Competition: TCXO RTL-SDR Giveaway

As per the previous post, we recently received a sample of the TCXO modified dongle by Nobu Saitou. Nobu was kind enough to send over two samples, so we’ve decided to give one away to a lucky reader.

To go into the draw simply comment on this post with what you’ve been doing (or have been dreaming about doing) with software defined radio recently. Be sure to include your email in the commenting system so I can get in touch with you if you are the winner (your email address is kept private and only I can see it). The winner will be randomly selected on the 23rd of December 12pm GMT, and the prize sent out after Christmas. Please one entry per person.

Update: Thanks to all that entered. The competition has now ended and the winner has been notified. It has been very interesting to hear about all the amazing SDR projects by the RTL-SDR community. I would urge everyone to read through the comments to see what interesting things people are doing. Feel free to continue commenting about your projects even though the competition has finished.

68 comments

  1. admin

    Hi everyone, thanks for entering. This post marks the end of the competition. It has been very interesting to see how diverse the projects in RTL-SDR community are. The winner will be notified within the next day.

  2. Sam Christie

    I’m new to sdr and would like to try some of the digital modes of ham radio. I have limited space at home so sdr would be perfect.

  3. Gary

    I have experimented with an ezcap tv dongle with some success. Its main shortcoming was an inability to reach 1090MHz to look at ABS-B traffic. It would be nice to have the ability to locate a small receiver at the antenna to lower the transmission loss.

  4. Diego

    I connected the rtl2832 to my icom-icr100 IF for receiving noaa satellite images, and listening some HF frequencies using the first mixer output of the r100.

  5. KC

    I have received some SSTV-pictures from Ham Radio ballons this year. Pretty awsome to actually receive some pictures from the edge of space, where you can see the blue earth with the clouds and the black from space already.

  6. Sherry

    A GPS controlled oscillator with the AD9850… and check the calibration over the few Hz to a few 40Mhz range.. also use a raw TV tuner module(TDA18218 based) controlled via I2C to receive signals(WSPR @ 144M and 50M)
    Thus improve the IF front end of decoding signals…

  7. Tim

    I am looking to set up a receiving station in my loft using an RPi and dongle. My loft is well insulated meaning the house stays warm but the loft does not, so the TCXO would be a great option to avoid thermal drift from the changing loft temps throughout the year.

  8. matt2k

    I am new to RTL-SDRs I’m still trying to receive a ARPS transmission from the ISS. I am also setting up to analyze radio emissions from Jupiter

  9. Roman

    Interesting idea: based on simple dongle to create a global super radio communication ip many dongles through the server properties, passive radar, radio, e-mail and many other endless possibilities.

  10. YV1HX

    I’m stumbled across SDR when I was using a dedicated receiver for NOAA APT satellites for our weather forecasting site, my further interest is receiving directly the LRIT (Low Rate Information Transmission) data from GOES-East bird ..

  11. Zandr

    I’ve been playing with AIS and ADS-B while on vacation to get the hang of things, but the first real project will be getting a TPMS (tire pressure) receiver integrated into a motorsports telemetry system.

  12. Hanzelka

    I run a youth club HAM. I teach children that they like electronics, amateur radio and broadcasting. TXCO good example for children that can be operated cheaply HAM.

  13. Ollie

    I would like to try my hand at receiving signals from spacecraft beyond geosynchronous orbit, such as the new Chinese lunar lander, as mentioned in one of your posts.

  14. Eric Vinande

    I gave a presentation on the RTL-SDR to my local ham radio club (got several members excited and demonstrated rtl_tcp to route I/Q samples over wifi) and am advising a senior project group at a local university that is using the dongles to measure variations in signal strength of distant broadcast AM stations (through a ham-it-up upconverter) to discern ionospheric height/propagation conditions.

    Next projects for me are satellite telemetry decoding (there’s a whole slew of new cubesats on orbit!) and a GPS/GNSS receiver (the TCXO version would help with tracking weaker signals and initial signal acquisition).

  15. SDRkat

    I’m an amature enthusiest of ham radio, and the like. I just finished building my first ground plane antenna, and am looking foraward to installing unitrunker. I love monitoring the local repeater, and PSK31 traffic. I hope to move on to ACRES, and server radar.

