RTL-SDR Blog V.3. Dongles User Guide

RTL-SDR Blog V3 Counterfeit Warning!

If you have purchased a counterfeit RTL-SDR Blog V3 device the features described in this guide may not work correctly, if at all. If you were tricked into thinking it was an original RTL-SDR Blog V3, please lodge a dispute with the marketplace platform purchased from. 

Please purchase either directly from our store, or using the links on the store to official marketplace listings or resellers.

Version 3 of our customized RTL-SDR dongles brought out some new interesting features. In this guide we explain how to use those feature. If you are interested, we also have the V3 feature datasheet available here.

Feature 1: Direct Sampling HF Mode

This feature allows you to listen to HF signals between about 500 kHz to 28.8 MHz.

To use direct sampling mode

  1. Connect an appropriate HF antenna to the SMA antenna port (this is the same port where you connect your VHF/UHF antenna). 
  2. In SDR# select the Q-branch in the configure menu (the cog icon next to the play button). (If it is greyed out make sure you stop the SDR first, by clicking the stop button in SDR#)
  3. Press Play and tune to 500 kHz - 28.8 MHz.

Q-branch

VHF antennas like small discones or short whip antennas will probably not pick up HF signals very well, if at all. If you have one of our dipole antennas, try connecting a long 5 meter or longer wire to the element connected to the coax center wire. To check which element is connected to the center coax you can open the lid on the black dipole base. Ideally you should use a 9:1 unun with the long wire antenna for optimal reception. Even more ideally you'd use an antenna tuner, though this is expensive.

We can also highly recommend the use of low cost active magnetic loop antennas like the MLA30+.

MW Attenuation Curve Note: In newer RTL-SDR Blog V3 batches the attenuation curve for direct sampling has been tweaked in order to provide greater attenuation in the MW band (below 2 MHz). The reason for this is that many users experience severe overload from strong broadcast AM stations which can cause problems with reception above 2 MHz.

The result is that reception of the MW broadcast AM band will be poorer, but reception above 2 MHz could be improved in many cases where overload was present before. However, reception on the MW bands with an appropriate HF antenna even with the attenuation is not usually a problem due to their extreme high power and local location.

HDSDR/GQRX and Other Software

Other software like HDSDR and GQRX can also support direct sampling. It may entail setting a device string, and for the Q-branch, the value should be 2 (or sometimes 3). In GQRX the device string would be "rtl=0,direct_samp=2" (without the quotes). In some installs that use different drivers it may be "rtl=0,direct_samp=3" instead. Make sure that there is no space after the comma. For SDR-Console please see this linked post for a modified ExtIO that can enable direct sampling. SDR-Touch on Android has a direct sampling option available in its settings page.

To go back to listening to frequencies above 28.8 MHz remember to change the sampling mode back to "Quadrature Sampling".

Note that this feature makes use of direct sampling and so aliasing will occur. The RTL-SDR ADC samples at 28.8 MHz, thus you may see mirrors of strong signals from 0 - 14.4 MHz while tuning to 14.4 - 28.8 MHz and the other way around as well. To remove these images you need to use a low pass filter for 0 - 14.4 MHz, and a high pass filter for 14.4 - 28.8 MHz, or simply filter your band of interest. (Note that that 28.8 MHz is downsampled on chip resulting in the 3.2 MHz bandwidth)

Modified rtl_tcp for direct sampling

The standard Osmocom version of rtl_tcp only allows for direct sampling on the I-branch, which is useless as we need direct sampling on the Q-branch. Please see our RTL-SDR-Blog Drivers for a version that includes a -D direct sampling flag. The Releases page has a Windows release.

Forcing Direct Sampling To be Always ON

In some cases you may want to force direct sampling to be always on. For example, not all programs expose the direct sampling controls to the user, so in those programs it can be impossible to turn direct sampling mode on. To force it on, use our RTL-SDR-Blog driver branch, and use set the direct sampling always on flag in the EEPROM with the command "rtl_eeprom -q y". To disable forced direct sampling do the opposite command "rtl_eeprom -q n"

Feature 2: Software Selectable Bias Tee

V.1. and V.2. of our dongles included a bias tee which could manually be enabled by opening the case and soldering two pads on the PCB together. V.3. introduces a 4.5V bias tee that can be toggled entirely in software. The bias tee can continuously pull up to 180 mA of current.

