Inspired by G4VXE and a few others, I recently ordered a dongle-type SDR receiver via eBay. It’s due to arrive Wednesday.
This particular dongle has a few things going for it that make it ideal for experimentation (low price being first and foremost):
- Freq coverage is 25-1700 MHz – there’s a lot of stuff going on within that range and many modulation types.
- Its broad bandwidth and a fast clock mean that pulse-type modulation can be faithfully decoded…this is where ADS-B, MLAT and Mode-S come in.
I’m not sure many people have an understanding of what these transmissions are (particularly MLAT) or how they’re generated other than the fact that they’re used for air traffic control.
I may describe some of that if I can do it without it becoming overly tedious.
Aside from all that, I think it will be fun to explore to have such a wide window of the RF spectrum to explore for such a low price.
There are many such dongles available – if you decide to order one, be sure to research that particular model’s compatibility with your intended application & software. Complicating matters is the fact that – like everything else – models and internal circuitry constantly change due to upgrades, etc.
Here’s the one I bought and here is a YouTube video describing the device: