RTL-SDR Panadapter Using Hardware Radio Receiver IF Stages

Over on YouTube user Jay Moore has uploaded a video explaining how to connect an RTL-SDR dongle to the IF stage of a hardware radio in order to create a panadapter. In the video Jay briefly explains how a radio with an IF stage works and then shows how he tapped into his Sansui 2000 hardware radio’s IF stage directly from the circuit board. The IF stage then connects to a ham-it-up upconverter which connects to the RTL-SDR.

By connecting the IF stage of a hardware radio to the RTL-SDR it is possible to use the hardware radio as the receiver while using the RTL-SDR to still maintain the benefits of a spectrum display. Most purpose built hardware radios will have better reception than the RTL-SDR.

RTL-SDR on receiver IF stages

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I have not been able to get my RTL-SDR R820T2 RTL2832U Version 3 dongle to work as a panadapter with either my Kenwood TS-570DG or my Yaesu FT-920..

The dongle I bought from Amazon is https://smile.amazon.com/RTL-SDR-Blog-RTL2832U-Software-Defined/dp/B0129EBDS2/ref=sr_1_4?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1513624240&sr=1-4&keywords=sdr

The dongle works fine otherwise as a ham/shortwave/police monitor. I have tapped the proper location for the 1st IF in both radios and inputted the proper 1st IF frequencies in HDSDR. I can control radios with OmniRig , but my panadapter display shows nothing but a few random lines. Just does not work! Maybe it is the particular dongle I am using. Also, my computer is plenty fast …I7 32gb ram, etc…..

Any ideas?

Don T

Wonder, with the number of Yaesu FT-990 and FT-1000’s still in use, has anyone adapted the RTL-SDR to them for use as a panadapter? If so, would they share the information.