Airspy R2 vs RTL-SDR dongle vs RSP1A?

Patriot2120

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Airspy R2 vs RTL-SDR dongle vs RSP1A? What is the difference? I am currently running RTL-SDR dongle and I am wondering if Airspy R2 is better. Would RSP1A be better? Any input?
 
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dlwtrunked

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Airspy R2 vs RTL-SDR dongle vs RSP1A? What is the difference? I am currently running RTL-SDR dongle and I am wondering if Airspy R2 is better. Would RSP1A be better? Any input?
It depends what you want to do. RTL-SDR is low end performance (though better than no SDR) and I will not go further about it. If you just want to do VHF/UHF (no HF), I would go with an AirSpy R2--the 8 MHz displayed bandwidth, when set to show that in SDRSharp, is a big factor.. If you just want HF and/or FM broadcast, AirSpy HF+ Discovery wins hands down. If you want to do HF/VHF/UHF in just one SDR, then go for an RSP1A or one of their higher models. (Yes, I own all of these and the above is from my experience. ) You did not mention software and there are several choices for each. SDRSharp and HDSDR are my favorites.
 

PDXh0b0

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I dont have the PC power to fully use an airspy r2. You'll want more then the minimum hardware requirements listed on their site. I am considering giving the airspy mini a try. I have an rsp1a, love it, great on hf, great on everything really,Sdruno has lots of bells and whistles. Rtl-sdr blog v3 is my go too with SDRsharp, they are a great combo, less bells and whistles, best scanning plugin, quickly do what I want to do. If I find something I want to dig into and listen I switch to the rsp1a.

The rtl-sdr blog v3 was my first, my go too, but I like and use the nooelec nesdr smart v4 for my law/EMS trunk radio set-ups.

More important then which sdr, is the right antenna for what you want to listen to. 1/4 ground plane antennas are easy and fun to make, there is a great homebrew off-center Fed dipole on wiki.radioreference. I recently bought a tram 1410 discone antenna and got it up in the air, it's a great deal for $45 on amazon.

HF, now that is completely all about the antenna, I don't have allot of property space and no tall trees 😢 so I've had a 55 foot longwire with so so results, last weekend a neighborhood let me toss a wire in his tree overnight, tree is like 100ft Ish high, I got 150ft of wire about 3/4 the way up ,stretched it and hooked it to a bungee cord on my wall,hooked it up, wowser! There was some much more, it was a fun night
 
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Patriot2120

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It depends what you want to do. RTL-SDR is low end performance (though better than no SDR) and I will not go further about it. If you just want to do VHF/UHF (no HF), I would go with an AirSpy R2--the 8 MHz displayed bandwidth, when set to show that in SDRSharp, is a big factor.. If you just want HF and/or FM broadcast, AirSpy HF+ Discovery wins hands down. If you want to do HF/VHF/UHF in just one SDR, then go for an RSP1A or one of their higher models. (Yes, I own all of these and the above is from my experience. ) You did not mention software and there are several choices for each. SDRSharp and HDSDR are my favorites.
What i want is a few things. Police scanner, Air traffic and Mililtary! If i can indulge in satellite reception would be a bonus! Just dont want to spend $1000 for that. If that makes any sense! And thank you for the reply, trying to learn all this stuff!
 

Patriot2120

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I dont have the PC power to fully use an airspy r2. You'll want more then the minimum hardware requirements listed on their site. I am considering giving the airspy mini a try. I have an rsp1a, love it, great on hf, great on everything really,Sdruno has lots of bells and whistles. Rtl-sdr blog v3 is my go too with SDRsharp, they are a great combo, less bells and whistles, best scanning plugin, quickly do what I want to do. If I find something I want to dig into and listen I switch to the rsp1a.

The rtl-sdr blog v3 was my first, my go too, but I like and use the nooelec nesdr smart v4 for my law/EMS trunk radio set-ups.

More important then which sdr, is the right antenna for what you want to listen to. 1/4 ground plane antennas are easy and fun to make, there is a great homebrew off-center Fed dipole on wiki.radioreference. I recently bought a tram 1410 discone antenna and got it up in the air, it's a great deal for $45 on amazon.

HF, now that is completely all about the antenna, I don't have allot of property space and no tall trees 😢 so I've had a 55 foot longwire with so so results, last weekend a neighborhood let me toss a wire in his tree overnight, tree is like 100ft Ish high, I got 150ft of wire about 3/4 the way up ,stretched it and hooked it to a bungee cord on my wall,hooked it up, wowser! There was some much more, it was a fun night
I have a gaming computer I am using for this so I know I have the PC power. I want to listen to Police, Air traffic and what ever else gets me in trouble! LOL I just dont want to spend $1K dollars for that! I like listening to different stuff!
 

Ubbe

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I am wondering if Airspy R2 is better. Would RSP1A be better?
The RTL-SDR use no prefilters but the other two do, and they probably also have some stop filters like FM broadcast. The RSP1a uses a different receiver chip that are better than the other two.

