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Thread: SDRplay thoughts requested

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
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    Champaign, IL
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    Default SDRplay thoughts requested

    After getting the TV DXing bug with my HDHomeRun Connect and indoor antenna, I'm looking to check out FM DXing. While I have an old Radio Shack DX-392, it's rather bulky and lacks some of the features I'm looking for. I'd like something with RDS, ability to record and cover the AM/FM/SW and ideally the VHF/UHF bands including NOAA weather radio frequencies between 162.400-162.550. I'm leaning towards an SDR vs a portable AM/FM/SW radio due to the ability to record sections of the band and go back later to listen to it. I've tried the $20 RTL-SDR dongles and the local stations seem to blast the whole band. I'd like something that runs on either a Mac, Android tablet, or Raspberry Pi.

    The most logical choice seems to be the SDRplay RSP2. (current Airspy requires a separate box for HF frequencies) Obviously the SDRuno software wouldn't work for me (without Windows virtualization), but I should be able to use other SDR software with the SDRplay. I've watched a few videos on Youtube of the SDRplay but would still like to hear first hand reports of this unit from folks who do DXing with it. Are you able to pick out the weaker FM broadcast stations from the local powerhouse stations? Is it possible to record the NOAA weather radio band (very small bandwidth I would think) and differentiate between the 7 frequencies without the local one blasting the rest away like on the cheap RTL-SDR dongles?

    Thanks for your advice!
    Stan - K9SWX
    Champaign, IL
    https://www.k9swx.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Enfield, CT
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    You might want to read the two reviews I did on the RSP1 and RSP2. They can be found here on the main page, left side.

    I prefer to use HDSDR software because it has that big analog S-meter which really helps when you try to phase stations. I also use virtual audio cable with RDSspy because that method is more sensitive to RDS...better than SDRuno.

    Yes you can record the weather band and listen to each frequency, as long as there's a station there.

    These SDRs so much better than dongles that you need to try one to see for yourself.
    Mike B.
    Enfield, CT
    -72 30' W/41 59' N
    FN31RX

    Online since 1999 and still going at
    mikesdx.com

    Archives: The Original Mike's TV/FM Page with Tuner Mods and Lots of Old Stuff

  3. #3
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    Mike... I'm wondering, when we go to ATSC 3.0 DTV format, will new SDRs be required or will a software update be enough to bring the current SDRs up to date?

    Have you, or anyone for that matter, seen any new DTV receivers capable of decoding the new DTV format?

    73, Ed NN2E
    Owner / Operator - Murphy's Law Test Site & Thunderstorm Proving Grounds
    "You Might Be a Redneck If...
    Your TV is on 24/7.
    Your TV has been permanently on for over a decade.
    The only time your TV is off is during a power outage.
    Your TV gets 512 channels, but you go outside to use the bathroom.
    Your new TV is sitting on top of your old TV.
    Your TV costs more than all of your other furniture.
    Your deer-stand has a TV antenna on it.
    Your cable provider has no idea that you exist."
    Jeff Foxworthy

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by NN2E View Post
    Mike... I'm wondering, when we go to ATSC 3.0 DTV format, will new SDRs be required or will a software update be enough to bring the current SDRs up to date?

    Have you, or anyone for that matter, seen any new DTV receivers capable of decoding the new DTV format?
    Ed I think you meant STBs instead of SDRs. Ever since I dropped cable and went to OTT television I've been following this on some cord cutter groups. The honest answer is that at this point, nobody knows! I found a recent article on 3.0 on the tablotv website. It was written in May. According to that article there are some 3.0 tests coming up in the fall of this year. The link is here.

    As far as any 3.0 TVs being available, I don't think so. I think the article says no.
    Mike B.
    Enfield, CT
    -72 30' W/41 59' N
    FN31RX

    Online since 1999 and still going at
    mikesdx.com

    Archives: The Original Mike's TV/FM Page with Tuner Mods and Lots of Old Stuff

  5. #5
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    Actually I was curious about the SDRs... I'm guessing, since they're just computer controlled receivers, a software update would be all that's required to make them ATSC 3.0 compatible.

    I sure hope the next batch of STBs includes one as DX friendly as the Insignia / Zenith boxes so many of us are currently using.

    73, Ed NN2E
    Owner / Operator - Murphy's Law Test Site & Thunderstorm Proving Grounds
    "You Might Be a Redneck If...
    Your TV is on 24/7.
    Your TV has been permanently on for over a decade.
    The only time your TV is off is during a power outage.
    Your TV gets 512 channels, but you go outside to use the bathroom.
    Your new TV is sitting on top of your old TV.
    Your TV costs more than all of your other furniture.
    Your deer-stand has a TV antenna on it.
    Your cable provider has no idea that you exist."
    Jeff Foxworthy

  6. #6
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    Enfield, CT
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    Quote Originally Posted by NN2E View Post
    Actually I was curious about the SDRs... I'm guessing, since they're just computer controlled receivers, a software update would be all that's required to make them ATSC 3.0 compatible.

    73, Ed NN2E
    Owner / Operator - Murphy's Law Test Site & Thunderstorm Proving Grounds
    All you can do with an SDR is watch analog video carriers and DTV pilots. So if all we're looking at is DTV pilot carriers, then I don't think that changes with ATSC 3.0. Or...does it? (Question for Doug or Trip).
    Mike B.
    Enfield, CT
    -72 30' W/41 59' N
    FN31RX

    Online since 1999 and still going at
    mikesdx.com

    Archives: The Original Mike's TV/FM Page with Tuner Mods and Lots of Old Stuff

  7. #7
    Join Date
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    Pleasant View, TN EM66
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    As Ed says, it's just software.. SDRs with a bandwidth of 6MHz or more certainly have the *hardware* capability to decode DTV. I've seen a link to a software package that's supposed to decode DVB-T on a SDRPlay RSP-1 or -2. Of course, that's not ATSC (either variety) but it suggests the processing power exists.

    There are two problems with ATSC-1.

    - First, the 8VSB modulation method is unique to ATSC and radically different from the flavors of COFDM used by just about every other type of digital video transmission. It would be necessary to write code specifically intended to decode ATSC-1; you couldn't reuse code from any other system.

    - Second, ATSC-1 uses a proprietary audio codec. (Dolby Digital) You have to get a patent license from Dolby to distribute software that decodes the audio.

    ATSC-3 addresses the first issue by using a flavor of COFDM. I don't honestly recall whether it uses only open codecs.
    Doug Smith W9WI
    Pleasant View, TN EM66
    http://www.w9wi.com

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