WARNING: Before using the bias tee please ensure that you understand that you should not use this option when the dongle is connected directly to a DC short circuited antenna unless you are using an LNA. Although the bias tee circuit is dual protected against accidental shorts with a thermal self-resetting fuse and overcurrent protection on the LDO, short circuiting the bias tee for an extended period of time (days) could damage the LDO or fuse permanently. Only use it while connected to an actual powered device, like an LNA, active antenna or the SpyVerter.

To make things clearer: DC Short Antenna -> LNA -> Coax -> V3(bias tee on) is absolutely fine. What's not good and makes no sense anyway is DC Short Antenna -> Coax -> V3(bias tee on). DC Short Antenna -> Coax -> V3(bias tee off) is fine.

Note that the legacy DVB-T TV drivers will activate the bias tee by default. On Linux ensure that you have properly blacklisted the DVB-T drivers. More info on how to blacklist on the Linux section on the quickstart guide.

Optional Video: Bias tee tutorial by SignalsEverywhere available here.

To enable the bias tee in Windows:

  1. Download and extract all the files in this zip file to a folder on your PC. It contains two batch files that can be run.
  2. Make sure all SDR software like SDR#/HDSDR/SDR-Console etc is fully closed.
  3. Run the biastee_on.bat file to turn the bias tee on. It will run and open a CMD prompt that will briefly say "Found Rafael Micro R820T Tuner". The CMD prompt will close soon after upon success.
  4. The bias tee is now on. To turn it off repeat steps 2 & 3, but instead run the biastee_off.bat batch file. Alternatively, simply disconnect and then reconnect the SDR to turn the bias tee off.

If you have multiple dongles connected you'll need to edit the batch file to specify what dongle's bias tee you want to activate. Open the bat file with any text editor, like Notepad, and add the dongle selector "-d" flag. For example to activate the bias tee on the dongle that was plugged in second you'd need to change it to "rtl_biast -b 1 -d 1".

If you get a Smart Screen message, click on More Info, and then on Run Anyway. Also note that some versions of Windows may fail to run batch files due to misconfiguration or aggressive antivirus software. If you cannot fix these problems with Windows or your antivirus, run the command manually on the CMD line.

To run it manually on the CMD line first browse to the directory where the bias tee software is stored using "cd" (e.g. cd C:\SDR\bias_tee_folder), and then run:

  1. ON: rtl_biast -b 1
  2. OFF: rtl_biast -b 0
  3. If needed select a particular RTL-SDR device with the -d flag.

To enable the bias tee in Linux:

In Linux or MacOS download the source from git, compile it the same way you do the regular RTL-SDR drivers, and then run ./rtl_biast -b 1 to turn the bias tee on and ./rtl_biast -b 0 to turn the bias tee off. The procedure is:

git clone https://github.com/rtlsdrblog/rtl-sdr-blog
cd rtl-sdr-blog
mkdir build
cd build
cmake .. -DDETACH_KERNEL_DRIVER=ON
make
cd src
./rtl_biast -b 1

If you want to be able to run the bias tee program from anywhere on the command line you can also run "sudo make install".

If you have trouble running the bias tee check with a multimeter if there is 4.5V at the SMA port. Also check that your powered device is actually capable of receiving power. Remember that not all LNA's can accept bias tee power. We recommend Adam 9A4QV's LNA4ALL, as you can order this from his store with the bias tee power option enabled. If you need further help please contact us at [email protected]

Enabling the Bias Tee in PiAware

Please see this link for instructions, or see below to see how to force the bias tee to be always on.

Forcing the Bias Tee to be Always On

If you are using our RTL-SDR-Blog driver branch you can force the bias tee to be always on by setting a flag in the EEPROM. The rtl_eeprom command is "rtl_eeprom -b y". Run the opposite command "rtl_eeprom -b n" to disable the forced bias tee.

Feature 3: Selectable Clock & Expansion Headers

This is for advanced users who need to daisy chain clocks together for coherent experiments, or need to access other ports. You can either bridge the clock selector the directly with a solder bridge, or solder on a 1.27mm 2x2 header pin jumper.

To add a jumper to the CLK selector header.

  1. Carefully remove the 0 Ohm resistor.
  2. Very carefully solder a 1.27mm 2x2 header onto the clock selector pads.
  3. You can now select your clock input.

How to connect the CLK jumpers:

CLK_1

 The first position allows you to output the dongles clock to the CLK pads. The second position allows you to input an external clock.

CLK2

An example of CLK daisy chaining is shown below. One dongles TCXO is connected to two other dongles who have disconnected clocks.

CLK3

Feature 4: Additional GPIO Ports

Please see the guide written by Rodrigo Freire here.

LF/MF Improvement / Bias Tee Disable Mod:

If you want to improve the performance at LF/MF (below 500 kHz) and do not require the bias tee, then you can remove the bias tee inductor at L13. Of course remember that if you are interested in VLF/LF, it might be a better idea to use an upconverter like the SpyVerter, which can be powered by the bias tee on the dongle.

Notes to be aware of:

I opened my RTL-SDR V3 dongle and found that the thermal pad has a small air gap between it and the enclosure, is this normal?

This is normal. The purpose of the thermal pad is to fix L-band VCO lock problem that are related to PCB heat build up. The RTL-SDR V3 only requires very minor heat sinking to overcome this issue, and a small air gap does not reduce the thermal transfer enough to cause issues. In fact the V3 PCB has already been redesigned to dissipate heat better, so the thermal pad is not strictly required, except in very warm climates.

My RTL-SDR V3 is getting hot.

Please remember that these units do get hot to the touch especially when used in warm climates. This is not an issue and is normal. The temperature will normally be about 20 - 25C above ambient. We have improved the thermal bonding and heat transfer between the chips and the metal case. This results in making the metal case hotter, but it keeps the chips much cooler, resulting in better performance. To lengthen the life of the dongle we recommend keeping the unit away from direct hot sunlight.

Current Known Issues:

We're constantly trying to improve our units and we always make note of what issues exist and how to fix them.

2019 Onwards:

No known issues.

2019 and earlier units (no longer shipping):

Note that the following problem has been fixed in newer batches with a new design.

0.2 - 0.3% of units may have a faulty RTL2832U chip. This is characterized by higher than normal USB currents (normal is 0.28A - 0.3A), and often random disconnections from the USB as well as increased heat. The same problem affects all brands of RTL-SDR.

2018/8 Batch (no longer shipping):

A small number of these units (~approx 300 units) had faulty bias tee LDO chips which caused the bias tee to be permanently on. The cause was bad silicon in the LDO chip. These units run normally in all other ways, except that the bias tee cannot be turned off. They can continue to be used normally, without the bias tee. The thermal fuse will protect against short circuits.

If you have one of these, feel free to contact us at [email protected] for a replacement, or if the bias tee is not important to you and you can solder, removing the L13 inductor will fully disable the bias tee.  

Known V3 Batch 1 Issues (limited quantity batch, no longer shipping):

  1. Increased sideband noise on very strong narrowband signals. This should not be a significant problem as it only affects very strong signals. The hardware fix is to add about 100-220uF of capacitance on the 3.3V power line. Batch 2 will reduce this noise.
  2. The bias tee when turned on adds a large spur in direct sampling HF mode. This may be problematic only if you intend to use a bias tee powered HF LNA in direct sampling mode. This can be fixed by adding about 2.2uF of capacitance to the output of the LDO, before the inductor. Batch 2 will fix this.
  3. The bias tee can be damaged by accidentally short circuiting the output for a few seconds while it is on. This damage only occurs on USB3.0 and USB2.0 ports that can provide up to 1A or more or current. Batch 2 will add a resettable fuse to prevent damage.

 

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277 comments

  1. Jean-Philippe

    Hello,
    triyng to install on a raspberry under linux..

    “CMake Error at CMakeLists.txt:74 (message):
    LibUSB 1.0 required to compile rtl-sdr”
    I tried to install libusb1.0 or libusb1 or libusb ….

    no package ..

  2. Arib

    Hi I have the V3 version of rtl sdr and I want to power a LNA specifically a nooelec sawbird+ H1 Barebones on a raspberry pi using the onboard bias t of the rtl sdr. Using the git hub clone I can turn on the LNA and I can even access the eeprom and force the bias t to turn on. However when I want to use the LNA and rtlsdr in tandem with gnu radio, gnu radio somehow overrides my settings and forces the bias t off I think and shuts down the LNA. Can I get some help with thank you very much!

  3. John Ashley

    I have the V3 version of the dongle. I have belatedly started to try to understand what the new features do?. I have read this guide. I am curious about Feature 2 – Software Selectable Bias Tee. There is one part of the explanation that is missing – what is a Bias Tee and what is it used for?
    This must be an important feature because the explanation includes a WARNING. ( I think this was written by a lawyer or someone who should be one.) I have only three simple questions about the WARNING: 1. What is a DC short circuited antenna? 2. What is an LNA? 3. What is an LDO?

    • Bob

      Bias T puts a DC voltage on the signal line (coax) to power an LNA, Low noise amplifier, which is normally directly at the antenna to improve SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio).
      A loop antenna is a short circuit to DC. This would put a short circuit on the bias T power supply and damage it.
      A vertical 1/4 wave is not a short circuit to DC. Many 1/2 wave or ground independent antennas have a DC short because of the matching circuit in the base of the antenna, so measure first with a multimeter/Ohmmeter.
      It might pay you to do a little more study before jumping into the wonderful world of SDRs, Softeware Defined Receivers.
      I started playing with SDR some years ago to download weather maps from some of the NOAA weather satellites, now I have 2 SATNOGS (Satellite Network Of Ground Stations) satellite ground stations running 24/7 for anyone to schedule satellite observations from anywhere in the world. Google satnogs.org

      • John Ashley

        Thank you for your reply. In terms of study is there any book, article or website that you can suggest that might put me on the right road.
        thank again for responding.
        John

        • Bob

          These days John, you can get more information, quicker by doing a Google search once you discover what it is you want to do with your RTL-SDR. Then focus on searching. How To receive Aircraft transmissions etc and take it from there. My personal interest was LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites. Your interest is? Follow that search.
          This RTL-SDR can also be a wealth of information and ideas what to play with and how to do it. This is where i would start.

      • Victor

        Great comment Bob,
        Although, I didn’t recognize what all this was about, your explanation help me to find out that I knew about this since I used to install satellite TV systems from 1984 to 1999. The RT L-SDR lingo has changed but the principle sort of remain the same.
        Thank you very much.

  4. Daniel

    Hi, can anyone offer help with software bias-t please. While trying to run programme im told ‘ mscvr100.dll is missing’. ive tried installing multiple MS visual C++ packages etc.

  5. websdr

    I’m wondering if anybody made tests and figured it out where is lowest usable frequency using direct sampling. I’m thinking about adding to my websdr another bands – 630 m, 2200 m and even lower. Some sources say, that direct sampling works from 0 Hz (yeah, right), other – from ~500 kHz. Anybody here tested this?

  6. Gary Turnbull

    I just purchased a LNA and I need to get it powered from the RTL-SDR.com dongle. I downloaded the .zip file for the bias tee and extracted to a file folder .. Opened the folder and double clicked on bias_tee_on.bat. Got a warning that the file was not recognized but clicked on “More Info” and then on “Run Anyway”. Unfortunately the LNA does not work. With a meter I determined that the 5V output is not there. It measured 0VDC. Tried to run the .bat several times and even toggled off and then on. No luck. Tried to “run” manually. Do mean “start rtl_biast -b 1”. Anyway any help would be greatly aprechiated.

    • admin

      Make sure that you have other programs that may be accessing the dongle closed first. The bias tee program needs to access the dongle in order to turn it on, and other programs being open may block that.

      But the warning about not recognizing the bat file makes me think that something to do with system Environment values may be very messed up on your system. To run it manually without the help of the bat file, you can try opening the command prompt, using “cd” to go to the directory where you’ve unzipped the files, then running “rtl_biast -b 1”

  7. Oliveira

    Amigos esse sistema com dongs e o aplicativo para celular e ouvir e ver DRM ,precisa estar conectado com a Intenet ou nao desligado internet tambem funciona ?
    Obrigado
    Oliveira pu2olt
    SP/SP
    Br

    • Victor

      Solo necesitas internet para descargar el software, pero el radio funciona solo con la computadora, el dongle y una antenna de TV. No necesitas internet para que el radio trabaje.

