Roundup of Software Defined Radios

New software defined radio (SDR) products are popping up every few months these days so we thought we’d compile a big list of available SDRs.

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Receiving Meteor-M N2 LRPT Weather Satellite Images

The Meteor-M N2 is a polar orbiting Russian weather satellite. With an RTL-SDR an appropriate antenna, you can receive and decode its image downlink and download LRPT weather satellite images.

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Receiving ACARS Airplane Data

ACARS is an acronym for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System and is a digital communications system that aircraft use to send and receive short messages to and from ground stations. With an RTL-SDR these messages can be decoded.

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POCSAG Pager Decoding

Decode POCSAG pager messages with an RTL-SDR. Even in the modern day pagers are still popular with doctors, some fire and ambulance agencies and various service companies, as they tend to be more reliable and have greater coverage.

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Cheap ADS-B Aircraft RADAR

Modern planes use something called an ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) Mode-S transponder, which periodically broadcasts location and altitude information to air traffic controllers. The RTL-SDR can be used to listen to these ADS-B signals, which can then be used to create your very own home aircraft radar system.

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Analyzing GSM with Airprobe/GR-GSM and Wireshark

The RTL-SDR software defined radio can be used to analyze cellular phone GSM signals, using Linux based tools GR-GSM (or Airprobe) and Wireshark.

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Receiving NOAA Weather Satellite Images

Everyday multiple NOAA weather satellites pass above you. Each NOAA weather satellite broadcasts an Automatic Picture Transmission (APT) signal, which contains a live weather image of your area. The RTL-SDR dongle combined with a good antenna, SDRSharp and a decoding program can be used to download and display these live images several times a day.

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Cheap AIS Ship Tracking

Large ships and passenger boats are required to broadcast an identification signal containing position, course, speed, destination, and vessel dimension information to help prevent sea collisions. This system is known as the “Automatic Identification System” or AIS for short. AIS can be decoded with an RTL-SDR dongle and right software.

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Decoding Meteor-M2 Weather Satellite Images in Real-Time

It is now possible to decode the Meteor M2 weather satellite images in real time on Windows using an RTL-SDR and a plugin for SDR#.

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Listening to TETRA Radio

Use your RTL-SDR in Linux to listen to TETRA, a digital trunked radio communications system that stands for “Terrestrial Trunked Radio”.

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KN0CK and KF7LZE Custom HF RTL-SDR Receiver Revision 5

Update: KN0CKs products are now available at http://www.kn0ck.com/HF_SDR/.

Previously on this blog we’ve seen KN0CK release his custom modified RTL-SDR tuners which have built in upconverters for accessing the HF bands. Revision 5 of the KN0CK receiver is now almost ready for sale, and will be sold over at KF7LZE’s webstore Easy-Kits.com.

Revision 5 promises to be lower priced as it will run using the direct sampling mod instead of using an upconverter which would require more components. It will also use a Mini-Circuits MAR 8 wideband amplifier to improve weak signal performance.

Kn0CK and KF7LZE RTL-SDR HF Receiver Rev. 5
Kn0CK and KF7LZE RTL-SDR HF Receiver Rev. 5

3 comments

  1. KF7LZE

    The Rev 5 dongle works as well as the version with an upconverter circuit, and covers the same frequency range (500 kHz-55 MHz), but has many fewer parts which allows us to keep the cost down. This method does not allow quadrature sampling, however, as the antenna input to the tuner RFIC has been bypassed; you must use Direct Sampling.

  2. Pingback: For Sale: The KN0CK and KF7LZE RTLSDR for HF Rev. 5! | KF7LZE & Rain City Audio
  3. Anurag

    Has anyone tried KN0CK v5 Direct sampling mod based Dongle. Understand that it has a amplifier also.
    Does it work good to act as like Upconverter setup?

    Does same dongle also allow Quadrature Sampling ?

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