RTL-SDR Adventures


DVB-T Dongle

DVB-T Dongle from eBay seller digitalhome88

I received my DVB-T dongle from eBay finally about a week ago.  Here’s a link to the vendor I purchased from.  After getting the drivers loaded in Windows 7 on my aging Dell D630, I was able to get the SDR running.  Using the instructions here at rtlsdr.com, I finally got things up and running.  There was one mistake that made me lose several minutes.  I missed the instruction:  If your dongle doesn’t automatically show up, select Options then List all Devices.  Read carefully!  I’ve found that in my case, SDR# is the better choice of software.  For some reason HDSDR causes the dongle to lock up after changing bands.  I’m sure I’ll find out why because I see many others having good luck with it.  The old Dell was able to keep up, but seemed a bit choppy.  I dropped the sampling rate down a bit, and everything was fine.

My first tests were a little disappointing, yet this was with the cheesy antenna the dongle arrived with, and then with MacGuyver-ing an antenna adapter together.  The DVB-T dongles have a PAL-female connector on them, and nothing in my tin-o-connectors seemed to work.  Radio Shack carries an adapter that is PAL-male on one side and F-female on the other.  I went out and picked one up, as well as an extra F-to-BNC adapter.  Then I was able to go from the dongle to my simple outdoor antenna.

With a solid connection to my outdoor wire antenna (just a wire thrown into a nearby tree, and a counterpoise out on the roof slope), I was able to get all of the local repeaters, as well as repeaters in Manhattan, and much farther.  4 different NOAA stations came in, and aircraft traffic from the whole tri-state area.  I even grabbed a couple of 2 meter USB contacts, and quickly switched over to the TR-9000 to speak with one of them.  Performance with this setup was much, much better than I had expected.

My Elmer had stopped by Sunday to deliver a rig he repaired for me on his way out to Eastern Long Island, and I gave him a quick demo.  After playing with it for about 20 minutes he said “Send me the info.  I need to get one of these!”  Here is a quick video I took of some local repeaters, including a Ham ordering coffee from a McDonald’s drive-thru.  Sorry for the shaky video.

Click here for video: RTL SDR with SDR#

–Neil W2NDG

Neil Goldstein, W2NDG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New York, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on AmateurRadio.com!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: