Tagged: GNSS

GPS Tracking with a modified TCXO RTL-SDR

Michele from Michele’s GNSS blog has posted his results with using a modified R820T RTL-SDR with Temperature Controlled Oscillator (TCXO) for GPS reception and decoding. The RTL-SDR is capable of tracking GPS even without TCXO but improved performance can be expected with a more stable oscillator. He notes that the R820T with it’s 3.57 MHz IF is ideally suited for GPS reception when combined with an active GPS antenna. Using this setup he was able to track GPS satellites and the Galileo E1B/C GNSS satellites as well.

Michele modified his R820T RTL-SDR with a 28.8 MHz TCXO he obtained from a friend. It is however possible to purchase modified TCXO R820T dongles directly from the 1090mhz webstore.

Modified TCXO R820T RTL-SDR used for GPS reception.
Modified TCXO R820T RTL-SDR used for GPS reception.

Real Time GPS Positioning with the BladeRF

Over on YouTube user taroz1461 shows real time GPS positioning done in software using a BladeRF. The BladeRF is a ~$400 software defined radio which similar specs to the HackRF and compared to the RTL-SDR is capable of receiving much larger bandwidths and transmitting.

To do this decoding he used RTKLIB and his own GNSS-SDRLIB software which is a Windows GUI program. We aren’t sure if this software will work with the RTL-SDR, but we note that other people have had success with GPS positioning and the RTL-SDR.

Real-time GPS positioning with bladeRF

Using the RTL-SDR as a Software GPS Receiver

Dr. Carles Fernandez-Prades, Dr. Javier Arribas and Dr. Pau Closas have published an academic paper showing how they were able to implement an RTL-SDR based GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) receiver in software.

What they have done is use their open source GNSS software receiver program with a RTL-SDR connected to an active GPS antenna. An active GPS antenna requires DC power to be passed to the LNA in the GPS antenna through the antenna connection, so a Bias-T network is required to ensure DC power does not enter the RTL-SDR dongle.

More information can be found on their webpage here.