Tagged: dongle

Buy RTL-SDR Dongles (RTL2832U)

Where to Buy RTLSDR RTL2832U DVB-T Tuner Dongles

There are several RTL-SDR RTL2832U dongle variants available for purchase due to different tuner chips and packages, with the R820T and E4000 variants being the best choices.

Reputable sources of dongles and related accessories are shown below.

Special ThumbNet R820T2 RTL-SDR

We are currently helping to sell surplus RTL-SDR dongles from the ThumbNet project. These surplus units are a special RTL-SDR custom order from the factory with TCXO oscillators, F-Type connectors and R820T2 tuners. These are currently selling for $39.95 plus $7.4 US shipping and $10 intl shipping. To order click add to cart or click below for more info.

Click here for more info on the ThumbNet TCXO Dongle

R820T/R820T2 RTL-SDR

The R820T/R820T2 RTL-SDR is currently the cheapest, most common, and most performing in terms of general sensitivity. The R820T/R820T2 has a frequency range of  24 – 1766 MHz. Note that the R820T2 is 100% fully compatible with software for the R820T.

We sell R820T2 dongles on Amazon (currently only available for US customers though international customers may consider using a low cost forwarding service like shipito).

Our dongles use the R820T2 chip, which has a slightly lower noise floor compared to the R820T. We also have an ESD protection diode on the input, use a surface mount crystal oscillator and use improved component tolerances on the resistors, inductors and capacitors which should result in a lower frequency offset and drift when compared to generic models.

Our units come with two telescopic antennas, one large and one small. These can be used to cover most frequencies that the RTL-SDR can tune to, though of course a roof mounted antenna will work much better. The antenna base also uses high quality low loss RG174 coax cable.

We offer a 1 year warranty against manufacturing defects and unofficial support on our forums or you can contact us for direct support through the Amazon contact system.

Remember that you can get free shipping on Amazon if you spend over $35 or are a Prime member. 

Another reputable place to buy a R820T RTL-SDR dongle is at the Nooelec Store. Nooelec also dongles have an ESD protection diode, improved components and phone support. These dongles are usually price at around $20. Click the link below to check the price.

There is also the Nano R820T package sold by Nooelec. These have similar price and performance to the standard sized package shown above. The Nooelec branded nano models come with improved crystal oscillators and capacitors compared to generic brands. The improvements help to increase frequency stability and lower the noise floor.

nooelec_nanoClick here to buy a Nooelec ‘Nano’ dongle (Ebay)

Nooelec also sell R820T2 dongles which can be bought from the link below.

Click here to buy a Nooelec R820T2 dongle (Ebay)

Note that it is possible to also purchase lower cost R820T RTL-SDRs on Amazon and Ebay from other sellers, but these usually ship from China taking up to 2-4 weeks for delivery and refunding faulty units will be difficult. However, this may be an option if you want several dongles. The lower cost R820T’s are essentially the same as the branded versions without the component improvements, support and fast shipping.

Also, take note of the uncommon Micro Coax (MCX) plug on these dongles. Check out the most commonly used MCX adapters further down the page.

E4000 RTL-SDR

The E4000 is more expensive as it has become rare since it has gone out of production. It has a frequency range of 52 – 2200 MHz with a gap from 1100 MHz to 1250 MHz.

The E4000 RTL-SDR dongle can still be bought from Nooelec Amazon as well. Due to its rareness, the cost of the E4000 is slowly rising. These dongles used to go for $20, but are now going for around $70-$100! Best to get them now if you need them before they sell out completely. Though note that for most cases an R820T2 unit is usually better.

Terratec E4000 DongleClick here to buy a E4000 dongle (Ebay)

Modded RTL-SDRs

There is a US manufacturer who is currently selling hand modified TCXO RTL-SDR dongles. These dongles have upgraded 1 ppm temperature compensated crystal oscillators which ensure high frequency stability.

US TCXO RTL-SDRClick here to buy a US TCXO RTL-SDR

Nooelec also sell custom TCXO RTL-SDRs and theirs come with an aluminium casing included.

Nooelec TCXO RTL-SDR DongleClick here to buy a Nooelec TCXO dongle (Ebay)

MCX Adapters

Most R820T RTL-SDRs use an MCX connection. To connect to antennas with different connectors you can use an adapter. MCX adapters are fairly cheap and most can be found on Amazon for under $10.