  8. Oliveira

    Friends, this system with dongs and the mobile application and listen and watch DRM, need to be connected to the Internet or not turned off, internet also works?
    Thanks
    olive pu2olt
    SP/SP
    br

  9. KD9MAP

    Thanks to Bertie for the quick replies! I got it working on HF again, although the gqrx device select menu still switches me back to device “Other” when I change the device string to ‘rtl=0,direct_samp=3’. Here’s what gqrx says when I change the string:

    gr-osmosdr 0.2.0.0 (0.2.0) gnuradio 3.8.1.0
    built-in source types: file osmosdr fcd rtl rtl_tcp uhd miri hackrf bladerf rfspace airspy airspyhf soapy redpitaya freesrp
    Using device #0 Realtek RTL2838UHIDIR SN: 00000001
    Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner
    [R82XX] PLL not locked!
    Enabled direct sampling mode, input 3

    To get gqrx working on HF again I did two things: upgraded to gqrx-2.14.4, and upgraded to the latest osmocom rtl-sdr drivers and tools. I built both from the git source packages. Probably it was the driver upgrade that fixed it.

    Thanks Again Folks!
    KD9MAP

  10. KD9MAP

    Hi! I’ve been using RTL-SDR v3 for a long time, for HF and VHF, using both SDRSharp on Win and gqrx on Linux Mint. All of a sudden gqrx won’t let me set direct_samp=3 anymore. If I do, it changes the device type to Other. If I try changing the device type back to “Realtek RTL2838…” then it removes the direct_samp=3 from the device string. Sometimes while I’m trying to configure it, gqrx crashes. I didn’t change anything with gqrx that I am aware of. I’ve tried gqrx 2.12 and 2.11.5. My dongles still work fine on HF with SDRSharp on Win10. Something got misconfigured on gqrx or linux I guess 🙁 Does anybody have any suggestions? Thanks Very Much! KD9MAP

  11. Yves

    Hello
    I have an sdr blog V3 since 3 years, i went in a new home a few weeks ago with 10 Kw FM emitter at 300 meters of home and 3 V/m field. The sdr has burn out on IQ , i have only spurs now. It works on Q branch only for HF.
    I think the protection is not enough, may be 2 diodes like rtlsdr key is better protection.

  12. Nicholas

    > Forcing the Bias Tee to be Always On
    >
    > If you are using our RTL-SDR-Blog driver branch you can force the bias tee to be always
    > on by setting a flag in the EEPROM.
    > The rtl_eeprom command is “rtl_eeprom -b y”.
    > Run the opposite command “rtl_eeprom -b n” to disable the forced bias tee.

    This method is absolutely not working!!!

    Already there are two complaints about this trouble.
    https://github.com/rtlsdrblog/rtl-sdr-blog/issues/8 (Sep 24, 2020 )
    https://github.com/rtlsdrblog/rtl-sdr-blog/issues/9 (New)

    Why is it taking you so long to fix this annoying trouble??

    • admin

      The problem is just that you must ensure that the rtl-sdr-blog drivers are the currently active drivers on your system. If you didn’t remove the previous drivers properly, then the system may still be using the old drivers which don’t recognize the EEPROM flags. The instructions for fully removing the old drivers is on the Git readme.

      • Nicholas

        Thank you for your answer, admin.
        Well, I removed the existing drivers.
        Then I installed osmocom drivers:
        https://github.com/rtlsdrblog/rtl-sdr-blog

        Now I check the status of the dongle:

        ~$ rtl_eeprom
        Found 1 device(s):
        0: Generic RTL2832U OEM

        Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
        Found Rafael Micro R820T/2 tuner

        Current configuration:
        __________________________________________
        Vendor ID: 0x0bda
        Product ID: 0x2838
        Manufacturer: Realtek
        Product: RTL2838UHIDIR
        Serial number: 00001006
        Serial number enabled: yes
        Bias-T Always ON: no
        Direct Sampling Always ON: no
        __________________________________________

        Here Bias-T Always ON: no

        Well, now I’m making a write Bias-Tee Always ON = yes

        ~$ rtl_eeprom -b y
        Found 1 device(s):
        0: Generic RTL2832U OEM

        Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
        Found Rafael Micro R820T/2 tuner

        Current configuration:
        __________________________________________
        Vendor ID: 0x0bda
        Product ID: 0x2838
        Manufacturer: Realtek
        Product: RTL2838UHIDIR
        Serial number: 00001006
        Serial number enabled: yes
        Bias-T Always ON: no
        Direct Sampling Always ON: no
        __________________________________________

        New configuration:
        __________________________________________
        Vendor ID: 0x0bda
        Product ID: 0x2838
        Manufacturer: Realtek
        Product: RTL2838UHIDIR
        Serial number: 00001006
        Serial number enabled: yes
        Bias-T Always ON: yes
        Direct Sampling Always ON: no
        __________________________________________
        Write new configuration to device [y/n]? y

        Configuration successfully written.
        Please replug the device for changes to take effect.

