help MIke. Unfortunately no such luck. I do get a bulk-in interface 0, but when selected it says none in the drivers box. By the way, it seems I can't open SDR# program itself - it comes up with a SDRSharp.exe - .NET Framework initialization error saying "unable to find a version of the runtime to run this application". Hmmmm.....

Meanwhile, the Laptop which runs Vista did load Zadig ok and install the driver, and SDR# did open, but still ran into errors. Basically it might recognise the dongle then not recognise it, and the program crashing etc. Looks like a long week! lol

UPDATE: It does appear to be functioning on the Laptop this morning...however, the audio is extremely choppy, what settings are most likely to affect this?
OK, it appears I have the audio issue under control - it was the latency. Works well except....it keep crashing. It runs for just a short while and then comes up saying it has stopped working.

Mike-CT
02-11-2013, 06:18 PM
Well I tried.

Make sure you have USB 2.0 ports. It will not work with USB 1.0.
Make sure you have .net framework 3.0 or newer installed.

I can't think of anything else. Perhaps someone else can.

jdh1974
02-11-2013, 06:46 PM
Hi Mike,

That's fine, I appreciate your effort to help. I am currently doing some updates to Windows, so fingers crossed this will fix the .NET framework issue.

Meanwhile, at one stage I managed to get SDR# on the laptop to not crash. Surfed around for awhile, including my local FMs, when the laptop battery ran low. Turned on the mains power to keep going and charge the battery - SDR# stopped working again. Hopefully, it will return to it's working state once it has finished charging.

jdh1974
02-12-2013, 04:42 PM
The .NET issue on the desktop has now been fixed. SDR# opens up now. Have decided to post more screen shots in case anyone can offer anymore suggestions.138271382813829

jdh1974
02-12-2013, 05:06 PM
Okay, I seem to be getting somewhere. I now have got Windows to recognise the RTL device on the USB, but am still having trouble getting Zadig to replace the drivers. See photo.
13830

jdh1974
02-17-2013, 05:26 PM
Hi all, still trying to figure out what to do with my Zadig driver install. Thought I would post up the screenshot of the log on Zadig, in case it offers any clue to anyone, cheers.
13869

spunker88
02-17-2013, 09:31 PM
I have no experience with installing this on XP. Is that the correct version of the driver for XP as the number 6.1.xxxx is the version number used for Windows 7 where XP is 5.1.xxxx. But maybe that number is just a coincidence and has nothing to do with Windows version.

Mike-CT
02-17-2013, 10:03 PM
What I see on your zadig screenshot looks to be correct. I remember reading that the newer Zadigs don't work with XP, which is why I made my Zadig file available because that's what I used on my 2 desktops and one laptop to make SDR# work. All three run XP Pro and are between 2.1 and 3.2ghz.

When you unplug the dongle does windows say "New hardware found" when you plug it back? I'm wondering if the computer recognizes the dongle being there.

Over the past few days I have the E4000 dongle running with the newest version of SDR Radio Console. Setup is tricky and it helps if you've used SDR console for MW DXing just for the familiarity of how the program works. But you need Zadig installed before it will work.

jdh1974
02-17-2013, 10:27 PM
Can unplug the dongle and plug it back in with no new instances of Found New Hardware. Too hot today (40 deg C), my brain hurts!! lol

fmdxing
02-18-2013, 02:45 AM
In Zadig, the box with the USB ID (http://rtlsdr.org/hardware-usb) for your Rafael tuner should read:
0bda 2832

The screenshot shows the ID for the Elonics tuner:
0bda 2838

Perhaps try the Realtek 2832 driver for XP here. (http://www.trust.com/products/productdrivers.aspx?artnr=16738) This works fine for me.

Does the tuner work with the supplied software? For example, the Elonics and Fitipower tuners come with Blaze or Newsky tuning software. Note: Zadig will prevent the device from being accessible to the supplied software once the driver is properly installed as a SDR. However using the supplied software first establishes that the driver is probably installed/tuner works with the OS.

jdh1974
02-18-2013, 03:42 AM
Getting more interesting all the time. I got no supplied software...wonder if when my package was opened for inspection by customs, they neglected to put it back in? I better email NooElec. Maybe there was not meant to be one, since it was sold as being for RTL SDR?

fmdxing
02-18-2013, 04:11 AM
Maybe there was not meant to be one, since it was sold as being for RTL SDR?