  16. symp

    I have played a lot with signal decoding from NDBs, to HFDL, Stanag 4285, Pagers, long distance radio phones and have started looking into keyfobs. I have 2 projects in the the works.
    FIrst is a direction finding application that runs on linux that takes the samples from rtl and drives a uni-directional antenna connected to a motor and plots the signals on a radar type display, firstly intended for amateur radio fox hunting but can be adapted to any type of signal and frequency range simply determined by the antenna.

    The second project is basically a poor mans TCXO using a resistor and the existing XTAL on the RTL dongle. If the results work as planned I will be able to write an article for others to be able to do the same thing without paying the higher price for the TCXO equipped dongle.

    One of these TXCO equipped dongles would help out in completing these projects as the 28.8mhz TXCO itself is very hard to find.

  17. Gough Lui VK2FGYL

    I think this site knows what I’ve been up to – generally exploring the rtl-sdr to receive signals of any sort. My latest exploration made use of rtl_433 to decode some temperature monitors and my wireless doorbell transmitter (http://goughlui.com/?p=5395), with some of my prior work being referenced by this very site.

    Thanks very much for holding this competition and featuring some of my posts :) !

  18. Chris H.

    I would simply want to use it to expose my twin boys to the joys of long range HF. Cutting wires, choosing freqs, seeing how far things can go. That and have fun with toying around with gnuradio..

  19. Tiago Sousa

    I have a homemade QFH antenna in the attic mainly for NOAA weather satellites (search for #rtlsdr in my g+ profile) but I also enjoy APRS decoding, ADS-B (and the lesser known ACARS), and whatever else I can find. I also love to simply spend some time manually scanning the waves, visiting familiar transmissions and always discovering new ones. My rtlsdr is also in the attic, close to the antenna (I have a 10m cable from the attic to a home server below) and the temperature drifts really hurt ppm tuning. I’d love to test Saitou’s mod.

  20. Matthew

    I just started learning about and using the RTL-SDR recently. I’d like to be able to use it for local public safety scanning, which is all Project 25. However, any kind of merge between programming and radio is most awesome!

  21. Gavin Groce

    I have been working on a disc-cone kit for sdr users and am currently in the works with it, I would love to see how well it works with the modified dongle… I think I could get a kit for making a disc-cone under 25 dollars and easy to assemble.
    73 de Gavin

  22. p10n3r

    I’ve been dreaming about building a low-cost radio telescope based on RTL-SDR dongles and need in stable reception. Carrying out the researches people will discover lots of undiscovered things about space, acquiring new knowledge about astronomy, geography, biology and, of course, radio. This will engage more and more people to become a part of worldwide scientific movement. I think that will be great.

  23. roberto zinelli

    Hello, I like to try rtl-sdr on embedded devices. I recently tried to put rtl-sdr and dump1090 on a router WR703N to create a “remote antenna WiFi drived”
    Link to an Italian blog that talks about it.
      “Http://air-radiorama.blogspot.it/2013/11/chiavette-usb-sdr-e-wifi-una-magnifica.html”

    Happy New Year
    73 de IW4ENS
    Roberto Zinelli

  24. tom

    I’ve been playing with ADS-B reception, though I managed to misplace my SDR dongle. Grrrr. My stock unit needs a 67ppm correction.

  25. Ben

    Hi to the RTL SDR community !

    I’m in satellite telemetry reception.
    TCXO is a great improvent for me. For now I try to achive more in stability in activ cooling my dongle.

    Thanks and Merry Christmas and a happy New year.

  26. Top

    Looking some guy, update or advice for BANDs select-able to improve pass-band filters. May be use spare 8 GPIO of RTL2832U.
    … 2 ppm. Look good for JT65 .