If you look at the spectrum in SDR# using the RTL-SDR you'll see a lot of spikes and signals that isn't in the air. Even disconnecting the antenna will not remove most of them. The RSP1a will have much less of those interferencies. It will be much easier to do spectrum scanning without locking to unwanted interferencies. It's something like 5 times more costly than RTL-SDR but might be worth it if you also do shortwave listening.
Most softwares are designed to work with RTL-SDR but could be problems when trying to use RSP1a with anything else than their standard programs.

/Ubbe
 

ronenp

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for what you want to do the RTL-SDR is fine
for police scanner if it is trunk the dsdplus support only airspy beside the RTL-SDR so it is a consideration you must take in
if a Bandwidth is needed in addition to the other thigs you mention then the AirSpy is a better choice
 

BTJustice

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OOPS! Sorry for resurrecting an old thread I found on an Internet search, but the deed is done so...

I have an Airspy R2, a few Airspy Minis, an Airspy HF+ Discovery, a SDRplay RSP1A, and a couple of RTL-SDR.com dongles.

If you want to do trunk tracking, I have had my best luck using a couple of RTL-SDR.com dongles with the sdrtrunk software. The local system here covers about 8 MHz so I have to use two which is OK. The R2 audio is too garbled. Using two Minis for this keeps giving me USB errors. RSP1A is not supported with sdrtrunk. I only use the two RTL-SDR.com dongles for this purpose. Buy these either from their online store or their Amazon store, not eBay!

For regular aircraft and VHF and UHF monitoring, the Airspy Minis work great. The R2 works fine as well, but you need a fast computer and great USB ports to run it as 10 MSPS. The Minis do 6 MSPS which is fine. The RSP1A works fine as well, but I think the Airspys are slightly better. If you plan to use SDR# and update the Frequency Manager to wraith's version so you can scan set frequencies, the Mini works great for this and is what I use to scan local police and EMS with. Also, the updated Frequency Scanner lets you scan the aircraft band in less than 2 seconds with the Mini. About 1 second with the R2.

For shortwave, the Airspy HF+ Discovery is clearly the winner. It blows the doors off the RSP1A. Some people think they need nearly 10 MHz of spectrum for shortwave which is crazy. The HF+ has smaller visual spectrum but has enough to cover each section of shortwave.

I like the Airspys better than the SDRplay products I have owned. I use Linux now and they work great on it with SDR++. I use VirtualBox with Windows 10 installed to just use SDR# for scanning.

I prefer having separate SDRs to do different things than believing one unit is great at everything. It is not. Besides, you use say a Mini to listen to aircraft, another Mini for 1090 tracking, and a HF+ Discovery to listen to shortwave.

Also, you are going to be hard-pressed to find a new RSP1A at the moment. I am not sure I trust their current Band-Aid solution of modifying the board design to use components they usually don't use so they have something to sell. I don't trust that kind of business model. They should wait until they have the proper components and ship them once they have them manufactured IMO.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, what software do you want to use? If SDR#, get Airspys. If SDRuno, get SDRplay. I think SDRuno is a complicated mess and prefer SDR# and SDR++. I hope one day soon that SDR# becomes cross-platform software instead of being a Windows exclusive.
 

BTJustice

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If you want to do trunk tracking, I have had my best luck using a couple of RTL-SDR.com dongles with the sdrtrunk software. The local system here covers about 8 MHz so I have to use two which is OK. The R2 audio is too garbled. Using two Minis for this keeps giving me USB errors. RSP1A is not supported with sdrtrunk. I only use the two RTL-SDR.com dongles for this purpose. Buy these either from their online store or their Amazon store, not eBay!
I forgot to say if anyone does this that they will need to change the serial numbers on the two RTL-SDR.com dongles which is easy to do. Here are the directions:


I changed both of mine from 00000000. I made one 00000001 and the other 00000002.

Airspy and SDRplay units have unique serial numbers already so the above is not needed for them.
 

BTJustice

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Im not very technical and have basic SDR knowledge. Why use two dongles and is it easy to set up say with trunk radio?
Because you go with what works best. For this situation, 2 RTL-SDR.com dongles work better than either the SDRplay RSP1a or the Airspy R2. It is easy to set them up.
 

kb5udf

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Airspy mini is a great value. Easy to use for trunking; one mini covers the 700mhz trunking band by itself.
 

BTJustice

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I wish the local police trunk system was small enough for one Airspy Mini, but it is nearly 10 MHz. I have no complaints using 2 RTL-SDR.com dongles with sdrtrunk 0.5.0 Beta 3.
 

Reconrider

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How do i get 2 RTL dongles running at the same time? I only have one at present. What's needed or info on how to do this?
The only thing you have to do, is plug the other sdr in. It's suggested you change the serial number so you can identify if one dongle has an issue, but it's not required to my knowledge. If you want to do this, simply google "change serial number rtl-sdr" and you'll get a few guides on how to do it.
 
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