Reddit user rtlsdr_is_fun has updated the SDRSharp Unitrunker trunking plugin so that it works with the latest versions of SDRSharp. See the thread here for more information and a download link. Use this plugin to allow Unitrunker to control SDRSharp, so you can listen to trunked radio conversations. A new tutorial on doing this can be found here.
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.
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.
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.
Use your RTL-SDR in Linux to listen to TETRA, a digital trunked radio communications system that stands for “Terrestrial Trunked Radio”.
Follow trunked radio conversations with your RTL-SDR and a program called Unitrunker. Also decode digital communications like P25 and DMR using the Digital Speech Decoder (DSD+) software.
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.
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.
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.
Use your RTL-SDR to decode data from weather balloons (aka Radiosondes) that are launched twice daily by meteorological agencies all around the world.
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.