Makes sense to me. It is not required for anything other than testing the tuner works and of course non-SDR functions like DVB and DAB reception. FM is covered too but manual tuning & setting weak stations as 'presets' may be problematic.

I'm unsure whether trial or demo versions of Presto PVR5 or Blaze HDTV6 are available. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable can assist.

fmdxing
02-18-2013, 04:29 AM
Over the past few days I have the E4000 dongle running with the newest version of SDR Radio Console. Setup is tricky and it helps if you've used SDR console for MW DXing just for the familiarity of how the program works. But you need Zadig installed before it will work.

Have you found that FM reception is any better using SDR Radio? I find SDR # unusable on FM, regardless of the gain settings. In a very bad location like this, FM reception on the ADS Tech USB tuner is a trillion times better - due to excellent dynamic range.

jdh1974
02-18-2013, 04:43 AM
[QUOTE=fmdxing;26206
Perhaps try the Realtek 2832 driver for XP here. (http://www.trust.com/products/productdrivers.aspx?artnr=16738) This works fine for me.
[/QUOTE]

Next to where it says Windows Xp, which one do I download? I presumed it was the bottom one and not the "TV software only no driver". In any case am still getting nowhere. Yawn, might have to sleep on it I think! Mind you, I do now have a Realtek DTV USB Device folder in my Realtek folder in program files now.

Mike-CT
02-18-2013, 08:42 AM
Actually I'm not sure what I think about SDR Radio yet. I do still get overload. I don't see an RF gain slider like SDR# has. The most bandwidth I can get is 1mhz. How you select the dongle is confusing and I mostly figured it out by accident (and by reading some posts on Skywaves.) Maximum filtering seems to be around 200khz and you can manually narrow it from there. RDS does not scroll like SDR#. I'll have to post some screenshots because those will explain it better than I can.

At the moment, I'm not sure what I think about it except that it is an interesting program.

Oh ,BTW...I didn't notice obda2838 in the box (not 2832). Maybe Jamie should take apart the dongle and read what's on the chip to see what he really has. You can take those things apart easily. Just get a magnifying glass first because the print is small.

fmdxing
02-18-2013, 02:55 PM
SDR# is excellent for decoding RDS with Radio Text instantly and observing the spectrum. Unfortunately, to hear the most distant permanent FM stations (143 miles) here, I need to have the E4000 tuner sampling rate (https://www.thecraag.com/RTL-SDR#Technical) set at or near the maximum (3.2 Msps). The laptop's CPU can't handle it. Having the sampling rate lower causes those stations to be masked by 'local vomit'. I will look forward to the screen shots of SDR Radio. I've read she is less resource-hungry too. :D

jdh1974
02-18-2013, 04:00 PM
Another update:

After uninstalling the device as well as uninstalling the drivers
from the link fmdxing provided on the WTFDA forums, I got back to the found new
hardware. Again, I reinstalled that driver download fmdxing linked to in the
forums and used it for the dongle (can't remember whether I used the found
new hardware tool, or just used update drivers in device manager).

Long story short, I now have the drop down menu recognising the dongle as
this: "Realtek 2832U device (Interface 0)", but I still can't get Zadig to
install the driver.

Interestingly, SDR# seems to know it is there too, but you can't adjust the
RF gain and when you press play, it comes up with an error saying "Cannot
access RTL device". I surely must be getting somewhere!

1387013871

jdh1974
02-21-2013, 07:13 PM
Oh ,BTW...I didn't notice obda2838 in the box (not 2832).

Mike, that appears to be correct. See here (http://www.rtlsdr.org/hardware-usb)

Still can't get Zadig to install the correct drivers. Though SDR# is recognising the dongle being there. Just can't adjust the RF gain and when you press play it says "Cannot access RTL device". I am no longer getting the Windows - No Disk exception error in Zadig. Just driver installation failed.

