Tagged: rtl2832u

RTL-SDR Blog Black Friday Sale Discounts On: RTL-SDR V3, YouLoop, QO-100 Bullseye, FlightAware, ADS-B LNA, RSP Enclosure

We're holding our first black friday week sale with 6% to 30% off selected products!

Only until Sunday, and orders are subject to stock levels and possible back ordering if stocks sell out. Sale is only valid on our web store, Amazon and Aliexpress (the eBay platform will not be discounted due to high fees). Discounts are summarized below, with everything still including free worldwide shipping to most countries:

  • RTL-SDR Blog V3 Dongle with Dipole Antenna Set: $34.95 $32.95
  • RTL-SDR Blog V3 Dongle Only: $24.95 $22.95
  • QO-100 Bullseye TCXO LNB: $29.95 $24.95
  • Airspy YouLoop Passive Magnetic Loop Antenna: $34.95 $24.47 
  • FlightAware Prostick Plus: $29.95 $27.95
  • RTL-SDR Blog ADS-B Triple Filtered LNA: $39.95 $34.95
  • Metal Case Upgrade for SDRplay RSP1A: $24.95 $22.95

Please see our store at www.rtl-sdr.com/store for ordering.

Remember to follow us on Twitter, Facebook and via our email list to keep up to date on new posts, product releases and sales. We're also planning a giveaway or two in the coming months which will be done via those platforms.

FengYun-2H/G Geostationary Weather Satellite Now Decodable with 120cm Dish (Europe to Australia Coverage)

Hot on the heels of the GOES-13 weather satellite decoder that we posted about a few days ago, @aang254 has just released a new RTL-SDR compatible decoder for the FengYun-2H, 2G and possibly 2E geostationary weather satellites.

The FengYun-2 line of weather satellites are the Chinese equivalents to GOES, and they are positioned to cover parts of Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Russia, and Australia. So this is another geostationary weather satellite now available to Europeans which broadcasts in the L-Band at 1687.5 MHz. And unlike the weaker GOES-13 L-Band downlink, the FengYun-2 downlink is much stronger which means that reception with a 120cm satellite dish should be possible. We note that it has not yet been confirmed if the typical 90-100 cm WiFi dishes used with GOES-16 and 17 will be big enough to work. @aang254 writes:

Yesterday I successfully decoded the S-VISSR downlink from FengYun-2H thanks to a recording by @MartanBlaho. It is stronger than PDR on EWS-G1 (see Zbychu's signal twitter.com/ZSztanga/statu) meaning it should (untested) be doable with a 120cm (or smaller but no confirmation again) dish instead of 180cm.

It covers parts of Europe, Russia and down to Australia. FY-2G and FY-2E (no confirmation for this one yet) are also decodable in the same way. I released an early decoder, that currently is not suitable for automated setups but allows getting images already. A later version (that should come soon-ish) will allow live decoding / autonomous setups in a similar fashion to other satellites.

Also, the res is 2km/px on VIS and 8km/px on IR, so half that of GOES-13 with similar-ish coverage (Europe is less visible though).

(also forgot to say but the bandwidth is under 2Mhz, allowing a rtlsdr to be used)


FengYun 2H (Left) / 2G (Right) Coverage
FengYun-2H Image Courtesy of @ZSztanga and inverted by @petermeteor

Video Tutorial on Debugging RF Emissions on a Circuit Board with an RTL-SDR

Over on the Hackaday YouTube channel a video by Alex Whittemore has been uploaded showing how to do some basic RF emissions debugging. When creating electronic products it's important to ensure that there is no unintentional RF leakage in excess of emissions standards, and there is often a need to debug a circuit board to determine exactly what part or areas are generating excessive RF noise. To do this expensive EMC analyzers and near field probes are typically used.

Alex's tutorial video shows us how we can create a low cost home made EMC probe using an RTL-SDR, LNA and home made near field probe made out of magnet wire. The video starts by explaining RF compliance, demonstrating some higher end equipment, then moves on to showing how to build a probe yourself, before finally demonstrating it being used on some circuit boards. For software, he uses SDRAngel and QSPectrumAnalzyer which are preinstalled on a DragonOS image. 

The Hacakday.io project page has the tutorial in text and the video slides can be found here.

In the past we've also seen another post about home made EMC probes, and how to combine this idea with OpenCV to create noise heatmaps of circuit boards.

Basics of RF Emissions Debugging: Alex Whittemore

DF Aggregator: New Software for Networked Radio Direction Finding with KerberosSDR

Over on GitHub Corey (ckoval7) has released a new open source radio direction program called "DF Aggregator". This software is able to receive bearings and locations from multiple remotely networked KerberosSDRs, and display them on a map.

If you weren't already aware KerberosSDR is our 4-channel phase coherent capable RTL-SDR unit that we previously crowdfunded back in 2018. With a 4-channel phase coherent RTL-SDR interesting applications like radio direction finding (RDF), passive radar and beam forming become possible. It can also be used as four separate RTL-SDRs for multichannel monitoring.

