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Software Defined Radio A forum for general discussion of software defined radio (SDR) receiver equipment.

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Old 02-01-2013, 8:24 AM
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Default Newbie question on SDR

Is there any software that allows you to have the SDR perform like a scanner? Or are you stuck just monitoring one frequency at a time?

Thanks for the help.
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Old 02-01-2013, 8:35 AM
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The radio or scanner that you use for the baseband audio source for SDR can scan conventional P25, DMR or NXDN channels. All SDR does is decode the audio that is fed into your sound card. It doesn't know or care if the radio is scanning or not.

If you need to track a trunked system and use SDR then it gets complicated.
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Old 02-01-2013, 9:29 AM
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The SDRSharp software, when used in conjunction with one of the RTL2832U dongles, will work as a "scanner". It will require the external "Scanner + Frequency Manager" plug-in. It works well for the low cost of implementation, which is about $20, or under $50 if you're trying to decode digital voice, which would require registering Virtual Audio Cable software.

If you decide to experiment with this method I'd strongly suggest joining the SDRSharp Yahoogroup. To get you started, the website is SDR# | A Software Defined Radio in C# . The RTL2832U dongles can be found on eBay and also via a company called NooElec. You should opt for the one that has the R820T chipset as it is an overall better performer.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:16 AM
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Thanks for the replies. I was looking to replace my scanner and was wondering if this was a good idea. I have a laptop that could be a dedicated SDR scanner.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:20 AM
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All of this stuff is still a work in progress, but it conceivably "could" replace a scanner. I think in some way, shape, or form it is the future of our hobby. We're seeing the beginning of it with this, and I find it amazing to experiment with a $17 USB dongle and have it work pretty darned well as a receiver. Obviously it is not going to perform as well as a scanner or dedicated receiver, but for what it is it's amazing. My hat especially goes off to the people that write the drivers and software to make it all work. Mind boggling stuff from where I sit, but as an end-user it's fun to experiment with.

That said, for the short money involved, if you have the time and the patience, why not give it a try and see what you think? If nothing else it's a learning experience.
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Old 02-01-2013, 10:34 AM
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I agree with you. Thanks to everyone for input.
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Old 02-03-2013, 2:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scancapecod View Post
All of this stuff is still a work in progress, but it conceivably "could" replace a scanner. I think in some way, shape, or form it is the future of our hobby
You're right, because it's going to become the only way to continue monitoring public safety services in the future. The industy's move to encryption, and the anti-decrypying laws in America, mean scanner manufacturers aren't going to be able to produce receivers that do what anyone wants any more. That's just going to end up driving the hobby underground in the sense that the only way to continue it will be to use a hacker mentality. A $17 SDR dongle running on software that emulates scanner functionality, decrypted by software developed somewhere outside of America and distributed via bitorrent appears to be the inevitable future.

Last edited by kc2tek; 02-03-2013 at 2:29 PM..
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Old 02-04-2013, 9:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kc2tek View Post
You're right, because it's going to become the only way to continue monitoring public safety services in the future. The industy's move to encryption, and the anti-decrypying laws in America, mean scanner manufacturers aren't going to be able to produce receivers that do what anyone wants any more. That's just going to end up driving the hobby underground in the sense that the only way to continue it will be to use a hacker mentality. A $17 SDR dongle running on software that emulates scanner functionality, decrypted by software developed somewhere outside of America and distributed via bitorrent appears to be the inevitable future.
I agree 100%.
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Old 02-04-2013, 9:36 AM
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SDRSharp UniTrunker Support
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