Over on YouTube Double A Labs has posted a new video demonstrating how to use an RTL-SDR and Android device to receive broadcast FM stations, and to decode any associated RDS data.
In the video Double A uses the SDR Touch Android app and the Advanced RDS function to show the RDS information. He goes on to explain the various pieces of information RDS data provides including clock time, active RDS groups and alternative frequencies.
Tune broadcast FM radio and decode Radio Data System (RDS) information using your Android phone and an RTL-SDR USB (see parts list below). RDS can include station identification, song name, the current time for a receiver to sync its clock, alternative frequencies the same program is on, and more!
Tuning FM Radio & Decoding RDS Data on ANDROID using RTL-SDR USB
In our last post we mentioned that a 'pre-release' public version of SDR++ for Android was recently released. Now over on the SignalsEverywhere YouTube channel Sarah has uploaded a new video where she reviews and demonstrates the new SDR++ Android App.
In the video Sarah demonstrates how to connect and start a SDR, shows SDR++ in action, then tests listening to NOAA weather audio reports, Inmarsat reception via the bias tee support, P25 and broadcast FM. She also shows how it's possible to use the split screen multitasking feature on Android to send audio from SDR++ into APRSdroid for APRS decoding.
She goes on to show how to fine tune the screen PPI resolution for different sized devices, and how to set up multi-VFO listening on the HF bands. Next, she compares the audio decoding quality between SDR++, SDRTouch and RFAnalyzer. Finally she shows that a HackRF running at a wideband 20 MHz of bandwidth can run smoothly.
The Android SDR App That Beats Them All! Supports RTL-SDR Airspy HackRF and Many More!
SDR++ is an open source program compatible with most software defined radios including the RTL-SDR that has been going through rapid development making it now one of the top software choices.
Yesterday a public 'pre-release' Android version of SDR++ was made available for download. The release is announced as a 'pre-release' due to various bugs still existing. However, we note that we have been testing a private release for the past few weeks, and we can say that it is working great most of the time. The Android App replicates most of the desktop experience perfectly, and it operates very smoothly on most modern devices.
The author Alexandre Rouma writes:
I'm happy to release the first public pre-release of SDR++ for android. It's still quite early and has a few bugs and quirks that you might run into:
SDR MUST be plugged in before starting SDR++ and you MUST press refresh in the SDR source you're using before pressing play if you first plugged in the SDR or unplugged/replugged, otherwise expect a crash. The USB handling still needs some work.
There are still a few UI glitches
There is no easy way to select a path for recording or file for playback
The audio sink on Android may have higher latency
All menus sometimes close when app goes in the background.
Resizing the menu and/or waterfall is kinda fiddly, be precise when trying to grab the resize bar!!!
At some size menu sizes, the app crashes. If this happens, start in landscape
On Samsung devices, the keyboard doesn't always work for some obscure reason...
Since phones usually have a high screen resolution, set the DPI scaling in the Display menu or you'll have a hard time using the app.
Current Device/Protocol Support:
PlutoSDR (network only)
In any case, I'd love to get some feedback on it, so feel free to try it out and let me know!
The Ham FM Radio app allows the user to quickly tune and listen in to the 144-148, 150-174 and 420-450 MHz ham radio communications via presets. For the second ADS-B app, James notes that it's an early release for feedback. It allows the user to receive ADS-B data and plot it on a radar like display.
Over on YouTube Dr. Diep N. Nguyen has posted a video showing work done to create a Real Time spectrum database by his team at University of Technology Sydney. The project involves the use of multiple RTL-SDR dongles and Android mobile devices to monitor the spectrum and make it accessible to requestors in real time. They write:
In view of the escalating demand for higher mobile data (from IoT, industry 4.0 applications), there is a growing world-wide interest to improve the radio spectrum utilization. Effective management of the wireless spectrum requires knowledge of the available bandwidth at any given time and location, which necessitates expensive recording equipment and labour cost at various locations. A number of countries, including the USA, are opening up TV and radar bands for sharing with other applications. Google has taken the lead by opening its spectrum database for TV whitespaces. Our solution goes beyond the state-of-the-art Google spectrum database by providing the world’s first real-time radio spectrum database.