A single KerberosSDR combined with an antenna array is able to determine a bearing towards a signal source. By using multiple KerberosSDR units spread over a large area it is possible to triangulate the location of a transmitter and display it on a map. Corey's software uses a modified branch of our open source KerberosSDR code in order to generate a modified XML page that the mapping software polls for updated data. Some instructions on it's use are available on our forums and on the GitHub.

The image below shows three KerberosSDR stations on the map, and two transmitter locations that have been triangulated using the bearings from the three distributed KerberosSDR units. 

Alternative direction finding mapping software includes our Android App (mostly for mobile vehicular use), and RDF Mapper with our adapter code.

DF Aggregator: KerberosSDR Direction Finding Mapping Software

Frugal Radio: Sharing One Antenna with Fifteen Receivers

In his latest video Frugal Radio shows how he shares one antenna with fifteen SDR and scanner receivers using two splitters/multicouplers. He explains that he uses a low cost $35 second hand 1->8 Electroline TV Drop Amp in combination with a more expensive Commercial 1->8 Strisdberg multicoupler. The splitters both have built in amplifiers which help to avoid splitting losses.

Over on his website there is also a companion blog post which shows all the antennas he uses, as well as the multicouplers and adapters.

Share 1 antenna with 15 receivers - signal splitting in the shack with TV amp & multicoupler

A 3D Printed Automatically Adjusting Linear Antenna Array for KerberosSDR Radio Direction Finding

Over on GitLab Josh Conway has released a design for an automatically adjusting antenna array which can be used with radio direction finding capable SDRs like our KerberosSDR. KerberosSDR is a SDR consisting of four RTL-SDRs connected to the same oscillator, a USB hub, a built in noise source and calibration hardware which allows software to use the four RTL-SDRs coherently. Coherent operation of SDRs enables interesting applications such as radio direction finding, passive radar and beam forming.  

With coherent antenna array based direction finding, the optimal spacing between the antenna elements is proportional to the wavelength of the frequency being received. If you want to do RF direction finding on different frequencies, either multiple antenna arrays with different element spacings, or manually adjusting the antenna array with each frequency change is required.

Josh's design automates this problem with an antenna array that can adjust the spacing automatically. The design puts the antennas on an extending pantograph arm whose length is controlled via a threaded rod connected to a stepper motor. An Arduino microcontroller controls the stepper, thus allowing the spacing to be adjusted automatically. 

A Pantograph Antenna Array for Direction Finding

A full description of the build is provided in the document on GitLab titled "provisional_patent_application.pdf". From Twitter it appears that Josh (@CrankyLinuxUser) was unable to secure a patent for this design, so he has released the design for free under AGLP3. Most of the parts are 3D printed, and the CAD stl files all appear to be available on the GitLab. The Arduino microcontroller firmware is also available.

Thank you to Josh for releasing this design!

Pantograph Antenna Array for Direction Finding

Radio Spectrum Analysis in Virtual Reality with an RTL-SDR and Google Cardboard

Thank you to José Carlos Rueda for submitting his project called "a-radio: a web virtual reality radio power spectrum analyzer". The idea behind the project is to first use an RTL-SDR together with rtl_power and heatmap.py to generate a heatmap image of the RF spectrum. This image is then projected into a 3D 360 degree view and hosted on a web server via José's script for the a-frame VR web framework, allowing the heatmap to be viewed with a virtual reality (VR) smartphone headset. José' recommends using a cheap VR headset like Google Cardboard which can be used with your Android smartphone. 

José notes that the project is just a proof of concept, but he hopes to inspire future work around the combination of RF and VR.

Virtual Reality Visualization of an RF Spectrum Heatmap.

Andreas Spiess Tracks Weather Balloons with a TTGO LoRa Board and RTL-SDR

Earlier in August we posted about radiosondy.info and the MySondy radiosonde receiver. Radiosondy.info is an internet service that aggregates radiosonde weather balloon data received and decoded by RTL-SDR users all over the world. MySondy is a cheap TTGO LoRa receiver that is modified with custom firmware and combined with a companion Android app in order to create a portable radiosonde receiver. A radiosonde is a small sensor and radio package normally attached to a weather balloon. Meteorological agencies around the world typically launch two balloons a day from several locations to gather data for weather prediction. With cheap hardware like an RTL-SDR and the right decoding software it is possible to receive weather and GPS data from the weather balloons launched in your area. 

Over on his popular YouTube channel, Andreas Spiess "the guy with the Swiss accent" has uploaded a video featuring the RadioSondy and the MySondy receiver projects. In the video Andreas first explains what a radiosonde is, and who launches them. He goes on to show the RadioSondy website and how to track balloons on it. He then shows the portable MySondy receiver for tracking radiosondes, before finally showing how to set up a permanent fixed ground station with RTL-SDR and Raspberry Pi for contributing to the RadioSondy aggregation website.

In amongst the demonstrations he also goes on several hunts for weather balloons that have landed near him, ultimately recovering two radiosondes and one intact balloon. The radiosondes were initially tracked with the RadioSondy fixed RTL-SDR ground stations, then when in the vicinity of the landed balloon pinpointed and found with the MySondy hardware.

Tracking and Chasing Weather Balloons with TTGO LoRa board and Raspberry Pi. Fun and adventure