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New RTL-SDR Released

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pinkfish457

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#1
Over on the rtl-sdr.com - RTL-SDR (RTL2832U) and software defined radio news and projects. Also featuring Airspy, HackRF, FCD, SDRplay and more. website, is a new RTL/SDR dongle.

From their webpage here are some of the new features:

1) HF support via direct sampling. Connect an HF antenna directly to the SMA connector and tune from 500 kHz – 24 MHz with the direct sampling mod. (No hardware modding or soldering required)

2) Lower internal noise. Less spurs, lower noise floor etc.

3) Software switchable bias tee. No need to do any soldering to enable the bias tee. Can be turned on and off in software.

Too many features to be listed here.
 

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KD8DVR

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Looks great. That'll be on my next purchase list. That brand is my go to dongle.

AntiSquid disclaimer: All information provided is personal opinion only and may or may not resemble actual fact.
 

dave3825

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"Warning: The bias tee LDO can be damaged if you short circuit it. Before turning on the bias tee, ensure the circuit to be powered is not shorted, or that the RTL-SDR is not connected to a DC shorted antenna!"



What exactly is a DC shorted antenna?
 

SteveSimpkin

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Simply put, a DC Shorted antenna is one that has a low resistance between the coax center conductor and shield at low or DC frequencies (such as when using an ohm meter). J-Pole antennas fall into this category.
 

AggieCon

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Mine is arriving tomorrow! I'll try to post some comparisons, at least if there are notable improvements.
 
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#6
Interested in some reports from anyone that gets one of these v3 models and gives the HF reception a go. I never really spent much time monitoring HF in all the decades I've been in the radio hobby since the early 1970s, and I know it's probably not anywhere near what it used to be but, for $25 if it works at least to some useful degree then I might just have to grab one of these revised models. I just got two of the v2 units just a few months ago and they work fantastic, a definite improvement over my original NooElec sticks that still function just fine too.

I mean I know there's no way such a device - even with a decent antenna - will ever match a full blown HF receiver setup but, if it works then I'd like to see what people think of the HF capability.
 
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After at least a year of debating about jumping into the SDR world, I finally pulled the trigger on this today - $25 on Amazon with two antennas!! I spent more than that on my last portable scanner antenna. For that kind of $, I am willing to to jump in and have some fun! I'll keep my eyes on this forum for tips and tricks.

Bob
 

dave3825

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After at least a year of debating about jumping into the SDR world, I finally pulled the trigger on this today - $25 on Amazon with two antennas!! I spent more than that on my last portable scanner antenna. For that kind of $, I am willing to to jump in and have some fun! I'll keep my eyes on this forum for tips and tricks.

Bob
I think the number one tip is when not receiving much, ditch the antennas that come with it and use a good outdoor antenna up high. I used to think those were good for portable but now when I travel, I bring my ofd (off center dipole) wire version, my homemade dual band ground plane. Link is for tri band but I made it dual band (450 and 800 MHz) and 2, I don't know what they are actually called, bnc whips. One is about 17 inches and the other is 35 inches. Both are just 1/16 thick and run off the center conductor. The shorter one seems better in the 162 -174 range and the longer one seems to do good in the 150 MHz range compared to what came with my dongles, and the stock Bcd436hp antenna. I was forced to be creative as I am in an apartment with no roof access.
 
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#9
Thanks, I figured the included antennas wouldn't give great results. I used to have one of those "TV" dongles on my computer and the included antenna was useless. Once I hooked it to the TV antenna in my attic that thing rocked!!
 

AggieCon

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Well, after playing with this for an hour or two, I'm pretty happy (and tired). Opening up HF, SW, broadcast AM, etc. is very interesting. So much more to explore now. (I hope someone will mentor me in the HF world!!)

The big antenna that comes with this is really big. 1.5 meters. The magnetic base actually works, very well. The HF reception seems to be even past their range, though something weird does occur at 28.8 MHz.

Probably receives a bit better than my older dongles (none of which are RTL-SDR but some are NooElec). Too early to say anything definitive there.

Had some fun exploring broadcast radio. Using SDR#'s Audio Noise Reduction feature (takes some time to explore various settings) cleans it up nicely. I received the Fort Worth talk radio station from north of Houston. All sorts of stuff in shortwave -- I have no clue where it is from (lots of stuff in Spanish). I was just using the included antenna, nothing fancy.

Edit: Important thing that I forgot to mention, here are the instructions (i.e. how to do HF): http://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-blog-v-3-dongles-user-guide/

The case gets hot. Hotter than the plastic ones. I suppose this means that it is collecting more heat from the components, though.

Appears to be no frequency drift during the hour I ran it (and zoomed in on kHz, you'd sure notice!). I set the correction to -1, but 0 would have been adequate.

My biggest negative review so far is that the retaining nut for the female SMA connector was loose. Not a big deal, but it does make it "unfinished" and can make one wonder the attention to detail paid to the internals. The nut has a lock washer, so it's not like it came loose.

I'll try to post a better review as some point, but, for now, I'll say that everyone should have one of these. For the price, being able to explore HF is awesome. For most monitoring activities, this dongle probably isn't necessary, but I'll probably start recommending this one as a good starter set due to the additional bands opened up and the quality of the kit.
 
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#11
Does this new dongle also receive vhf/uhf as well. Can't really tell from the comments here nor from the specs on the product web site.
 
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#12
Does this new dongle also receive vhf/uhf as well. Can't really tell from the comments here nor from the specs on the product web site.
Of course, it has the same frequency range in standard mode of 24 – 1766 Mhz, with some further coverage at reduced sensitivity.
 
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#13
Ok, got mine today, but my virus program (AVG) won't allow me to run the quick startup guide! It keeps telling me that it is a Linux Downloader which could be dangerous....need to do some further research
 
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#14
UPDATE: I was able to read the quick start guide on my Ipad - followed the instructions and installed SDR# - WOW!!!
Within minutes I was listening to FM Stereo, Marine radio and taxi's with the (large) supplied antenna stuck to an old metal pie tin. I am so glad I decided to take the plunge for $25 and cannot wait to do further exploration into the frequencies available via this SDR.

Although I have plenty of scanners and shortwave radios that I know perform better than this dongle, you cannot beat it for the sheer fun factor!!

Thanks for the heads up on this little gem all!

Bob
 
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#15
" though something weird does occur at 28.8 MHz."

The tcxo "driving" the dongle is a 28.8Mhz oscilator, thats why you will have some weird signals there.
 
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#16
Well, after playing with this for an hour or two, I'm pretty happy (and tired). Opening up HF, SW, broadcast AM, etc. is very interesting. So much more to explore now. (I hope someone will mentor me in the HF world!!)
Are you using an up-converter like the NoElec Ham-It-Up? Or are you using Joanne Dow's modified driver that takes advantage of the direct conversion mod in the dongle? I got my up converter early because the earlier NoElec dongles couldn't do that. But I read about JDow's driver and was curious. I've read some reports it works very well. That's nice. It would save you the $60 for the up-converter. Have fun with that thing. There's lots out there to pickup as you know and now you're having fun with HF.

Mike
 
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#17
IF you Read the full spec of the v3 dongle you see that therese is builtin direct sampling q branch with impedance matchning transformer.

"Added an experimental HF direct sampling circuit, which is diplexed out from the SMA connector"
 

AggieCon

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I am using the new dongle without any new or different drivers. Anything in particular I should tune to?
 
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Well there's the requisite ham radio digital stuff. PSK/FSK/CW. There's ALE that's kind of a packet mail network. It was MARS originally but lots of civilians have gotten into it now. There's HFDL for tracking aircraft long range. There's marine facsimile for weather maps and tides on the open seas and along the coast. There's the age old numbers stations for the spies among us. You can listen to the numbers transmissions and try your hand at attempting to decode the messages. There are all sorts of digital stuff out on HF and its fun because unlike just listening to local trunked radio this stuff can come from a long way away. Although the sun is at a low in the sunspot cycle you can still get some stuff. Also, DRM. Although we're not on the path for digital radio if you have a good antenna system up some North Americans have been able to pick up digital broadcast radio from other countries. With an SDR the world is your oyster as they say.

Mike
 
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