Experimenting with the R820T2 Tuner Chip

The R820T is the tuner chip that is used in the most popular RTL-SDR dongles. It turns out that there is also an R820T2 tuner chip available, but it does not seem to be used in any RTL-SDR dongles that we know of. According to superkuh’s RTL-SDR notes, the R820T2 has better sensitivity over the R820T with an apparent 6dB lower noise floor. It also has a wider IF bandwidth which makes no difference to the RTL-SDRs 3.2 MHz maximum bandwidth, but is why the Airspy with its 10 MHz of bandwidth is using the R820T2 in its design.

Nobu an RTL-SDR experimenter who had previously experimented with dongles retrofitted with TCXO’s has now retrofitted a standard RTL-SDR dongle with an R820T2 tuner chip (note that this post is in Japanese). The Google translation of this post is a little to difficult understand, but it seems that Nobu did notice an improvement due to the lower noise floor. If anyone can understand Japanese we’d appreciate confirmation on this in the comments.

R820T2 Tuner Chip
R820T2 Tuner Chip

10 comments

  1. Andre

    I have the older T, if anyone has one of these they want rid of please message me. I can make use of units with quite a range of issues including: bad remote, not recognized (typically this is bit rot in the eeprom), etc. Also units which have very low or no signal even at max gain but noise goes up are a specific fixable fault.

  2. Gary

    I have a Cinergy TStick+. The chip located where the 820T2 should be located is painted over. The Ebay selling no longer has the 820T2 chip in the advertisement.

    Does any of the software indicate a 820t2 chip is in use?

  3. BobbyJ

    Just purchased a NooElec NESDR Mini 2 SDR & DVB-T USB Stick (RTL2832 + R820T2) & got it to run on Win 7 64 with recommended SDR Sharp program okay. Tested so far on FM broadcast band signals only so far. Looks like SDR Sharp doesn’t offer DAB+ decoding. Can anyone recommend a hardware compatible SDR software for decoding DRM+ ? This is my first SDR radio.

  4. Ben

    I recently received one of the R820T2 Terratec RTL sticks. After some casual listening, they do seem to be more sensitive and have a lower noise floor. I have one in use as an ADS-B receiver and the reduced noise floor seems to have extended my range a bit.

    • Cyk

      This stick may be a fake, because the place for the E²PROM on the PCB is empty. Therefore the USB VID/PID will default to the one from Realtek. OEM’s like Terratec always use an E²PROM to store their VID/PID, and the configuration of the remote control. All genuine Terratec sticks come with an IR remote control, that is missing here. Also, I couldn’t find any stick on the Terratec website that looks like this one. So I think it’s a fake. I’m sure it will run with the rtlsdr software, but without E²PROM, don’t expect it to run with the original Terratec software (like the DAB+ receiver).

  5. Robert

    I took a look at the spec’s on the R820T2 chip and I guess that if you would want the HF bands you would still have to do direct sampling . I was hoping for the capability of being a all in one bands .

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