We also sell MCX adapter bundles which will have you prepared for almost any commonly used female connection needed including Type N, SMA, PAL, BNC, Type F and BNC. Our bundles work out much cheaper than buying several individually.

Pigtail Adapters SetClick here to buy a MCX -> Various Female Pigtail Adapter Set

Straight MCX Adapters SetClick here to buy a MCX -> Various Female Straight Adapter Set

Below are some individual adapters for sale.

smaFemaleMCX->SMA Female smaMaleMCX->SMA Male
BNCFemaleMCX->BNC Female BNCMaleMCX->BNC Male
UHFAdapterMCX->UHF(SO239) Female FAdapterMCX->F Female
NFemaleMCX->N Female NAdapterMCX-> N Male
PALAdapterMCX->PAL Female  

Ham-it-up Upconverter

Nooelec also sell the Ham-It-Up Upconverter. The ham-it-up is a quality upconverter that allows the RTL-SDR to receive HF (0-30 MHz) signals. It also works with other SDR’s such as the HackRF. The Ham-It-Up uses SMA Female connectors, so you will need an MCX->SMA Male adapter for the dongle.

Click here to buy a Ham-It-Up Upconverter (Ebay)

To go with the ham-it-up Nooelec sell a metal enclosure. The enclosure can fit both the ham-it-up and an RTL-SDR dongle in it and will help reduce radio interference.

hamitup_enclosureClick here to buy a Ham-It-Up Metal Enclosure (Ebay)

Antennas

The optimal antenna to use is highly dependent on the frequency you want to listen to. However, for general purpose scanning across all frequencies, we recommend using a Discone or Scantenna.

The Scantenna is a general purpose antenna with a frequency range of 30-1300Mhz and excellent reviews on Amazon. Most people find that the Scantenna outperforms a Discone in many situations. Scantennas go for around $50.

scantennaClick here to buy a Scantenna

The Discone is the ‘classic’ RTL-SDR antenna as it covers a wide range of frequencies like the Scantenna. A decent Discone can go for as little as $50.

disconeClick here to buy a Discone

RF Filters

Filters connect between your antenna and RTL-SDR dongle. They help to significantly reduce out of band interference and noise which is very helpful when trying to improve signal strength.

If you have strong FM band interference a good FM trap band stop filter such as this MCM one can help reduce this interference.

Fm_trapClick here to buy an FM Trap

If you are monitoring the air band for air traffic or ACARS you can buy 118 – 138 MHz bandpass filters.

Click here to buy an air band band pass filter

For ADS-B aircraft tracking a 1090 MHz bandpass filter can significantly increase the radar range and messages received.

Click here to buy an ADS-B band pass filter

Other RTL-SDR Related Purchases

Check out our book about the RTL-SDR here! It contains many tutorials and lot’s of tips and tricks to get the most out of your RTL-SDR radio.

The Hobbyists Guide to RTL-SDR: Really Cheap Software Defined RadioClick here to buy our Ebook: The Hobbyists Guide to the RTL-SDR

Nooelec also sell handy aluminum cases for RTL-SDR dongles which help with shielding from local interference.

Aluminum CaseClick here to buy an aluminum RTL-SDR case

You may also want to get an active USB extension cable so that you can put the RTL-SDR dongle as close to the antenna as possible to reduce coaxial feed line losses and decrease RF interference from your PC.

ActiveUSBClick here to buy an active USB Extension Cable

A Raspberry Pi is a credit card sized computer that runs Linux. With it you can connect an RTL-SDR, run a server, and then remotely send a signal or processed data such as ADS-B aircraft locations back via WiFi or Ethernet cable.

raspberrypi Click here to buy a Raspberry Pi

A USB on-the-go (OTG) cable is required to use the RTL-SDR on Android phones with software like SDR Touch and Wavesink. We recommend cables that come with power plugs as well.

usbotgClick here to buy a USB OTG Cable

If you have long runs of coaxial cable, a low noise amplifier (LNA) may aid in helping to ‘push’ weak signals through. We recommend the LNA4ALL LNA.

LNA4AllClick here to buy an LNA4ALL

Noise can appear on the USB cable which can show up in the RF spectrum quite easily. To stop this noise use clip on ferrite cables on the USB cable.

ferrite_clip_onClick here to buy clip on ferrite cores

If you are using a long wire or random wire antenna with a HF modded RTL-SDR or an upconverter you should use a 9:1 impedance transformer to get good SWR.

9:1 Impedance TransformerClick here to buy a 9:1 impedance transformer