Radio Spectrum Database at UTS The UTS’s Global Big Data Technologies Centre team has developed advanced sensing capability to deliver a low-cost, yet more robust radio spectrum database. By leveraging big data science, edge computing power, crowdsourcing, and low-cost SDR (software defined radio) adaptors, a real-time snapshot of the wireless spectrum can be recorded on any Android device. The spectrum data is aggregated and visualize onto a web dashboard, allowing industry stakeholders and regulators to better facilitate dynamic radio spectrum monitoring and sharing.
• World’s first real-time spectrum database • Fast deployment and can cover a wide range of frequency • Provide spectrum on-demand to IoT, industry 4.0 applications • Rich datasets from millions of mobile users across various locations • 24/7 cost-effective and real-time radio spectrum monitoring system • Economical: $20 RTL-SDR adaptors and labor-free versus costly sensing equipment • Scalable: Cloud deployment allows infrastructure to be scaled as user base grows (millions of users) • Easy to use and install via Android Play Store • User-friendly interface with Google Map embedded system
The PatronX Titus II SDR is something we've been posting about several times since 2016, but in the end it was never released and assumed to be vaporware. However, we found that the website for the Titus II SDR was updated only a few weeks ago, and pricing details have been added advertising $120 and $150 for two versions of the product. But on the new website there is no store, just an email link to contact sales for ordering information. We contacted that email two weeks ago for more information but have not received a reply back yet.
The PantronX Titus II was advertised to be a portable Android tablet based SDR that would feature a 100 kHz - 2 GHz tuning range, and software that focuses on HF digital DRM decoding, as well as DAB on VHF. Computer rendered images show the tablet housed in a portable carry enclosure with two speakers. Their new website writes:
The design of rTablet / rTab defined radio receiver started in 2014. It soon became evident that electronic products available on the market could not be modified to incorporate the advanced features requested by potential buyers. This initiated the process of the innovative design of the Titus SDR (Software Defined Radio) unit. The engineering team started with a general purpose computer unit and embedding it in a broadband radio receiver module.
All types of applications, including RF software, could be installed. For example, DRM capabilities could be added as DRM is an open source. Dream Linux app was converted to run under Android mobile operating system.
The Titus rTablet / rTab being introduced to the market, is a low cost, high performance platform with many RF and PC factory installed applications.
Key feature of rTablet / rTab is the compatibility with analog (SW, AM, FM) and digital standards (DRM, DRM+, DAB, DAB+, HD). Consequently the market of rTablet / rTab is global.
The updated website with pricing and an ordering email makes us think that it might be finally on the way, but the lack of email reply is concerning. If anyone has any further information about the rTab/Titus II please be sure to share with us in the comments!
On the Google Play store developer Knowle Consultants have recently released a new free application called "FM Radio (RTL-SDR)". This is a simple app that allows you to use a connected or remotely networked RTL-SDR to tune into preset broadcast FM stations. People wishing to use an Android enabled head unit in their car may be interested in the app as it makes tuning into broadcast FM stations easy just like it is on a standard radio.
They also have a similar app called "Airband Radio (RTL-SDR)" which provides a similar simple interface for tuning into airband presets.
The company ebcTech who makes AIS Share for Android has recently come out with a new app which is an Android App version of Dump1090. Dump1090 is a popular command line based ADS-B decoder for RTL-SDR dongles which allows you to receive and plot the locations of nearby aircraft on a map.
The app directly accesses the RTL-SDR via a USB OTG connection and provides a list of aircraft with planespotters.net image lookup, and a Google map display. The app is free however there is a message limit on received aircraft which can be unlocked via a low cost in-app purchase.
The author also wrote in and wanted to make a note about a special feature "In the app you can add Airport layers – This consist now 4480 Airports – most of them with corresponding homepage address / or Wikipedia link."