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Anyone use a SDR (software-defined radio)? Updated my monitoring setup pix/info Login/Join 
always with a hat or sunscreen
Picture of bald1
posted
I'm asking about the SDR because I'm intrigued by both the tremendous signal processing capability and graphical frequency displays that rival very expensive hardware. That and the changes to my monitoring "shack" explained below where the addition of an inexpensive SDR might prove quite beneficial and entertaining.

The ones that have popped to the top of my list are:
--RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongle $26.95 (thru their site and not eBay)
--SDRPlay RSP1A $119.95 (HAM Radio Outlet)
These would be run initially on my android smartphone and later (possibly) on a tablet running windows or android OS. I'd need a SMA antenna adapter and an OTG (on the go) cable with power connector as a minimum for the smartphone approach.





I'm currently running:
-- 1984 Yaesu FRG-7 with Gilfer Radio AGC and Murata 4kHz ceramic filter mods and a Novatech 100Hz crystal calibrator
-- 1991 Sony ICF-SW77 (all capacitors replaced in 2008)
-- 2007 Palstar R30CC (dual Collins mechanical filters)
-- 1998 Radio Shack Pro-64 handheld scanner
-- Autek QF-1A audio filter
-- a pair of Diamond CX-210A antenna switches



My scanner equipment all predates trunking and widespread encryption use. My rooftop discone antenna was damaged by a major hail storm a good number of years back and was removed when the roof was redone.

Also the 1990 Radio Shack PRO-2005 developed a chirping across all frequencies and the 2000 Sony ICF-SC1 evidenced an audio output stage problem with hardly any volume generated. So both were retired although the Sony might be easily fixable. Just haven't tried.

So it has been some time since I used my old scanner equipment. Instead I've been using broadcastify.com on both my desktop computer and smartphone for PD, Fire, EMS, etc. reception. Air traffic is meager around here and military traffic is encrypted.

I had been using an effective Radio Shack DSP-40 signal processor but it developed a power supply input jack issue I haven't bothered to try to fix yet. Instead I pulled out my old less effective Autek audio filter and placed it in service to help improve signal readability.

The 2008 Kaito KA-1103 aka Degen DG-1103 (the much better original PLL version and not the later less sensitive DSP flavor) is still in use but sitting in the kitchen.

Here's a shot of the past monitoring setup which includes some other miscellaneous items I haven't described here:



As said I'd appreciate input regarding your SDR equipment and usage experiences. Thanks!

This message has been edited. Last edited by: bald1,



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
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Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I have an SDRPlay and like it.

Depending on your location you may need a filter to attenuate the high power AM stations.
 
Posts: 3830 | Location: UNK | Registered: October 04, 2009Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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quote:
Originally posted by Jimineer:
I have an SDRPlay and like it.


Thanks. Which model? And are you running SDRUno or SDRTouch software or something else?



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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cannot help with anything to do with the SDR radio operation. The photo on the wall of the 24hr clock matches the one that i purchased new early 1978. It still keeps very accurate time with good battery installed. ................. de KL7JIU .. aka ..Drill sgt.
 
Posts: 741 | Location: denham springs , la | Registered: October 19, 2019Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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Yup. Big Grin QTR-24 World Clock by Yaesu.

http://www.delta-alfa.com/qtr-24/
http://foxtango.org/QTR-24%20Page/QTR-24%20Page.htm



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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Nobody else? Only Jimineer?



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I'm not a radio person, but that's impressive. Very nice.




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Posts: 7148 | Location: Nowhere the constitution is not honored | Registered: February 01, 2008Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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Fixed the DSP-40 and hooked it up following the Autek QF-1A from the Palstar R30CC. Using a R/Shack wood finish Minimus 7 speaker which provides really nice mono broadcast audio.

Quick sanity check found the reception of KGYN 1210-AM out of Oklahoma to be quite good with both filters optimizing the readability of their signal. Big Grin



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I am currently using the SDR Play RSP2Pro with
SDRuno on a desktop Win7 machine and it works fine. I use a 65 ft. wire outside and picks up most stations well. It takes a little work getting used to it but makes a fine receiver.
 
Posts: 7 | Location: Central Va. | Registered: August 15, 2011Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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quote:
Originally posted by unit338:
I am currently using the SDR Play RSP2Pro with
SDRuno on a desktop Win7 machine


Ah! Thank you so much. This is the kind of feedback I had hoped to get.

This message has been edited. Last edited by: bald1,



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
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Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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The more research I do, the more it looks like the SDRPlay SDRdx is the one to get as it has better HF and MW performance compared to the SDR1A. Both trounce the RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongle which suffers on HF.
But the SDRdx is a $200 unit and works best with windows software although android is available. Windows tablets/laptops cost much more than android although there's the used market to consider. My Win10 desktop is 2 floors below the pictured monitoring "station" and antenna feeds.
Not sure I'm ready to invest that much at this point....



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you check YouTube for a channel from a guy named "Tom the dilletante", he recently, within the past 2 weeks has done a video about a inexpensive way in which one can get into SDR radio. Check it out.


If you think you can, YOU WILL!!!!!
 
Posts: 3788 | Location: Wolverine-Land!!!! | Registered: August 20, 2005Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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Thank you for the suggestion Sid.

