Over on YouTube Eric William has posted a video about his competition where he is giving away two 3D printed ham-it-up upconverter cases. The ham-it-up is an upconverter that can be used with the RTL-SDR to allow it to receive HF (0-30 MHz) frequencies. To enter the competition you simply need to go to Erics web forum and post about what you use SDR for in the competition thread. The competition is open only for North American viewers and ends on May 19 2014.
For each test he used a gain of 0dB and the same 20 foot random wire antenna. Interestingly, his results show that the SDR Up 100 significantly outperforms the Ham-it-up upconverter. We believe that this may be as the SDR Up 100 has an LNA built into it whereas the Ham it up does not.
Update: Akos has now included comparisons with various RTL gain settings.
The Ham-It-Up upconverter uses a 5V USB power input. I discovered that different 5v power sources can cause significant interference with this upconverter, and the same effect will probably occur in other upconverters as well.
When the upconverter was powered by mains power via a phone charger, the signals were almost completely drowned out in noise. Powering it with a PC USB port was better, but the PC USB power introduced some other strong noise sources. Powering it with a battery (used a mobile phone with OTG cable) was the best option. There are still some strong noise sources present, but I can probably solve them with better shielding.
Click continue reading to see some comparison images.
On the thisisnt.com blog, the author has posted about his project where he placed the rtl-sdr dongle, and a ham-it-up upconverter together into a metal box. This helps with shielding out interference, and also in helping to tidy up the cabling.
Thank you to Marco (IS0KYB) for informing us about the release of his new software called "SuperSDR". SuperSDR allows you to easily synchronize frequency tuning with a remote KiwiSDR via a CAT connection to a standard ham radio. The KiwiSDR is a 14-bit wideband RX only HF SDR which has up to 32 MHz of bandwidth, so it can receive the entire 10 kHz - 30 MHz spectrum all at once.
It allows to use a remote KiwiSDR along with a local (or even remote) standard radio in sync. It works on Linux, Windows and MacOSX.
The main purpose is to have an interactive panadapter that is not forcibly tied to our local antenna, but allows one to try any combination of CAT radio / SDR. I'd like to implement a remote KiwiSDR selection interface to choose the best SDR for the purpose.
I'm still developing it, and it is not complete feature-wise, but it is ready to be used.
Somebody asked me if it would be possible to integrate a RTL-SDR into it and I plan to do that using the old PEPYSCOPE project code [covered in a previous post].
The video below shows a slightly older version of SuperSDR in action.
The tutorials move on to installing and using various ham radio programs like Fldigi, WSJT-X , GQRX, GNU Radio, before going on to teach some more Linux concepts. The final two PDF tutorials cover the installation and use of OpenWebRX for remote RTL-SDR use, R2Cloud for decoding weather satellites, and finally Radiosonde Auto RX for decoding radiosonde's on weather balloons.
A few days ago we posted about the release of the new NooElec Ham-It-Up Nano upconverter which sells for US$49.95 on their store and Amazon. Upconverters enable SDRs that cannot tune in the HF bands to receive HF by shifting the low HF frequencies "up" into a range receivable by most VHF/UHF capable SDRs.
In his latest video Techminds reviews the Nano together with an E4000 tuner based RTL-SDR with built in bias tee. In the video he demonstrates it working with the SDR# software, and shows how to set the Shift parameter to ensure that the correct frequency offset it set. He goes on to demonstrate reception through the various HF bands confirming that the unit works as expected.