SDR On The Cheap pt.2

This article is over 3 years old, go HERE for the latest SDR developments.


I’ve done Pt 3 which more a links page as well as showing SDR-Radio Pro V2 and SDRSharp click HERE

Work is currently being done on evaluating another tuner chip, the Rafael Micro R820T, see info HERE

Sitting comfortably ?

Where do I start?

If you read my initial post on this subject (Pt. 1 HERE) where I just put in words how I got first started on this subject.

Time has passed and I took it much further using the dongles to monitor FM (both narrow and wide), AM and finally SSB which surprised me at the quality of the received audio. I had used  a dual band (2m and 70cm) vertical co-linear antenna excepting on SSB where I used horizontal polarisation on a 5 element 2m yagi beam.

I tested both the EzCap 645 with its FC 0013 and the Newsky with the Elonics E4000 tuner chips. Compare the two images I have posted below of the noise levels, the FC 0013 is much higher but would still received the signal although weaker signals did tend to suffer through the noise. The noise floor level at my QTH ( home)  is typical of an urban area  in a house where noise comes from electrical appliances and worst of all here is laptop battery chargers.

ezcap 645 (FC 0013)

ezcap 645 (FC 0013)

Broadcast FM radio was no problem plus I found that received signal strength on most other bands was just slightly down on my dedicated ham transceiver. More than impressed.

The frequency shift correction on the E4000 was approx  -18,000 but the FC 0013 was more accurate at approx -5,000 but unfortunately just the other day I hooked up the E4000 dongle and found it had been zapped more likely by ESD explanation HERE.  Fried..although it does have the protection diodes in line.



I still have the FC 0013 in operation but although the E4000 tuner chip is no later manufactured it is hoped another equivalent tuner chip of its standard will be produced at some point in the future.

It is possible still to pick up a dongle with a E4000 tuner chip but they are getting as rare as hen’s teeth, one piece of advice is to try source dongles with protection diodes in line with the antenna socket as some later dongles seems to be missing is a penny pinching move on the manufacturers. You can of course solder in your own if you know what’s what but sadly I have 10 thumbs.

I hope to post on this subject in the future as now I intend going down the ‘Softrock’ type RX for HF/VHF but below I will give you links which will help you further in your quest in this excellent cheap entry into world of SDR….

Enjoy the ride !

Click on images for full size..

All links below are given in good faith, please remember it’s your call if you use them..

List of online sources HERE

List of compatible dongles HERE




Reddit RTL-SDR community HERE

Google Group Ultra Cheap SDR HERE

Not related to the Realtek RL 2832U dongles but worth looking at….

Yahoo SDR group ( Softrock, Funcube Dongle and others) HERE

SDR-Radio website (HRD creator Simon Brown’s latest project) HERE


About gm7something

64, married, three kids......overweight, unfit, folically challenged, need I go on ?
This entry was posted in Musings. Bookmark the permalink.