RTL2832U dongle received, working

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.

RTL_HDSDR

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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:

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  8 comments for “RTL2832U dongle received, working

  1. February 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    I have got this USB Cube DVB-T USB stick too
    Here it is sold for 25Euro
    chips used: R820T tuner and RTL2832U 24-1700MHz
    Your receiving result seem very good
    I was not able to receive anything else but 88-108MHz broadcast
    until now. I have cut the original antenna cable and connected a BNC connector for other antenna’s
    It seems the RF gain must be kept 50%
    The SDR I got with it is SdrSharp.zip
    Your SDR screen looks different
    Will try so more to get better result.
    It would be nice to have a PAN receiver checking 50 70 144 432 MHz

    • February 20, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      I was using HDSDR for my initial tests. I’m not sure if these receivers have the bandwidth to perform as PAN receivers.

      Earlier today I ordered the HF converter so lots of experimenting to do when the DX is gone!

  2. Bill N5AB
    February 20, 2013 at 9:55 pm

    John,

    Good to see you finally received the dongle.
    Have you figured out how to use the included remote control?

    Bill N5AB

    • February 20, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      I doubt I’ll ever use it since none of its capabilities apply to SDR functions. Have you configured your receiver yet?

      • Bill N5AB
        February 26, 2013 at 12:57 am

        I got SDR# and HDSDR working on the Mac, via VirtualBox running XP, but I can’t get either app to work on my Dell box.
        I think perhaps there’s a critical file missing on the Dell setup.
        I _will_ get it figured out!

        Bill

        • February 26, 2013 at 7:54 am

          There is a missing IO file that needs to be installed separately from those programs. I bought a new laptop yesterday and will make note of it to post here once I install it later this week.

          • Bill N5AB
            February 26, 2013 at 12:37 pm

            Thanks John.
            I’ll be interested to see what I’m missing.
            Bill

          • Bill N5AB
            February 27, 2013 at 12:26 am

            I found the missing piece of the puzzle (after a Google search).
            I had installed the .NET Framework 4.0 on the PC. The SDR s/w did not like it.
            Someone suggested using .NET 3.5, so I uninstalled 4.0 and installed 3.5.
            Now both SDR# and HDSDR are happy.
            The s/w is very CPU intensive… but it works!

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