        At this moment, a voltage of +4.5V appears on the SMA connector.
        So the dongle is serviceable.

        Next, I make a reconnection USB of the dongle.
        But after that, the voltage on the SMA turns to 0 !!!

        I check the status of the dongle again:

        ~$ rtl_eeprom
        Found 1 device(s):
        0: Generic RTL2832U OEM

        Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
        Found Rafael Micro R820T/2 tuner

        Current configuration:
        __________________________________________
        Vendor ID: 0x0bda
        Product ID: 0x2838
        Manufacturer: Realtek
        Product: RTL2838UHIDIR
        Serial number: 00001006
        Serial number enabled: yes
        Bias-T Always ON: yes
        Direct Sampling Always ON: no
        _______________________________________

        Here Bias-T Always ON = yes

        This means that the writing was completed successfully.

        But why is there no voltage on the SMA ???

          • chill pill

            You really expect the man to drop everything right away to deal with you above all else? I have no doubt your issue has been seen. Patience is a virtue.

          • admin

            Could I please have more information about your system setup? I’ve just retested the EEPROM driver hack on a few systems and it’s working as expected. Does the bias tee run if you activate it manually via rtl_biast?

            One thing to note is that with the EEPROM hack the bias tee won’t turn on until a program that accesses the rtl-sdr-blog drivers is loaded. So when you plug it in the bias tee won’t automatically activate until you run some software.

            • Nicholas

              Ok. So, I use Debian 10.7 / 64 bit.
              When I run the this command –

              ~$ rtl_biast -d 0 -b 1
              Found 1 device(s):
              0: Realtek, RTL2838UHIDIR, SN: 00001006

              Using device 0: Generic RTL2832U OEM
              Detached kernel driver
              Found Rafael Micro R820T/2 tuner
              Reattached kernel driver

              a voltage of +4.5 V appears on the SMA connector.

              But when after that I run Gqrx or OpenWebRX, this voltage turns to 0.

              A similar situation occurs when executing the command -

              ~$ rtl_eeprom -b y

              • device

                Add ,bias=1 to the device string in gqrx (which otherwise turns off the device bias-tee when it starts).
                The device string should then look a bit like
                rtl=0,bias=1

                • aikd

                  I am finding similar issue. After enabling bias-T with rtl_biast -d 0 -b 1, I can measure voltage on dongle’s SMA. However starting rtl_power (after enabling bias-T through rtl_biast command) the voltage disappears. Host is RPI4 and dongle is rtl-sdr-blog v3 bought recently.

  13. Confused user Confuser

    Is there a technical description of how direct sampling mode works? I don’t get why it should matter if you’re reading “I branch” or “Q branch”. Additionally in direct sampling mode can we sample more than 2.5 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth?

  14. Maurizio

    Hello.
    I have a problem with my V.3 with the latest software sdr # (17.38) after a few minutes it crashes. with an old version (13.10) it works perfectly. For what reason?
    Maurizio

  15. Timothy Martin

    I am using an RTL SDR V3 with a Ham it up plus upconverter. I found that the V3 received HF signals very well on its own using direct sampling Q branch. However now that I have added a Ham it up Upconverter that offsets by 125 mhz, it is receiving very poorly, and only receives the strongest of HF signals. I changed the SDR sharp settings to Quadrature for use with the upconverter. If I switch the ham it up to passthrough, and change back to Q sampling, it receives fine again. Is there some other setting that I need to change? RF gain is set to max.

    • admin

      Optimizing gain is the main one for an upconverter, no other settings need to be changed apart from the offset and making sure you’re in quadrature sampling mode. Could it be a faulty upconverter, or adapter? What antenna are you using with it? How are you powering the upconverter?

      • Timothy Martin

        I am powering the upconverter with a USB cable hooked up to my computer. The antenna is a 10 / 20 meter fan dipole that I use for ham radio communications and works fine. If I switch the upconverter to bypass mode, and set the SDR to direct sampling Q branch, it picks up 10 and 20 meter ham signals as well as my ham radio. But if I switch the upconverter on, set the software for the SDR v3 to quadrature mode, and offset to -125,000,000, I get nothing on 20 meters, and on 10 meters I can only faintly receive a very strong local 10 meter beacon.

