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What are your opinions on Software Defined Radio (SDR) USB dongles

Audiolab 6000A Amplifier

mail2sumanth

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Apr 6, 2016
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These dongles can be connected to any laptop and you have cools spectrums and all the Radio frequencies - FM, AM, DAB, DAB+ etc.. to listen to.. May be it can be hooked up to a RaspberryPi and make a use of this as a modern digital radio :)

-Ram.
 

Yogesh

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No Where Near to where I want to be yet...
1. Nostalgic expereicnce of old school AM/FM.
2. Others uses - Use as a police radio scanner, Listening to EMS/Ambulance/Fire communications, Listening to aircraft traffic control conversations, Tracking aircraft positions like a radar with ADSB decoding, Decoding aircraft ACARS short messages, Scanning trunking radio conversations.
 
Joined
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Hyderabad
These dongles can be connected to any laptop and you have cools spectrums and all the Radio frequencies - FM, AM, DAB, DAB+ etc.. to listen to.. May be it can be hooked up to a RaspberryPi and make a use of this as a modern digital radio :)

-Ram.
Thanks for sharing. Always wanted FM in my system, as I find it to be a great source of new music, and good for non critical back ground music when iam busy doing something else. Can I plug these into my pc, and acess the usual suspects, red and mirchi FM in india.
 

IndianEars

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May 18, 2008
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871
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Mumbai
These dongles can be connected to any laptop and you have cools spectrums and all the Radio frequencies - FM, AM, DAB, DAB+ etc.. to listen to.. May be it can be hooked up to a RaspberryPi and make a use of this as a modern digital radio :)

-Ram.
Sounds like FUN! I would Love to try.

Can you point me to such a product available online... Preferably on Amazon.in ?

Thanks
 
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bornfi

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USA
Internet-radio.com

hope this is accessible from India. Large and good collection.
 

jls001

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A limitation of these dongles is the weak antenna (a dangling length of wire). A cheap radio set with telescopic antenna has way superior reception. And since it needs to be attached to a computer to work, it leaves the listener desk-bound (good/bad depending on listener's point of view).
 

zero7

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Mar 13, 2021
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Bangalore
These dongles can be connected to any laptop and you have cools spectrums and all the Radio frequencies - FM, AM, DAB, DAB+ etc.. to listen to.. May be it can be hooked up to a RaspberryPi and make a use of this as a modern digital radio :)

-Ram.
Hi Ram,
I guess you are in Bangalore based on your profile.
1. In Bangalore, depending on the location you stay, signal strength varies and the USB radio adopter may not be able to catch all the available stations. That's affected by the high rise buildings around us and if you are in an apartment like me, it's still difficult.
2.In India DAB doesn't work as we have adopted DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) as the standard. All India Radio Bengaluru has DRM transmission (I think 4 channels) for few hours every day. But stand-alone DRM radios or dongles are not easily available and if available also it's very expensive for now. Most of the cars made after 2019 are are having DRM radios.

How do you want to listen to the radio using a USB dingle? Directly via laptop speakers or connected to an amplifier?
Depending on the budget (Rs.500 to 40K), you can choose a radio. Only for local stations and to have a background music while working (exactly how I listen ), you can choose any available model online.
I made a folded dipole antenna and mounted it on my roof to get few distant stations as far as 300KMs away too. (but in my hometown).
 

arj

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May 25, 2008
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3,896
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113
Location
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Sounds like FUN! I would Love to try.

Can you point me to such a product available online... Preferably on Amazon.in ?

Thanks
A limitation of these dongles is the weak antenna (a dangling length of wire). A cheap radio set with telescopic antenna has way superior reception. And since it needs to be attached to a computer to work, it leaves the listener desk-bound (good/bad depending on listener's point of view).

With you on that sounds interesting...and putting it on a RPi based unit might be really fun.
found this- https://www.amazon.in/RTL-SDR-Blog-RTL2832U-Software-Defined/dp/B0129EBDS2/

@jls001 , shouldn't that work ?

This is an RTL-SDR blog V3 software defined radio receiver with RTL2832U ADC chip, R820T2 tuner, 1PPM TCXO, SMA F connector and aluminium case with passive cooling. Tunes from 500 kHz to 1.7 GHz with up to 3.2 MHz (2.4 MHz stable) of bandwidth. (HF works in direct sampling mode). Perfect for use as a computer based radio scanner with free software like SDR#, HDSDR, SDR-Radio, GQRX or SDR Touch on Android. Works on Windows, OSX, Linux, Android and computers like the Raspberry Pi. Great for many applications including general radio, air traffic control, public safety, ADS-B aircraft radar, ACARS, trunked radio, P25/MotoTRBO digital voice, POCSAG, weather balloons, APRS, NOAA APT/Meteor M2 weather satellites, radio astronomy, DAB, classroom learning, or as a low cost panadapter with a ham radio. This model has several improvements over other brands. It uses the improved R820T2 tuner, a 1PPM TCXO, better components, a redesigned lower noise PCB, cooling improvements, extra ESD protection and an SMA F connector. It also has a software activatable bias-tee for powering LNA's and active antennas. For enabling HF reception below 24 MHz please see the V3 features guide and please feel free to contact us via Amazon messaging for technical support - we're happy to help.
 

IndianEars

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May 18, 2008
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arj

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Fab. THANKS for that link on Amazon.in

While its expensive for Rs 5K+, it offers a HUGE Range of features, including:
Digital TV (DTT)
DAB
and of course an awesome tuning range of 500 kHz to 1.7 GHz WOW!