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

  27. Rich

    This video got me interested in automatically detecting AM broadcast signals with an SDR:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zdyUzN1MLhM

    I’m working on a program that will automatically detect, classify and log all signals within an SDR’s instantaneous bandwidth.
    The output will look something like this:
    CURRENT DETECTED SIGNALS (14.1000 – 15.15000)
    FREQ (MHz) MODE CERTAINTY
    15.13500 AM 100%
    15.14500 AM 100%
    14.32500 SSB 98%
    14.07015 PSK31 100%
    .
    .
    .
    (DOUBLE-CLICK ON FREQ TO LISTEN)

  28. gat3way

    I come from the hash cracking scene, I was introduced to RTL-SDR while trying to break A5/1 crypto by exploiting weaknesses other than the TMTO approach on GPUs. My attack is now working and available as plugin to my software ( ). I got increasingly interested in that stuff until I ordered several dongles and started constructing DIY antennas. My “grand plan” is to build a 4 dongles system connected to a number of antennas on the roof to perform various automated tasks (e.g automated NOAA reception, band scanning, radio noise level measurements, ADS-B online radar, etc). We are a small European country and we are now trying to build a rtl-sdr community (I started a forum to that purpose, )

    Well that’s from me :)

    • gat3way

      Sorry for the hyperlinks issue, looks like I messed up something with the href tags and since there is no comment preview, I noticed the problem after posting :(

  29. alexander - yo2ldk

    i need this dongle to make reception station Radio Telescope, to hear Natural Radio signals produced by atmospheric phenomena such as lightning and aurora. VLF (Very Low Frequency, less than 500HZ) signals from the magnetosphere , listening to electromagnetic generated by storms on Jupiter, to picking up pulsar signals, searching for ET signals, Radio meteor reflections listening, and all about space sound receptions .
    This sample of the TCXO modified dongle, will be more stable and is an precious help for that!

  30. Demilson, PY2UEP

    I´m dreaming about a networked RDF system to help maintain healthy our amateurs bands. The price of RTL dongles makes possible to have with very low cost several versatile rx stations. I´m at present engaged to find some interfering sources near my QTH using the RTL in a mobile fashion.
    Happy New Year to all!
    73 de PY2UEP

  31. Scott Letendre

    One dongle dedicated to ADSB. Another mainly used to feed P25 control channel to unitrunker.

    Would love to get a converter or LNB to go outside the stock frequency range and explore utility signals.

  32. Truth

    Thinking about implementing an idea I have for the detection of spread-spectrum transmissions below the noise floor (mostly used in Covert listening device or bugs). Haven’t worked it all out yet, still a work in progress.

    Some secure communications use a pseudo-random sequence, which is known only to the transmitter and receiver. This sequence is used to select the frequencies at which data will be transmitted using spread spectrum. The receive correlates the signal using the known pseudo-random frequencies, in order to retrieve the data. A receiver which does not know the sequence cannot even detect the presence of a the spread spectrum signal, because it is usually under the noise level. The presence of a transmission is very difficult to detect.

    If you have never heard of this technique before then the seed of the original idea is always worth a read: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hedy_Lamarr#Frequency-hopping_spread-spectrum_invention

  33. grey

    Thanks to rtl-sdr I got interested enough to take the test to become an amateur radio operator. With my newly found access to all sorts of antennas some really interesting stuff to learn about and try to pick up should be available with one of these.

  34. grumpyMutant

    Just getting into SDR, and using an rtl-sdr as my learning learning crutch for the foreseeable future. Right now, I’m rummaging through the military vhf/uhf frequencies and the local airport’s tower and ground chatter. When I’m not actively using my hardware, I’m tracking aircraft flying overheadwith adsb. Future plans are to build a low cost radio telescope, which this upgraded doggle will defenaitly help with!

  35. Darren Maunu

    My big plans are to make a mast mount ADSB receiver using the R820T, USB cat5 extender, home brew coax collinear antenna and netbook. The netbook would then feed data to another computer that would process the data and share it with various plane tracking sites, along with my viewing pleasure. I plan to thermally control the mast mount enclosure to a point but there will still be fluctuations so that’s where a TCXO would be perfect! I can’t afford an ADSB receiving station with it’s $1000 price tag so I’m hoping to build one with decent results for a fraction of the cost.

  36. Austin Bartz

    I honestly don’t have that much for big plans, but I am a freshman electrical engineering student at the milwaukee school of engineering and right now I am just trying to make a trunking decoding system to listen in on local radio. In addition I bought a Ham-it-up and am hoping to be granted access to the university’s amature radio station antenna so I can hook it up to my R820T and listen to some HF stations.

  37. Ruben Hernandez

    I’m developing an automated NOAA receiving station. Based on an ARM board from Olimex, it will be able to automatically receive NOAA passes, process the received images and publish them on a web page.

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