        If I switch the RTL SDR to quadrature sampling, it tunes in FM radio stations on its own just fine. Also picks up weather radio no problem either and AM airport tower signals. But using it with the upconverter, its near deaf.

  16. Sudhir Phakatkar

    Hello,
    I am using 100 KHz-1.7GHz Full Band UV HF RTL-SDR USB Tuner Receiver R820T + 8232 Ham Radio with software SDRsharp on my windows 10 laptop. I have found this working only for funcube dongle pro and NOT for RTL-SDR (USB). I am interested to use this set up for Radio meteor recording.
    Please guide me regarding this.

    • G7SYT

      hope this helps I use srd# community package with plugins
      wide fm 120 khz bandwidth METHEOR DEMODULATOR
      qpsk
      7200
      output to a file this will get you a S file put this though the LRPT off lind decoder and then finerley SMOOTH meteor to get the rectfide jpg hope this helps you can email me

  17. Dave

    @Jam – “usb_open error -12”

    I had the same problem. Look at the .bat files. You’ll find they are trying to control device 0 (parameter -d 0). For whatever reason, my RTL-SDR installed as device 1, so try change -d 0 to -d 1 or higher. See if that works? It did for me. Nice strong signals now 🙂

  18. Dave

    I had the same problem. Look at the .bat files. You’ll find they are trying to control device 0 (parameter -d 0). For whatever reason, my RTL-SDR installed as device 1, so try change -d 0 to -d 1 or higher. See if that works? It did for me. Nice strong signals now 🙂

  19. John M. POLARD

    Hello, can you be more specific how to use rtl-sdr v3 with HDSDR ? I use the latest version of it, when clicking on sdr device, I see my v3 but the direct sampling is in grey and I cannot activate it. Thank you for your reply
    John

    • Dave F

      it may have been “gray’ because it was in use ….. if You have the radio on Your unable to change some settings like under the COG (the pirates wheel thingy) but if Your turned off the radio and went back in Yours would allow You to chang modes sorry it took 2yrs to reply ;p

    • Dave

      I had the same problem. Look at the .bat files. You’ll find they are trying to control device 0 (parameter -d 0). For whatever reason, my RTL-SDR installed as device 1, so try change -d 0 to -d 1 or higher. See if that works? It did for me. Nice strong signals now 🙂

    • Ripley

      “usb_open error -12”

      I ran into this when I attempted to enable the bias tee via epromm command. Thought it bricked my device. I had to reinstall the driver via ZADIG in order to use the V3 again.

  20. john

    Am a novice at this. Have read the user guide. Instructions are vague and misleading. Computer does not recognize my RTL-SDR dongle. Keep getting message “no device selected” when turning dongle on.

  21. Bob

    BiasT, Gqrx on Linux

    I can turn on bias_T with ./rtl_bias -b 1 and measure 5V at the antenna terminal.
    I start up Gqrx and it turns Bias T off, no 5V at the antenna terminal.
    I run ./rtl_bias -b 1 again but now the device has been claimed by Gqrx ( this is normal)
    I changed the Gqrx device string to rtl=0,biast=1 Gqrx runs but no 5V at the antenna terminal.
    Also I notice CubicSDR doesn’t see the rtl-sdr V3 at all.
    I’d rather have it working with Gqrx. Not too keen on CubicSDR although it works well with SDRPlay RSP2.

      • Bob

        Thanks yarda. I actually worked it out by myself by experimenting. The ,bias=1 has to be added to the existing device string created when Gqrx found the rtl-sdr and not created in OTHER device string, my mistake.

        It woks now. but CubicSDR doesn’t see the device at all, but that’s another story.

  22. Al

    Using RTL-SDR V3 with Nooelec Sawbird + Goes. Works fine with my Windows 10 PC. Biast turns on and off as it should. When trying to run on my Windows 10 laptop I can not run the biast program. I get the following error:
    rtl-biast.exe – System Error
    The code execution cannot proceed because MSVCR100.dll was not found.
    Reinstalling the program may fix this problem.
    Tried running manually from CMD line and got same error. The MSVCR dll files are in system32.
    Any ideas for a fix??

