Characterizing RF Filters with a Noise Source and RTL-SDR Dongle
Over on YouTube RTL-SDR experimenter Adam Alicajic has uploaded a video showing how it is possible to use the RTL-SDR as a tool to measure the frequency response of an RF filter. To do this he uses a noise source circuit which produces wide band white noise connected to an LNA4ALL, connected to the RF filter and finally connected to the RTL-SDR. Then using the Touchstone spectrum analyzer software he does a 300 MHz bandwidth sweep over a section of the spectrum which shows the response of the filter.
The noise source can be built from a simple diode based circuit as shown in a previous post, or if you have the Ham-it-up upconverter you can buy the parts for the noise generator part of the circuit.
In his video he shows the frequency response of a 145 MHz helix filter, a coax notch filter and a 1090 MHz home brew bandpass filter.