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Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 2:19 pm
by g8ina
Morning all, 1st post here :)

I have a bog standard £25 RTL dongle which I ideally need to run from my downstairs PC as the antenna connections are in the upstairs office. To save running extra coax I tried a USB/Cat6 extender but it didn't work. So, if I ran the software on my upstairs PC can I access and control it from my downstairs PC over my network ?

Win 7 HP on both PCs, and either Cat6 Gigabit wired or wireless network running 1750AC.

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:22 pm
by AD5NL
There are a few options here, in approximately-decreasing order of network bandwidth used:

1. TCP transport of raw IQ data. You could run rtl_tcp and pipe the data over the network. Note: You're probably going to get somewhat crummy performance unless (maybe) you are using your wired gigabit ethernet. Using WiFi I have found myself limited to about 900k samples/second.

2. UDP transport of audio. You could run gqrx (or equivalent) upstairs and then transport the audio downstairs.

3. Run everything upstairs, but control it remotely using Remote Desktop, VNC, TeamViewer, etc.


The first option is by far the most flexible and powerful. The third option is probably the easiest to set up. The second option wouldn't let you tune around remotely, but would allow you to multicast audio (I think).

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Thu Jan 05, 2017 9:27 pm
by AD5NL
FWIW, I've used rtl_tcp to stream from a Linux desktop (as well as a Raspberry Pi) to a Windows laptop running SDR#.

I have always used rtl_tcp on Linux but there is a Windows build floating around of the Osmocom RTLSDR utilities. You'll need to find that to use rtl_tcp as a streaming IQ server.

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:32 am
by rtlsdrblog
USB Ethernet cable extenders are only USB 1 compatible, and RTL-SDR needs USB 2.0. You could try an active USB extension cable instead.

If you're on Windows you could also try to use the SDR-Console server. This uses much less bandwidth compared to rtl_tcp.

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 10:45 am
by g8ina
Thanks guys, food for thought, and a steep learning curve. Most of that was over my head TBH, but I can still learn ;)

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Sat Jan 07, 2017 12:25 pm
by g8ina
As it happens the point is moot, my RTL cannot hear anything on HF bands :( VHF is fine, but HF is as dead as a proverbial :(

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 4:22 pm
by g8ina
Sorted the deaf HF, Id not set the I/Q correctly.

Now Ive tried Teamviewer, worked OK, but very stuttery, even with everything limited to reduce bandwidth. Currently investigating other options including SDR-Radio.

Will report back, thanks again.

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Sun Jan 08, 2017 5:03 pm
by DB Gain
If running windows, have you tried rdp?

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Sun Jan 15, 2017 5:20 pm
by g8ina
Well, *finally* got this sorted.

Half the problem was me not fully understanding what I was doing :( Now I've RTFM, and as if by magic, my HDSDR installation works perfectly, and Team Viewer works beautifully. Set bandwidth to 1MHz and reduced colour to LOW, chose speed over quality, turned off Aero.

I'm now sitting at my downstairs PC running Team Viewer, and HDSDR upstairs, listening to USA on 20m :)

Thanks for all the suggestions, Ill learn quicker next time.

Re: Running a dongle on a networked PC ?

Posted: Mon Jan 16, 2017 4:42 am
by hotpaw2
For my networked personal computer, I'm running a Raspberry Pi 3 with an RTL-SDR V.3 dongle. The Pi is near my antenna, and streaming IQ data using rtl_tcp over WiFi to my Mac and iPad down at the other end of the house. Depending on WiFi interference in the neighborhood (quite a lot), the signal does stutter at higher sample rates, but works well late at night.

For my iOS devices, nothing else was available, so I've coded my own SDR software completely in Swift 3, including all the filters, some demodulators for AM and FM, and some spectrum viewers. Doesn't look anywhere as nice or sophisticated as some of the PC SDR software available, but pretty much sounds just as good. Next step might be to hook this SDR code up to my apps, the HotPaw Morse Decoder (which can be found in the iOS and Mac App stores).