Tag Archives: DVB-T SDR

The RTL2832U / Elonics E4000 SDR Radio – AKA “The $20 SDR”

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There has been a pretty good buzz about the “$20 SDR Radio” since the good folks over at Osmocom figured out how to convert a $20 DVB-T  usb dongle into an SDR radio using software only. I decided it would be worth spending the $20 bucks to see how well the DVB-T dongle worked as a Software Defined Radio. Did it work? Yes, but your mileage will definitely vary on this project. Using a RTL2832U DVB-T stick is still in a very highly experimental state. Here is what I found out about the “$20 SDR Radio”

The DVB-T Stick

First of all, not just any ole digital TV tuner stick will work. Supposedly the best ones are based on the RTL2832U / Elonics E4000 chipset. These digital tuner sticks are not designed to work on the US digital TV broadcast standard. So, that means you probably won’t be able to buy one in the USA. The easiest way to find one is just go to Ebay and search for SDR Radio. You will get a list of vendors selling these sticks listed for SDR use at about $20. Be sure to check that the stick is using the RTL2832U / Elonics E4000 chipset. Most of these vendors are in China, so expect it to take about two weeks to get to your QTH. I got one of the white ones from runtek88. This unit comes with the usb stick and an antenna. No box, software, and no instructions. I guess you don’t really need them, since the DVB-T stick is pretty much useless for anything else except for the application of it as an SDR radio. Some come with a remote which is also pretty much useless. The sticks are also very small.