RTLSDR4Everyone: Avoiding RTL-SDR Rip Off’s Part 2

Over on his blog Akos has uploaded a new post that discusses the topic of avoiding RTL-SDR rip off’s on sites like eBay. On auction sites there are many dishonest sellers who sell or resell items at overly high prices, hoping that someone will make a mistake and purchase from them.

Akos also points out how most of the “full band” direct sampling based RTL-SDR’s are incredibly overpriced. We note that for the same or an even cheaper price you could pick up a regular RTL-SDR dongle plus an upconverter, and enjoy much better performance, or as Akos notes purchase a Soft66RTL3 or RSP. He also points out overpriced dedicated ADS-B sticks, which are now outperformed by even the cheapest of RTL-SDR dongles. Finally he mentions to avoid some sellers who are simply combining RTL-SDR dongles into strange contraptions mounted on a small camera tripod and selling them at high prices.

Strange RTL-SDR ripoff contraption at a much higher price.
Strange RTL-SDR ripoff contraption at a much higher price.
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A Regular Reader

First time this site made me laugh (the contraption at the end).


The pricing of commodity goods also applies to RTL-SDRs. One shouldn’t pay more to get the same thing – especially that all the hard work is done in the software, and it is the same.

Akos Czermann

Exactly. Radio equipment is a commodity good, just like an icecream, a car or panties.
Unfortunately, not at the moment, as cobwebs still fudge perception when it comes to “radio”.
Back in the 20’s, radio was an everyday part of life – just like now, when an RTL-SDR dongle should be part of anyone’s life. Whether on a daily basis, or hidden in a drawer, every household should have a commodity good, called RTL-SDR dongle.
Opposing forces are selling these misleading product at exorbitant prices, and I truly abhorr these sellers, feeding on lack of knowledge, hope and expectations.


Good article. The same advice applies to a wide array of “cheap” gizmos (Baofeng radios, Raspberry Pi stuff, etc.) I’ve noticed that eBay tends to have a mix of both real values and real ripoffs; for example with regard to radio stuff it is typical to see things be cheaper on Amazon.com than on eBay.

With regard to small parts and individual modules… eBay can be cheaper but usually only with e-Packet shipment from China. YMMV.


Thank you for a great caveat emptor post. Another scheme to be aware of is exorbitant shipping fees – at one time a seller was offering dongles for $0.01 (yes, one red cent) but with an $87.00 shipping fee. Why, you could ship a boat anchor from Antarctica for less money!

Even saw dongles for $310 apiece at one time! I asked the seller why the high price through the auction’s “Ask Seller a Question” but I got no response. I think his price’s decimal point was off by two places.

One other thing for those new to the RTL-dongle hobby – you don’t need the remote (useless) so the dongle alone is good enough. If it comes with an antenna, fine, but you’ll get improved results with an external antenna. Don’t feel compelled to spend more money on unnecessary extras such as those packages that come with a software DVD with TV/Radio drivers. Unless you plan to watch TV outside this country, it can be used as a coaster. Maybe a Frisbee for a small dog.

Hilarious previous comments!


The $310 one must be very high performance circuit. That’s the one to buy for any serious hobbyist!


– Tutorial: How to make a fancy looking dress for your little RTL-SDR!

– Fashion: What colors for plastic and metal cases can we expect this autumn?


Great ideas! “Dress to impress: how to pimp a dongle to pull more ladies” will be definitely done! Just for the craic!


How about a camo-style dongle, for Tropical band DX’ing? Accompanied with accessories such as designer pith helmet and mosquito net.


Stay tuned for more exciting articles from rtlsdr4everyone!

Next time, we will have information for you that will change your life forever:

– The new RTL-SDR diet. Loosing weight, with just a sweep over the spectrum!

– Marriage with a RTL-SDR. Comparing the love life of a black and a blue stick!

– Is my upconverter pregnant, or is it just Sporadic-E?

– Aliens stole my RTL-SDR while I was sleeping! Revealing the shocking truth!