I've seen Tom the Dilettante's videos including the recent ones using the RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongle and android phone.
https://www.youtube.com/channe...oYvxk-yXvaQaazXXyPdQ

The dongle uses a direct sampling mode for HF to compensate for the R820T/2 tuner natively only being able to tune down to about 24 MHz. Sensitivity, upconverters, filters, etc. all become issues with this scheme which is why I ultimately eliminated it from my list of possible SDR radios. This isn't reflected in my opening post obviously.
That said it is cheap and very good on UHF/VHF frequencies. It just suffers on longwave (LF), mediumwave (AM broadcast) and shortwave (HF) which is a compromise which doesn't fit my listening targets.

Oh hell I may just be expecting too much from a $26 dongle. Big Grin Getting that and an OTG cable for my smartphone might just be the ticket (cheap too) to wet my SDR whistle. Big Grin Big Grin

This message has been edited. Last edited by: bald1,



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
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Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
W07VH5
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I keep wanting to buy the RTL-SDR Blog V3 with Dipole antenna kit but it's always out of stock.

I'd like to try it out first before dropping a couple c-notes on something.
 
Posts: 42409 | Location: Pennsyltucky | Registered: December 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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Mark,
It may be out of stock on Amazon but you can buy a reliable version through RTL-SDR.COM here:
https://www.rtl-sdr.com/buy-rtl-sdr-dvb-t-dongles/
Yes, it ships from China. "we still have stock of the dongles available on our webstore at www.rtl-sdr.com/store, which ships by airmail directly from our storage warehouse in China."
It is just the dongle... you'll need to add your own antennas sourced elsewhere.

I wouldn't buy on ebay... too high a chance for a counterfeit dongle piece of garbage.

But more to the point read this thread if you're interested in shortwave as I alluded to above.
https://forums.radioreference....ve-reception.424513/
You need "more stuff" with that dongle to be successful. But your thinking about trying things out first with an inexpensive dongle is what I'm thinking as well.



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by bald1:
Mark,
It may be out of stock on Amazon but you can buy a reliable version through RTL-SDR.COM here:
https://www.rtl-sdr.com/buy-rtl-sdr-dvb-t-dongles/
Yes, it ships from China. "we still have stock of the dongles available on our webstore at www.rtl-sdr.com/store, which ships by airmail directly from our storage warehouse in China."
It is just the dongle... you'll need to add your own antennas sourced elsewhere.

I wouldn't buy on ebay... too high a chance for a counterfeit dongle piece of garbage.

But more to the point read this thread if you're interested in shortwave as I alluded to above.
https://forums.radioreference....ve-reception.424513/
You need "more stuff" with that dongle to be successful. But your thinking about trying things out first with an inexpensive dongle is what I'm thinking as well.

Thanks! Looks like the dongle/dipole kit is scheduled to be back in stock this month. I think that's what I want.
 
Posts: 42409 | Location: Pennsyltucky | Registered: December 05, 2001Reply With QuoteReport This Post
always with a hat or sunscreen
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Pulled the trigger on this stuff as an inexpensive way to experience SDR using my android smartphone (5.93" diagonal screen with 1080p x 2160p resolution):

--RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongle $27 (from the official website)
--Micro USB Host OTG Cable with USB Power $3
(allows dongle to be powered by phone charger or external battery pack rather than cellphone battery)
--SMA Male Plug to BNC Female adapter $4
(allows me to connect some of my old portable scanner antennas / whips to the dongle)
--SDR Driver (free) Android driver
--RF Scanner (free) Android software

Holding off on this for now:
--SMA Male Plug to SO239 Female Adapter $4
(allows connection of my outside antennas to dongle)


Long lead on this is the dongle from the China warehouse....



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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If you are using it for HF, be sure to use that MFJ-1020 active antenna that you have for it's filtering. I tried without a filter and all I got was the local AM station.

Which brings up another point. what do you want to receive? What frequencies and what modulation type, AM, FM etc?


.
 
Posts: 9059 | Location: The Beaver State | Registered: February 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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quote:
Originally posted by radioman:
If you are using it for HF, be sure to use that MFJ-1020 active antenna that you have for it's filtering. I tried without a filter and all I got was the local AM station.

Which brings up another point. what do you want to receive? What frequencies and what modulation type, AM, FM etc?


Good point. I'll have to check to see if I have the right adapter to connect it to the dongle's SMA.

I've listened to just about everything at one time or another. That said I don't have the ability to decode stuff or display things like weather satellite pictures. Plain old AM/FM-W/FM-N/USB/LSB on 100kHz to 1300MHz. Big Grin Never learned Morse but did have a "translator" eons ago, so no CW.

I will admit the migration of major SW stations to the internet has had me spending much less time in their pursuit. I still enjoy AM-DXing, HAM transmissions, Public Service (Police/Fire/EMT/etc.) stuff, and spacecraft communications. Trying to hear unusual or "rare" stations of all types is fun.



Certifiable member of the gun toting, septuagenarian, bucket list workin', crazed retiree, bald is beautiful club!
USN (RET), COTEP #192
 
Posts: 12738 | Location: Black Hills of South Dakota | Registered: June 20, 2010Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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I've been out of the shortwave game for a while, but I think the broadcasters were switching to a digital format and away from AM. I think it's called DRM or some such thing.

Can you decode this with the SDR? That might open a whole new world for you.


.
 
Posts: 9059 | Location: The Beaver State | Registered: February 28, 2003Reply With QuoteReport This Post
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