RTL-SDR sensitivity vs. cheap HT?

Need help installing or figuring out something about your SDR? Ask here.
Post Reply
msaleh
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun May 24, 2020 5:27 am

RTL-SDR sensitivity vs. cheap HT?

Post by msaleh » Sun May 24, 2020 5:32 am

I've been long into the RTL-SDR world with listening to stuff around me, but I've been constantly let down by seeing signals just barely noticeable and not recognizable. I've been seeing chatter on 2m and 70cm all around, but can't hear out any words, no matter how hard I try. You see, in my part of the country, ham radio is not very big, so I can't just go out and buy some decent antennae or good coax, I'd have to order them, at which point I'm paying a big premium on shipping. I've been trying all sorts of hand crafted antenna things, but none of them give the results I'd like to see. https://192168101.org/ https://19216811.site/ https://100001.dev/


I've been contemplating on buying a real radio (just for listening, I'm not licensed), which I assume have better sensitivity on the few bands it supports. I'm contemplating on buying a somewhat expensive HT with the GPS integrated and DMR receiver, since there's a DMR repeater not far from here, but I'd probably be fine with the analog HTs too.

TL;DR:

So my question is: Does a cheap HT (like a Baofeng or even a used older Yaesu, basically in the ~$130 range) have better sensitivity than the RTL-SDR, if I'd have them in the same place, with the same antenna at the same time? Thanks in advance

rtlsdrblog
Site Admin
Posts: 2743
Joined: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:54 pm

Re: RTL-SDR sensitivity vs. cheap HT?

Post by rtlsdrblog » Fri May 29, 2020 7:51 am

I think you'll find that the antenna matters a lot more than the radio. If you can't order any antennas, consider building them. Often they're not that hard to build. Get the antenna up high, and if you can't get good coax, try a USB extension cable.

A handheld will have similar sensitivity to an RTL-SDR. It might work better on the ham bands due to it having filtering though especially if you have strong interferers in your area.

Post Reply