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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Measuring filter characteristics and antenna VSWR with an RTL-SDR and noise source

By using an RTL-SDR dongle together with a low cost noise source it is possible to measure the response of an RF filter. Also, with an additional piece of hardware called a directional coupler the standing wave ratio (SWR) of antennas can also be measured.

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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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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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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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Decoding Inmarsat STD-C EGC Messages

With an RTL-SDR dongle, a cheap $10 modified GPS antenna or 1-2 LNA’s and a patch, dish or helix antenna you can listen to Inmarsat satellite signals, and decode the STD-C NCS channel which contains information such as search and rescue (SAR) and coast guard messages as well as news, weather and incident reports.

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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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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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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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RTL-SDR used as a Cheap Real Time Spectrum Analyzer

The rtl-sdr dongle can be been used as a super cheap $20 real-time spectrum analyzer. This is great as commercial spectrum analyzers can run from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

First of all, SDRSharp and other SDR software packages are essentially spectrum analyzers themselves. They all have real time frequency spectrum and waterfall viewers. They are however, not exactly portable.

A portable spectrum analyzer is shown by amateur radio hobbyist and blogger OZ9AEC. He has combined an rtl-sdr dongle, a low cost portable Linux computer known as Beaglebone, and an LCD screen, and turned them into a portable spectrum analyzer. OZ9AEC shows a video demo of his project in this video.

A cheap spectrum analyzer can be useful in many situations. For example, Marek Wodzinski uses the rtl-sdr as a spectrum analyzer for optimizing his FPV radio transmissions. Many other people seem to be interested in a rtl-sdr for this purpose too.

A Google groups post discussing use of the rtl-sdr dongle as a spectrum analyzer is here.

 

2 comments

  1. adr

    Is there a way to add video filtering to somehow limit all the “hash”? Still, I am impressed with screen refresh rate.

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