Apologies for the long out of stock period, we sold out of our remaining Amazon US stock almost immediately a few weeks ago due to a large Reddit thread which popularized the Reddit /r/rtlsdr forums (a big welcome to any new RTL-SDR users!). Amazon is currently processing the new stock and it should be ready to ship out in a few days.
We also have a new antenna set in the works which should be ready for purchase in a few weeks. This antenna set is essentially a custom modified TV dipole with mounting kit. The kit will contain:
- 1x Telescopic Dipole Antenna base with 20cm RG174 cable
- 2x removable 22cm to 1M telescopic antennas
- 2x removable 5cm to 13cm telescopic antennas
- 1x 3M SMA RG174 extension cable
- 1x suction cup window mount
- 1x bendy tripod mount
The telescopic antennas mount onto the antenna base via a screw, so they can easily be removed and interchanged between the large and small ones, or packed away for storage.
The dipole antenna base attaches to the suction cup or bendy tripod mounts using a 1/4″ camera screw. So any cheap camera mounting accessories like clamps, tripods etc can be used to mount the dipole as well.
The coax cable on the base also has a ferrite core choke on it to help decouple the feedline from the antenna, and there is a 100kOhm bleed resistor added to reduce static discharge.
The included suction cup mount allows you to mount the dipole on a window (ideally outside) and orient it into a vertical, horizontal or V-Dipole position. The bendy tripod allows you to use the antenna on your desk, folded over a door, on a tree branch, pole, or anywhere that the tripod legs can be wrapped around.
The biggest problem that new RTL-SDR users face is the antenna. Most are starting off with a mag mount whip, and have no way to mount them outside where they should be for better reception. Keeping them inside can cause poor reception and increased pickup of local interference from electronics. Our dipole with the mounts aims to solve this problem.
Using a dipole generally results in better reception than with a mag mount whip, and also allows for easier outdoor mounting. The 3M coax extension cable allows you to get the antenna at least to a window in your room.
Note that although we recommend using the antenna outside, please remember to take the antenna back inside when not in use to avoid lightning/ESD/weathering problems. It is not designed for permanent outdoor mounting and please remember that any permanently mounted outdoor antenna should have good grounding to protect your radio against ESD and lightning.
For general use we recommend using the dipole in the vertical orientation as most signals are vertically polarized. The dipole can also be used in a V-Dipole configuration for excellent VHF satellite reception, such as for NOAA/Meteor weather satellites. Just extend the telescopic dipoles to be as close as possible to resonant at the frequency of interest using this calculator. Getting the length perfect is not critical, and actually using any length will still receive something.
Apart from NOAA we’ve also tested the dipole with L-band satellites. Together with an LNA and the smaller telescopic antennas it’s possible to receive Iridium and Inmarsat signals. Reception is not as good as a patch antenna, but you can still get the stronger AERO and Iridium signals quite easily. If you add a reflector made out of a small cookie tin the signals can be boosted further, and this is enough to receive the weaker STD-C and Outernet signals.
Eventually this dipole set will replace the mag mount antenna bundled with the dongles currently. Target price is between $9.95 – $14.95 for the antenna set by itself, and $25.95 for the dongle + antenna set. We expect the antenna set to be ready for shipping in 2-3 weeks, and about 3-4 weeks for the dongle + antenna set. More details and usage examples will be shown nearer to the release.