Which SDR do I buy today?

Status
Not open for further replies.

NC1

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
733
Location
Surry County, North Carolina
I have looked at the WIKI and read through some threads and am still unsure of what to get.
My requirements are few:

1) $19.95 or UNDER (should come with, or work with free software programs)
2) HF (SSB) and VHF/UHF
3) Simple to set up and use on a Windows 8.1 machine with 6GB Ram.
4) Can be found on ebay.

I am going to order it in the next few hours, so I hope I get some experienced user advice.
 

Whiskey3JMC

DXpeditioner
Premium Subscriber
Joined
Jul 16, 2006
Messages
7,162
Location
40.0417240450727, -75.23614582932653
1. See here there are a few options within the budget range you specified. See this page for SDR software apps
2. Depending on how low you want the lower frequency limit on HF to be you may need to think about expanding your budget. I own a few of these and they're really poor on HF
3. Most are simple to set up and use
4. Is ebay a must?
 

ka3jjz

Wiki Admin Emeritus
Joined
Jul 22, 2002
Messages
25,492
Location
Bowie, Md.
If you get something like a RTL-SDRv3 you may end up buying additional filters (or a passive preselector), depending on your local RF environs and the antenna you use. Something to keep in mind. Mike
 

spongella

Member
Joined
Feb 21, 2014
Messages
981
Location
W. NJ
Check out Nooelec SDR's: www.nooelec.com. They might be selling on EBay but not sure. Also the RTL-SDR.com version 3 dongle is a good one but beware of knockoffs.

When buying a dongle SDR some will come with a remote, DVD, and mini-whip antenna. Those accessories as useless, you only need the dongle.

Before hitting the Buy It button check the shipping charges. Don't overpay.
 

boatbod

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
3,371
Location
Talbot Co, MD
Since the OP is looking at the ultra-cheap end of the product range - and generally you get what you pay for - my advice would simply be to look for a reputable seller and at least buy a dongle with TXCO. If you want *good* HF performance you'll probably need to spend considerably more money.
 

morfis

Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2004
Messages
1,665
Also the RTL-SDR.com version 3 dongle is a good one but beware of knockoffs.

Such as the one at 19.99 from a 'Los Angeles' seller in the USA filtered cheapo ebarf list above!
A genuine one is shown in the list but 'international', cheaper and free shipping. If getting one of theirs I'd use amzon.com if in the USA (or just use their Chinese link on their own website...even with current restrictions delivery to Uk is usually under a week so US shouldn't be that much longer)

(I'd stay clear of ebarf if you want anything but the ultra cheap DVB-T original ones)
 

NC1

Member
Joined
Feb 8, 2014
Messages
733
Location
Surry County, North Carolina
Thanks for all the replies. I think it's going to wait until I have more $$ set aside. After reading your replies and seeing what is out there, I believe the cheap route is just going to be a waste of money (and probably disappointment).
In the mean time I will read up on some reviews and pick out the ones that will work for me. Right now the focus will be on good HF performance since I have enough equipment for VHF/UHF monitoring.
Any other input would certainly be appreciated.
 

boatbod

Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2007
Messages
3,371
Location
Talbot Co, MD
The cheapies work pretty well for 700-800Mhz public safety systems but generally perform poorly for HF. Suggest you dig around a little more before committing to a purchase.
 
  • Like
Reactions: NC1

ArloG

Member
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Messages
302
Well when you search for a sdr consider compatibility with sdrsharp and dsd+.
Also the frequency ranges they will do. Upconverters/Downconverters. Antenna(s) you'll need. Cables, adapters. Additional LNA you may need. Balun.
That 20 bucks can easily triple. Easily!
Don't leave yourself saying "I shoulda' ".
 

DRL-XM43

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2015
Messages
842
Location
Durham Region
Save up a couple of more bucks and check these. The folks at Nooelectric are ACE I would not chance elsewhere. I go direct with them their service is outstanding and the products cost effective and proper. Take the risk out.....

 

DC31

Member
Feed Provider
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
1,553
Location
Massachusetts
Thanks for all the replies. I think it's going to wait until I have more $$ set aside. After reading your replies and seeing what is out there, I believe the cheap route is just going to be a waste of money (and probably disappointment).
In the mean time I will read up on some reviews and pick out the ones that will work for me. Right now the focus will be on good HF performance since I have enough equipment for VHF/UHF monitoring.
Any other input would certainly be appreciated.

Is this one
Nooelec - Nooelec NESDR XTR+ Tiny Extended-Range TCXO-Based SDR & DVB-T USB Stick (RTL2832U + E4000) w/ Antenna and Remote Control - NESDR RTL-SDR Receivers - SDR Receivers - Software Defined Radio
something that fits your requirements? I purchased it last year ($32.95) and find that I have no use for it. Yours for $15 if you want it.
 

JMizera

Newbie
Joined
Apr 12, 2020
Messages
1
I just received one of the "RTL-SDR blue radio receiver with RTL2832U + R820T2" from eBay. Took a bit of doing to get it working, but with the short antenna included, it works fine on FM broadcast. I was even able to get the local WX station. And that's pretty much it. Frequency coverage starts at 25MHZ, so it should cover a bit of Shortwave ham and broadcast. Not even the typical rf interference noise. I realized the included tiny antenna is not designed for this, but I would think I could at least get WWV a bit. Nothing on Air bands or VHF/HF ham bands either. I wonder if it's really all the limitation of the antenna, or if this surprisingly cheap device is just not capable. Or maybe partly defective?
 

DRL-XM43

Member
Joined
Jun 23, 2015
Messages
842
Location
Durham Region
I just received one of the "RTL-SDR blue radio receiver with RTL2832U + R820T2" from eBay. Took a bit of doing to get it working, but with the short antenna included, it works fine on FM broadcast. I was even able to get the local WX station. And that's pretty much it. Frequency coverage starts at 25MHZ, so it should cover a bit of Shortwave ham and broadcast. Not even the typical rf interference noise. I realized the included tiny antenna is not designed for this, but I would think I could at least get WWV a bit. Nothing on Air bands or VHF/HF ham bands either. I wonder if it's really all the limitation of the antenna, or if this surprisingly cheap device is just not capable. Or maybe partly defective?

The little antenna is woeful especially if it is not positioned somewhere to receive. All the $$$ and top equipment are door stops unless they are fed robust signals.

My guess is you need to think about an upgrade for your antenna system.
 

ScubaJungle

Active Member
Joined
Mar 11, 2020
Messages
618
Location
West Central Florida
My suggestion is:
RTL SDR Blog V3, with antenna kit - ~$27
-The antennas are cheap, but work surprisingly well for a wide range. Just adjust the dipole lengths to suit the frequency.
Free Programs:
Unitrunker V2 for trunking systems (except P25 PII)
SDRTrunk for trunked P25 PII systems
SDRSharp for general/nontrunked
DSDPLus for DMR & NXDN
WXtoIMG for NOAA satellite images
Virtual Radar + RTL1090 for ADS-B Plane tracking
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top