JAERO: A RTL-SDR compatible decoder for Inmarsat AERO signals

AERO is a system that provides a L-Band satellite based version of VHF ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System). ACARS is typically used by ground control and pilots to send short messages and is also sometimes used for telemetry. With JAERO and an RTL-SDR these signals can be decoded.

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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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RTL-SDR for Budget Radio Astronomy

With the right additional hardware, the RTL-SDR software defined radio can be used as a super cheap radio telescope for radio astronomy experiments such as observing the Hydrogen Line and meteor detection.

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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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The BIG List of RTL-SDR Supported Software

There are now dozens of software defined radio packages that support the ultra cheap RTl-SDR. In this post we will attempt to list, categorize and provide a brief overview of each software program.

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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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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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List of SDRSharp Plugins

There are a number of SDRSharp plugins that extend its functionality. Here is a collection of all the plugins and download links that we know of.

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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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RTL-SDR Direct Sampling Mode

The RTL-SDR software defined radio can be told to run in a mode called “direct sampling mode”, which with a small hardware mod allows the dongle to tune to the HF frequencies where ham radio and many other interesting signals are found. This means that no upconverter circuit is required.

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Register your interest in Airspy

You can now register your interest in purchasing an AirSpy software defined radio dongle on the new AirSpy website. AirSpy is a new software defined radio similar to the RTL-SDR currently under development by the creator of SDR#.

AirSpy promises to be an improvement on the RTL-SDR with its large 10 MHz bandwidth, 24-1750 MHz tuneable range, 12-bit ADC and a programmable Cortex M4F @ 204 MHz on board CPU. In comparison the typical RTL-SDR has ~2.4 MHz of usable bandwidth, a 24-1750 MHz tuneable range and an 8-bit ADC. A higher bit ADC can help in receiving weaker signals. AirSpy is expected to sell at around the $100-$150 mark, with it being on the cheaper end if there is greater interest.

AirSpy Dongle
AirSpy Software Defined Radio Receiver

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