I think thats because of the import duty. am sure a P3 B+ should be enough for this ? so total of around 10K...now for a way to convert it into a Analogue signal !
 

mail2sumanth

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2016
Messages
94
Points
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Location
Bangalore
Thanks for sharing. Always wanted FM in my system, as I find it to be a great source of new music, and good for non critical back ground music when iam busy doing something else. Can I plug these into my pc, and acess the usual suspects, red and mirchi FM in india.
Yes you can do it. I searched for this and I’m getting the full set that includes antenna tripod and RF cable with dongle for around 6-9k

Hi Ram,
I guess you are in Bangalore based on your profile.
1. In Bangalore, depending on the location you stay, signal strength varies and the USB radio adopter may not be able to catch all the available stations. That's affected by the high rise buildings around us and if you are in an apartment like me, it's still difficult.
2.In India DAB doesn't work as we have adopted DRM (Digital Radio Mondiale) as the standard. All India Radio Bengaluru has DRM transmission (I think 4 channels) for few hours every day. But stand-alone DRM radios or dongles are not easily available and if available also it's very expensive for now. Most of the cars made after 2019 are are having DRM radios.

How do you want to listen to the radio using a USB dingle? Directly via laptop speakers or connected to an amplifier?
Depending on the budget (Rs.500 to 40K), you can choose a radio. Only for local stations and to have a background music while working (exactly how I listen ), you can choose any available model online.
I made a folded dipole antenna and mounted it on my roof to get few distant stations as far as 300KMs away too. (but in my hometown).
That is true. This all started with a bigger objective, my goal was to capture free weather signals and maps from geo orbit satellites .. I’m not joking, it can be done by building correct antenna for this and capturing the signal and decoding to image. And it is not illegal. These dongles will shine and this is the only way to achieve this.
 

zero7

New Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
15
Points
3
Location
Bangalore
That is true. This all started with a bigger objective, my goal was to capture free weather signals and maps from geo orbit satellites .. I’m not joking, it can be done by building correct antenna for this and capturing the signal and decoding to image. And it is not illegal. These dongles will shine and this is the only way to achieve this.
Very interesting thoughts. Had a quick look at the meteorological satellites detail and they seem to be C-Band. (that means we need 6'+ size dish antenna)
It will be interesting to play with a device that can decode those signals. Keep us posted on the progress. Good luck!
 

Otpidus

Member
Joined
Mar 17, 2015
Messages
98
Points
18
Location
Bangalore
The SDR world is mostly divided in two categories of devices. One is the cheaper RTL-SDR and the other one is HackRF, which costs five to ten times. HackRF has much wider bandwidth than RTL based devices, upto 6GHz while most RTL devices top out around 2GHz. In my opinion RTL devices are usually the stepping stone into the SDR world.

On the software part, for Android "RF Analyzer" and for Windows "SDR Sharp" are the two reliable (and freeware) options.

For weather images from Satellites, I feel NOAA (16, 17) or Meteor (M1, M2) is our best bet. These satellites have APT (Analog Photo Transmission) at around 137 MHz with 38KHz bandwidth (making it RTL-SDR friendly), essentially means receiving one frame of PAL or NTSC transmission in Amplitude Modulation (Frequency Modulation is not suitable at high speeds due to considerable Doppler's Effect). The most challenging part is to track the satellite precisely so that we get the exact time window of a few seconds (usual direction of rise is North by Northeast, since they are in Polar Orbit) during it's flyby to capture and record the signal. A dipole antenna of around 3 + 3 feet is sufficient on a clear day.

Another area to explore is Radio Astronomy. If I remember correctly, free Hydrogen Atom has a natural frequency of about 1.420 GHz, which is the most abundant element in the universe. Any galaxy consists of huge amounts of Hydrogen. The rate of losing Hydrogen can be one of the indicators of the age of a galaxy. But this area of exploration would require more specialized equipments apart from SDR, namely Low Noise Amplifier and huge antenna array as we would be dealing with extremely fragile signals.
 
Last edited:

IndianEars

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 18, 2008
Messages
871
Points
93
Location
Mumbai
The SDR world is mostly divided in two categories of devices. One is the cheaper RTL-SDR and the other one is HackRF, which costs five to ten times. HackRF has much wider bandwidth than RTL based devices, upto 6GHz while most RTL devices top out around 2GHz. In my opinion RTL devices are usually the stepping stone into the SDR world.

On the software part, for Android "RF Analyzer" and for Windows "SDR Sharp" are the two reliable (and freeware) options.

For weather images from Satellites, I feel NOAA (16, 17) or Meteor (M1, M2) is our best bet. These satellites have APT (Analog Photo Transmission) at around 137 MHz with 38KHz bandwidth (making it RTL-SDR friendly), essentially means receiving one frame of PAL or NTSC transmission in Amplitude Modulation (Frequency Modulation is not suitable at high speeds due to considerable Doppler's Effect). The most challenging part is to track the satellite precisely so that we get the exact time window of a few seconds (usual direction of rise is North by Northeast, since they are in Polar Orbit) during it's flyby to capture and record the signal. A dipole antenna of around 3 + 3 feet is sufficient on a clear day.

Another area to explore is Radio Astronomy. If I remember correctly, free Hydrogen Atom has a natural frequency of about 1.420 GHz, which is the most abundant element in the universe. Any galaxy consists of huge amounts of Hydrogen. The rate of losing Hydrogen can be one of the indicators of the age of a galaxy. But this area of exploration would require more specialized equipments apart from SDR, namely Low Noise Amplifier and huge antenna array as we would be dealing with extremely fragile signals.
THANK YOU, Otpidus, for a WEALTH of Info.... SUPERB!
 
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