Mike-CT
02-21-2013, 07:43 PM
I went back to the posts I saved from the RTL0SDR group and found two things:
1. If you use a patchcord instead of plugging directly into the USB port, try it without the cable.
2. That dongle will not work with Zadig 2.01.160. You need a older version like 1.1.1.139 but 2.01.154 supposedly would work with the EZCap.

And don't manually run Zadig. Use the auto-install.

That's all I could find from the Yahoo Group posts.

w9wi
04-05-2014, 08:21 AM
Has anyone here got SDR# running on Ubuntu?

I got my tuner yesterday. SDR# works nicely on Windows in the hamshack -- unfortunately I don't have a TV antenna feed in there.

I've hit a brick wall trying to get SDR# working on the Ubuntu machine in the den.

I'm following the instructions on http://rtlsdr.org/softwarelinux . The problem I'm having, is that when I load sdrsharp.sln into monodevelop, I can't click on the menu item Build, Build All. It's greyed out.

Googling has not been helpful. I see a British ham is having the same issue but nobody seems to have provided an answer.

Maybe when the contractors finish rebuilding my bathroom I'll just run a long RF cable into the hamshack.....

Mike-CT
04-05-2014, 01:01 PM
Doug, there is an RTL-SDR group on Facebook. I've been there a month and some of the people there seems to be really knowledgeable about how it works.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/rtlsdrdongle/

It probably would be worthwhile to ask over there.

w9wi
04-07-2014, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the pointer, I've joined.

I got gqrx working on this machine. I'm afraid it's missing some of the features I like on SDR# though, especially the RDS decoder. (so I'll keep working on getting SDR# going on Linux)

Of course, now that it's working, the RF cable in this room is too short:)

w9wi
04-08-2014, 10:01 AM
I got it. Here's what I posted in the Facebook group:


I got it.

The fact that the contents of sdrsharp.sln appear in the monodevelop window does NOT mean that the .sln file is "open". In fact, it means it could NOT be opened, because of the version number conflict mentioned in the instructions.

You have to change the 12 at the end of the line to 11, then close & reopen the file.

Now, the contents of the .sln file don't appear in the window -- but you can select the active configuration and build the project.

And it works.

The audio stutters, I'm going to have to work on that. But I have a working SDR with RDS on the Linux box. Now all I have to do is figure out where I lost my RF cable:)

This is going to be interesting.

JVL DXer
10-08-2014, 11:42 PM
I got my sdr last Thursday and sitting outside w/ it on my laptop, it SUCKS I didn't get any Milwaukee's and I can't tell what anything above 200mhz is, I thought for sure id find KJVL ATIS but I didn't, my computer is downstairs so it's almost a joke, any way to help this?

Mike-CT
10-09-2014, 05:01 PM
Ok, you have one of the dongles. So do I.
Janesville to Milwaukee looks to be around 60 miles. If the Milwaukee FMers come in good on a car radio you should be able to hear them with the dongle. In my case, with Boston FMs east about 70 miles, I need to hook up an outdoor yagi to hear them. Can you at least hear your local FMs?
I don't think a wire hanging off the dongle or a dipole attached to it will be much help.

Just to give you an idea, with the dongle running on my old Dell laptop on my kitchen table and a wire for an antenna, I can hear my local Hartford FMs plus Springfield locals but for New Haven (WPLR/WKCI @ 50 miles) I have to position it just right or nothing.

The things work best with outdoor antennas.

w9wi
10-09-2014, 09:56 PM
JVL: try backing off on the RF gain. (I forget exactly how it's labeled on the program...) Too much, and strong out-of-band signals will swamp the more distant signals with noise. 107.3 is probably strong enough to cause that.

Mike-CT
10-10-2014, 06:05 AM
In the configuration menu, uncheck all of the boxes. The gain slider has minimum gain on the left side and maximum on the right side. If you do get overload, move it to the left until it goes away.

JVL DXer
10-11-2014, 11:50 AM
Ok, I was at like 37 and I wonderd what those were. Milwaukee's come in ok on car radios but there's quite a few times it loses stereo

How do I know what the things outside of the fm band are, I found noaa radio but that's it