Comparisons between the R820T and R820T2 RTL-SDR Tuners

Over on the hamradioscience blog the author has uploaded a post showing a comparison between the R820T and the R820T2 tuners.

Recently Nooelec began selling RTL-SDR dongles with the R820T2 tuner chip in them (Ebay). The R820T2 tuner has been anecdotally reported as having slightly better sensitivity (~2-6 dB better). It also works much better with Oliver Jowetts experimental RTL-SDR driver which enables HF reception without any hardware modifications.

In the post the author compares the two tuners by simultaneously running both with SDR# and the same antenna type and comparing the results. From his results the author writes that although not night and day, there is a noticeable difference in sensitivity between the two tuners. He also writes that for ADS-B the R820T2 performed much better, reporting significantly more packets and further distances compared to the R820T.

Comparison between the R820T2 and R820T on a NOAA weather station. (R820T2 Top, R820T Bottom)
Comparison between the R820T2 and R820T on a NOAA weather station. (R820T2 Top, R820T Bottom)


  1. Nico

    I am not sure if two different dongles can be compared this way – doing such comparisons just spreads non sense to the public.

    For example I have two dongles from the same manufacturer and with the same chips inside but each dongle behaves different. One is quite sensitive with less image rejection as down side, the other is less sensitive but also have a better image rejection.

    I don’t understand how somebody can evaluate the tuner on completely different dongles.

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