  23. Yves

    The FM filter used for Q branch should be usefull also for VHF / UHF reception, pherhaps could you connect it for all configurations in future version. There are 10 $ RTL-SDR if we want to hear FM radio.
    For 500 KHz / 30 Mhz reception i use this loop antenna with 100 Ohms potentiometer at the entry of the RTL Dongle. Works nearly as good as sophisticated receiver, but more noise on audio that you can reduce with IF filter of SDRSharp.
    http://www.techlib.com/electronics/antennas.html

  24. Murray Craig

    you have marked the device with fcc and ce can you provide the letter of conformity as I have been asked for it by customers and if not would you be willing to work with us to get it?

  25. Simon

    Is there a way to enable Bias Tee on the V3 with a hardware mod? I have some gear that runs 24/7 and if there is a power dip, the Bias Tee disables, and it is a hassle to enable again.

  26. Yarda

    It seems the bias tee is supported by the upstream librtlsdr and osmosdr, could you update the instructions to cover it? For librtlsdr there is usually the -T option, e.g.:
    # rtl_fm … -T
    to activate the bias tee

    For the osmosdr the option “bias” can be used in the device string, e.g.:
    rtl=0,bias=1

  27. Al McIntosh

    Question – current version (download 20190329) does not have the option to select hf mode. It is greyed out. Did setup the current install software that came in the download. What step did I miss?

  28. Dave Frandin

    Is there a way to tell if I have a “version 3” unit? I tried adding the “rtl=0,direct_samp=2” to gqrx and it crashes gqrx… Same with “rtl=0,direct_samp=3″…

  29. Robby

    I cant use bais tee on Mac with gqrx… I enable it via ./rtl_biast -b 1 and then when I start Ggrx it turn off bias tee… Anybody had any luck

    • Phil

      In the gqrx device string window, you need to specify something like bias=1,rtl=0 (may need to change around in some cases). Try that.

    • willie

      it ain’t gonna work – used to in earlier versions of Gqrx and then i made the mistake of upgrading OSX and the app – now it won’t work no matter what…

      • Joe User

        willie, do you mean the app fails completely or just HF isn’t working? I’m running Gqrx 2.11.5 right now with OSX 10.14.6, although using an old non-TCXO Nooelec R820T while I wait for a RTL-SDR v3 to arrive. That dongle also works using CocoaRTLServer and SdrDx. Hope its not a fluke and the new one does still, too.

        • willie

          tks for replying! i am using a V3 RTL-SDR (i have a couple), along with Gqrx 2.11.5 under OS X 10.14.6 … the ‘direct_samp=2’ option simply doesn’t work… crashes… Gqrx defaults to ‘other’ – no reception, etc…

          what is frustrating is that it *did* work under older OS X and a previous version of Gqrx)… i have bookmarks that previously worked well… my feeling is that something changed in the underlying drivers/USB code or app?

          i also tried using CocoaRTLServer Version 2.0 (2), but that doesn’t work for me (could be that i’m not configuring/setting up correctly?)

          i would really like to see a step-by-step on how to set up using the current Gqrx and CocoaRTLServer under OS X Mojave – that would make the RTL dongle a real winner!

          (it does work fine for broadcast FM, VHF marine, NOAA WX…)

          regards,

          bill, kg4zqz

  30. Rehn

    Hi
    I bought a SDR dongle V3 from Electrokit in Sweden
    I have a problem i direct sampling mode.
    If I connect the dongle direct to my USB port I get nothing but the noise from the unit itself.
    With or without antenna connected.
    If I connect the dongle using extension cord I get some signal, but almost only very strong noise.
    It seems like its only the USB cord that function as antenna in direct sampling mode and the
    normal antenna connector is not used.

    Am I missing something, or is my unit broken ?

    regards
    John rehn

        • Robert Young

          You had this ” I have a problem i direct sampling mode. ” so if your using Q sampling then it is broken Quadrature is for 30MHz and up Direct Sampling (Q Branch) is for 30MHZ down to 500Hz.

    • Tom

      Sounds like you have noise pickup from the computer. And putting on the extension cable, it lowers the noise coming from it because of its distance. This might be an issue with antenna placement as HF is very susceptible to noise pickup. I would suggest trying coax running outside to the antenna sma connector. And note that an outdoor antenna could be picking up a lot of noise from all kinds of sources like power grid, motors, welders, tv’s and any other electrical noise source. Computers are very noisy as they generate square waves in 5 volt peak to peak signals that they operate on. But the vhf and higher frequencies tend not to pick this up very well as the harmonics are much lower in frequency.

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