My $18 SDR dongle arrived today despite being delivered to the wrong address last week.
Thanks to helpful YouTube videos and online tutorial counseling, I was able to marry dongle, computer and HDSDR software together with minimal spats, quarrels and tantrums.
There was one gotcha – a missing dll file caused an error when attempting to get the software to recognize the fact that a USB device was trying to feed it data. Uninstalled, reinstalled – same problem. Que pasa?
Reading, then more reading.
A common issue evidently but some kind soul posted the missing dll on his website. After downloading it to the folder containing HDSDR, all is well.
So far, I’ve only tested reception on VHF and UHF – a couple local 2m repeaters, my GMRS walkie talkies and NOAA weather broadcasts (shown below). All this with the included 6″ whip indoors.
Spikes in the image below show RFI due to being indoors – taking the laptop outside resulted in a cleaner display and more NOAA sigs on other freqs.
I still have to calibrate the display to read the correct freq and I’m waiting on an adapter to allow me to use a BNC-connected antenna. After that, I’ll start tinkering with ADS-B reception on 1090 MHz.
Also available from the same source as the dongle (NooElec) is a “Ham It Up” HF converter. As is, the dongle’s lower freq limit is 25 MHz. With the converter, the HF band becomes available for SWL, utilities, etc.
This particular converter is much more sophisticated than the one recently offered for the FunCube dongle and costs about $45.
Here is a YouTube video describing its use and performance with the RTL2832U dongle: