A few questions before I take the plunge

jordoncloutier

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Hello all ,

Looking to get into SDR , I'm looking to purchase the Nooelec Smart HF bundle from amazon . However I do not currently have a laptop
Looking to spend 200 to 300 dollars (Canadian) on a laptop for this SDR setup .

Which system requirements are needed for good performance ?
 

lwvmobile

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Its pretty tough to say at that price range what to get, but things I would suggest to AVOID:

1. Windows 10 S. Anything with S mode, because you can only use software in the Windows Store. Also, make sure you don't accidentally get a Chromebook.

2. Anything with 32GB of storage or smaller. Typically those go with Windows 10 S. At your price point, you're probably going to be better off with a spinning HDD with more storage than those cheapos with the eMMC flash storage. SSD is probably a premium at 300 CAD.

3. Ultrabooks. The smaller 11.6 inch models, they usually sacrifice performance for increased battery life. Also, usually have Windows 10 S.

You can probably get a entry level 14 inch screen model with a traditional processor (probably a Celeron, or a Core i3 or AMD APU models) if you find one on sale, and 4-8 GB RAM, and 500GB-1TB hard drive. I'm not even sure what the base model specs are anymore. You're best bet might be to find a clearance model that they are trying to get rid off, those can have higher specs albeit a generation or two behind on hardware.
 

lwvmobile

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ArloG

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I pondered over this for a bit. Same thing kept coming up. 200-300 new really won't get you much in a laptop.
A couple of ideas though. I looked at Craigs in your area and there's a few out there that look good.
Dell refurbished is an idea too. Refurbished usually means an organization purchased and then canceled an entire order or a partial order.
Very good luck with them in the past. Tiger Direct works for refurbs if import fees don't kill you.
Most any laptop that came with Windows 10 (not upgraded to) should be good.
HDD storage is usually at least 500 gigs and ram at 8 gigabytes (more preferably) will be good.
But you wont get much at 200-300 Molsons really. My Asus laptop here is around 4 years old and so far cost me a battery.
It cost 900ish USD new. It has never let me down.
I use mine for SDR and soundcard decoding for an SDRPlay RSP2 and Icom IC-R9500. Also with my nanoVNA.
No program freezes, no blue screen of death that plagued previous Windows versions. I mean none! Ok, that's 99% true. It's Windows after all.
I would say at least an I5 Intel, 8 gigs of memory, and a 500 gb drive. Look ahead at your choice too for the price of replacement batteries too.
There will be times working HF that you'll be on battery to reduce noise on your reception.
Do consider a nooelec LANA also. You'll thank me unless you have signals blasting in. Don't forget the bag of connectors and cables.
Good luck, have fun!
 

jordoncloutier

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Thanks everyone ! Lots of great info here !
On a side note how do you guys feel about using this antenna say mounted on a cookie sheet inside my home ?
I already own it . Just curious if it would work with SDR ?

Or can anyone recommend a wide band antenna to get myself started ?
 

jordoncloutier

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I have already ordered that hp laptop and the regular Nooelec sdr bundle ( not the hf ) . Will receive it by the end of the week . Im excited to learn more about sdr .
Thanks everyone for the advice and support !
 

zeppelin11

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Dixie County, FL
I have already ordered that hp laptop and the regular Nooelec sdr bundle ( not the hf ) . Will receive it by the end of the week . Im excited to learn more about sdr .
Thanks everyone for the advice and support !
If you haven't already found it radioreference has great information on SDR that helped me a great deal when I started. Have fun!

 

air-scan

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I have already ordered that hp laptop and the regular Nooelec sdr bundle ( not the hf ) . Will receive it by the end of the week . Im excited to learn more about sdr .
Thanks everyone for the advice and support !
I can vouch for HP. My HP specs are in my forums signature below. It has been very stable and SDRTrunk uses 13% CPU. Audio doesn't cut out. I keep hearing positive things about HP products from others. Running HDSDR at full 2.4mhz msps on the RTL-SDR it only uses 4% cpu. Latency is great. Pavilion's and Spectre's are the better option but more expensive. SDR# at 2.4mhz msps with 32k waterfall resolution runs at 8% cpu with full FM Stereo.

The new drivers for your HP ProBook are here
Update them
Speaking from experience I would manually update the drivers. Uninstall all the network related drivers reboot then install the updated drivers. On a HP those drivers are locked in while the laptop is running. They have to be removed first so the system can install the new drivers. Same for video drivers. That's a 6 year old laptop. Not sure if windows update will install W10 1903 or 1909 Feature updates.
enjoy your new laptop. SDR should be enjoyable on it.

You're complete specs
 
Last edited:

boatbod

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RPi4 can't be beaten for price, but realize the performance is significantly less than Intel-based single board computing hardware. It will run GQRX, OP25 and other Linux sdr apps, but if you want to grab and process large chunks of spectrum it will struggle. Guess is all depends what you want to listen to! For a stand-alone P25 public safety monitoring system it's hard to beat.
 

air-scan

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@jordoncloutier Speaking of power to run SDR programs. I used to have a old Dell Latitude D610. It had a single core Intel Pentium M 1.73ghz. 2gb ram DDR2. I used to run DSD+FL, HDSDR and SDR#, and Unitrunker on it but it was struggling. I always had to set the rate down to 1msps. The difference is night and day comparing it to this new pc. I suspect your new laptop will still be way better than that 12 year old Dell I used to have by far.
 

jordoncloutier

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Been watching alot of youtube videos about setting up the sdr . I seen a guy setting up his to decode P25 , he had two dongles running at once for trunking p25 . can I just use one dongle and still listen to just one p25 frequency at a time ? is that how that works ?
 

JimD56

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I do NOT recommend the NOOLEC from Amazon. I sent mine back due to it not being compatible with quite a lot of the SDR programs out there.
I bought the RTL-SDR V3, Love it and month later bought another. This model runs ALL scanning and ADSB programs, unlike the NOOLEC.
 
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