Monthly Archives: August 2012

The MK802 Android Mini PC and Ham Radio

Since the introduction of the $25 to $35 Raspberry Pi mini pc was introduced earlier this year, there has a flurry of small inexpensive pcs that have followed. One of the most popular mini pcs has been the Mk802 pc on a stick. While the Raspberry Pi can still be hard to get ahold off, the MK802s are readily available from US vendors. The MK802 ships with Android 4.0 installed. The prices for the MK802 pc runs around $60 – $70 dollars shipped. Even though the MK802 seems to cost about twice as much as the Pi, you are getting a little more for your money. The MK802 comes with a case, built in wifi, power supply, HDMI adapter cable, usb adapter, and a mini usb cable. So in the end they are pretty equally priced considering shipping for Pi and adding the cost of the power supply and other cables. Plus running Android, the MK802 is pretty much ready to go out of the box. The MK802 also has more built in memory and a slightly more powerful processor. Like the Pi the MK802. the MK802 can run several Linux distributions using that can be installed on a micro …

The RTL-2832U SDR and ADS-B

What is ADS-B

Looking for something else neat to try with your new RTL-2832U SDR dongle? How about using it to set up an ADS-B capable aircraft monitoring system.  In a nutshell, ADS-B stands for Automatic Dependent Surveillance Broadcast used by aircraft to broadcast such information as registration number, flight number, altitude, speed, and position in realtime. This data is used as a radar type system that allows ground stations and other aircraft to view the data about each aircraft. The ADS-B system is pretty widely used in some areas such as the UK and is gradually making it’s way into the US. Using an ADS-B receiver and some decoding software, you can view this data and plot the aircraft on a map if it is transmitting its location. The system generally transmits data on 1090MHz. How well this project works for you will depend on your location and how much air traffic passes near you location. Another factor will also be the antenna, its location, and your view of the sky. If you are in the US,  only a small percentage of the aircraft transmit their location along with the other data. However, you may be surprised at how …

A word about SDR Sharp

SDR Sharp has been a nice little SDR program for use with the RTL-2832U Dongles. However due to some concerns about licensing and “unofficial” modified versions of the software floating around it is now a bit more difficult to get going with your RTL-2832U dongle. The RTL drivers are no longer in place by default, you have to install them manually. So, basically if you download the SDR# Dev versions, it will not work out of the box. You will need to go to the SDR Sharp webpage and install according to the directions provided there or just go here.…

Trunk Tracking with RTL-2832U Dongle and UniTrunker

The lowly $20 – $35 RTL-2832U dongle is being used for several interesting projects these days. That is to be expected for a VHF/UHF SDR radio that is available at this price range. Considering that the RTL2832U / E4000 DVB-T sticks didn’t start life as a SDR radio, they have done a pretty good job of impersonating one. I am still pretty impressed just how well they work. Remember it is important that it to get a good RTL2832U DVB-T stick to make these projects work well. I have had very good luck with the Ezcap 668 DVB-T stick. I would say that it performs easily as well as the 4 times more expensive Funcube Dongle if not better. When buying any RTL-2832 DVB-T stick make sure it also contains the Elonics 4000 chip. Some DVB-T sticks may not include the E4000 chip (even some of the Ezcap sticks marked 668 may not contain the E4000), buy from a vendor that knows what they are selling and with a good return policy. Maybe eventually a cheap certified for SDR use RTL2832U stick will come out, until then your mileage may vary on the quality of these sticks. With that …