Getting started with software defined radio

In the last few months, software defined radio has seen an explosion in popularity thanks to a small USB TV tuner dongle able to receive anything broadcast between 64 and 1700 MHz. It’s a very neat project that opens the door to a whole bunch of radio experimentations, but getting started in the SDR world can be a bit daunting. To help everyone out, [MS3FGX] is writing a getting started guide so everyone can get into the world of software defined radio.

After getting one of the TV tuners supported by the RTL-SDR project (by far the most commonly used is this one from Dealextreme), the next thing you’ll need is a decent antenna. [MS3FGX] has had some success with this Radio Shack antenna, but it’s very easy to make your own.

The most popular software package to use with the RTL TV dongle is GNU Radio, and [MS3FGX] goes over the ins and outs of setting this up along with a brief aside for the Gqrx receiver.

After your hardware and software is set up, the only thing left to do is tuning into a few of your favorite stations. The range of frequencies the RTL covers includes AM and FM radio, along with GSM and GPS signals. Of course there’s a whole lot more you can do with this project like listening in on your car’s keyless entry fob, pagers, and wireless weather stations.

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Via Hack a Day, Published: 2012.06.27

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