RTL-SDR Blog V3 Dongle Back in Stock at Amazon + Upcoming Cosmetic Changes in 2023

This is just a quick note to say that the RTL-SDR Blog V3 silver dongles are back in stock at Amazon USA after having taken a bit longer to arrive than usual. Currently only the individual dongle and separate multipurpose dipole antenna sets are in stock, and we expect the dongle+antenna bundled sets to be back in stock in January 2023. 

International customers can continue to order from our webstore and associated marketplaces via our store page at www.rtl-sdr.com/store.

RTL-SDR Blog V3 (Silver)

Upcoming 2023 Black RTL-SDR Blog V3 Dongles (Cosmetic Redesign)

We also want to give a heads up and note that in the next few months you might start seeing black RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongles in our stores, marketplaces and resellers. Going into 2023 we will be making a cosmetic change to our dongles (note that there is no changes to the highly tuned circuitry). There are two reasons for this cosmetic change.

The first is to try and better differentiate our original product from all the clones that have been popping up recently. Manufacturers of fake RTL-SDR Blog V3 clones have been getting closer and closer to copying our external design exactly. The internal circuitry of the clones however have often been poorly implemented, with broken features and poor performance. This results in a higher support burden, and damage to our brand when the clones inevitably perform poorly.

The second reason is for regulatory compliance with the FCC. Devices like this must have a FCC regulatory statement printed on the body, we have to add the UKCA logo for Brexit UK, and increase the size of the compliance logos as well. Moving forward this will eliminate any possible regulatory problems with Amazon or bulk imports, which are becoming stricter every year.

The new enclosure design uses a special black plating that like our silver models retains full electrical conductivity (normally electrical conductivity is not possible with most black plating's, but we investigated many solutions and finally found an appropriate one). Maintaining electrical conductivity ensures that shielding of the circuitry from interfering signals works properly. The text is also laser etched on, ensuring that it cannot be erased.

New black redesign of the RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongle. Coming in 2023. (Front)
New black redesign of the RTL-SDR Blog V3 dongle. Coming in 2023. (Rear)

16 comments

  1. Mike Kaylor

    I’d love to find a SMA antenna switcher. Small and compact unlike the PL-259 versions. That would be a great new product.

    • admin

      Good idea. In the past we sold additional silver enclosures as people liked to use them as enclosures for other projects. Will look at adding the black enclosures as a product next year too.

      • iTrooper

        What I would love to see is a Pro (more beefy) version of an RTL-SDR with larger MHz bandwidth\spectrum, maybe even a better ADC.

        Just a idea to keep people using the RTL-SDR brand a bit longer and to better compete with other SDR brands once the individual feels they’ve outgrown their first RTL-SDR stick (or bundle kit).

        • admin

          RTL-SDRs are based on the cheap RTL2832U chipset, which ultimately limits things to 3.2 MHz (2.56 MHz stable). If it didn’t use that chipset it would end up being a different more costly SDR and compatibility with many RTL-SDR programs would be lost.

          But we are definitely considering alternatives. Things like our sister project the KrakenSDR push the RTL8232U right up to its limits, so we’re getting close to the end of finding new amazing things that these cheap chips can do.

          That said, for most applications the receiver is the usually the least important part of the chain. The antenna and antenna side LNA + prefiltering are much more important.

          • dereksgc

            Have you considered designing your own HackRF board specifically for general purpose receiving? Chinese clones of the HackRF achieve a reasonable price, and I imagine if you stripped out all unneeded components like the entire TX chain (would also mitigate licensing issues), the associated RF switches, the various expansion connectors and pin headers (that are unused in the vast majority of RX use cases) you could not only build them at a lower price, but the PCB could be made significantly smaller too, probably not much bigger than an RTL-SDR V3 already is.

            • Bertie

              What use would a board be with ~2.4MHz bandwidth that could tune up to 6GHz. You would probably have to program an MCU to pretend that it was a RTL2832U to try and still be compatible with most of the preexisting RTL-SDR software.

              • dereksgc

                The HackRF can sample up to 20 Msps. A lot of its complexity is there just to support the transmit capability and other things like mixer bypass and the on-board amplifiers, that generally aren’t needed when used for receive only applications.

              • Erlend / LB6MI

                No clue what you expect to gain by emulating the stick in full.

                The tuning is mostly done in the host software (calculate & set register settings), even without hardware constraints you can’t set R820T2 to beyond 5 MHz – 3.85 GHz based in 28.8 MHz referance.
                You can actually program those frequencies into your rtl-sdr, but the local oscillator simply can’t deliver. (no PLL lock and actual frequency will be at the actual limit of your spesific rtl-sdr)

                Also bandwidth would be limited to 3.2 MHz since software expect that limit. Not explored the rtl2832 settings enough to tell if you could teoretically push it.

                Airspy r2/mini is quite close to rtl-sdr without the rtl2832 and something a bit more powerful in it’s place. But then you can as well explore other options for more frequency coverage or more input filters e.t.c.

                • Bertie

                  > No clue what you expect to gain by emulating the stick in full.
                  The software support that exists today for the rtl-sdr today would costs millions to develop and maintain. You could make all additional software costs totally vanish and either sell at a lower price or gain extra profit. Either way it is a good solution, all existing software just works on day one and and future software can use additional registers to access more advanced features.

      • OK

        My aging rtl-sdr blog antenna set is still the best versatile, no hassle solution I have. I tried myself at building antennas without much success. Any additional antennas you would offer would be very welcome on my side. Options like weather proof versions or beefier more sturdy permanent designs could be useful for people like me.

  2. Rado

    Nice work with new redesign. Not that need another dongle 🙂 but looking forward when they’ll be available in stores.

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