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Inexpensive Software Defined Radio Spectrum Analyzer < $10.00

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Old 09-10-2019, 12:30 PM   #76  
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Just installed the latest SDR radio console V3 on my Dell WIN XP Laptop. It installed successfully however received message that SDR Console.EXE is not a valid WIN32 application. Pretty sure I downloaded the 32 bit version too.
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Old 09-10-2019, 01:27 PM   #77  
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Default RTLSDR Scanner & SDR# provide very different functionality

There are two applications that Ive been using, RTLSDR Scanner & SDR# (read SDR Sharp). The two programs provide very different functionality.

Limitation: the maximum usable (and stable) bandwidth of an RTLSDR dongle is about 2.4 MHz.

RTLSDR Scanner provides a wideband spectrum display by looking at a portion of the spectrum (within the dongles bandwidth), and then sequentially looking at the next portion etc. The wider you set your start & stop frequencies the longer a scan takes to complete. This program is very useful to view persistent signals like all the FM stations, VHF or UHF TV channels.


SDR#. This application also offers a Spectrum Analyzer display but additionally, can produce a Waterfall display or can simultaneously display both. When you see a signal on the FFT you can click on it, automatically tuning to it and opening the audio channel. It also lets you store frequencies (in groups) for later recall. Ive already created groups for FM Broadcast, Weather Radio, VHF & UHF Air bands (I live 4 miles from March ARB), 10 Meter Ham band and 6 Meter, 2 Meter, 220 and 440 MHz Amateur repeaters. SDR# demodulates CW, AM (including DSB, LSB & USB) and both Wide (FM broadcast) and Narrow band FM (police, fire & Amateur radio). It provides two main displays the top one is a conventional spectrum analyzer display and the bottom is a waterfall display.

Spectrum Analyzer Display
The top (spectrum analyzer) display is an instantaneous display of the signals present (and their relative amplitude) in the portion of the spectrum viewed. It displays the magnitude of an input signal versus its frequency within the bandwidth of the dongle.

Waterfall Display
The bottom waterfall display is a graphical representation of the signals across the viewable frequency range displayed over time. In SDR# it is color-coded to indicate signal amplitude (signal strength). The darker blue is background noise, the narrow vertical stripes represent relatively strong signal carriers and the colored display either side of the carrier signal represents the modulation occupying the bandwidth around the carrier.

If intermittent interference is present, it will flash on the spectrum analyzer display, but persist on the waterfall display. The link below is to a screen shot that shows an example of broad band interference to a 2-Meter Ham signal.



https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mTL...ew?usp=sharing

Ham radio operators in contests take advantage of waterfall displays to see what frequency other operators have previously used when they are not currently transmitting.

Last edited by Pete Higgins; 09-10-2019 at 07:24 PM.. Reason: Add picture
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Old 09-11-2019, 07:12 AM   #78  
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Below are my results using rtl scanner on my Dell XP system with coax from my antenna and un-amplified signal. I feed my TV's with a distro amp. So this is before the amp.

7.1 = 174
11.1 = 198
13.1 = 210

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Old 09-11-2019, 08:17 AM   #79  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenlab View Post
Below are my results using rtl scanner on my Dell XP system with coax from my antenna and un-amplified signal. I feed my TV's with a distro amp. So this is before the amp.

7.1 = 174
11.1 = 198
13.1 = 210


Try setting the gain at 25 dB. Click on View > Preferences > set gain to 25 dB > click OK



Try it first without the amp, then with the amp.

Mine looks like this for 7, 9, and 13:



I added an SMA to F adapter cable for the antenna connection:


Last edited by rabbit73; 09-11-2019 at 12:27 PM..
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Old 09-11-2019, 09:01 PM   #80  
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Default Full featured 32 Bit version of RTLSDR Scanner

Len & All,

Here is a link to a full featured 32 Bit version of RTLSDR Scanner that I use. I downloaded it and tested it under Windows XP & 10 and it runs in both.

https://github.com/EarToEarOak/RTLSD....0.22180.60082

When the page opens scroll down to the Assets section and click on the line that reads rtlsdr_scan-windows-32bit.exe 23.5 MB and it will download.

Assets 5

rtlsdr_scan-windows-32bit.exe 23.5 MB
rtlsdr_scan-windows-64bit.exe 43.2 MB
rtlsdr_scanner-setup-win32.exe 4.99 MB
Source code (zip)
Source code (tar.gz)

You still need the same 32 Bit dependencies in the directory with the downloaded rtlsdr_scan-windows-32bit.exe file.

convenience_static.lib 15KB
libusb-1.0.dll 67KB
msvcr100.dll 756KB
pthreadVC2-w32.dll 58KB
rtl_test.exe 16KB
rtlsdr.dll 43KB
rtlsdr.lib 10KB
rtlsdr_static.lib 101KB

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Old 09-12-2019, 08:07 AM   #81  
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Thank you for the clarification. That is the simple earlier stand alone version, v1.0.22180.60082, that was originally on sourceforge.net. You mentioned it in your post #47. It is one of the three that I have used; it works well.

Last edited by rabbit73; 09-12-2019 at 08:14 AM..
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:03 AM   #82  
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I am feeding with a VHF Yagi and a home built grey hoverman without the VHF tophats. I combine the two antennas outside the house. No preamp.

This is the scan of the antenna feed without the FM filter and distro amp:



This is the scan of the antenna feed after the FM Filter but before the distro amp:



This is the scan of the coax after the distro amp and fm filter:



Finally here is from 108 to 220 out of the distro amp looking for anything that might impact VHF:


Last edited by lenlab; 09-12-2019 at 09:09 AM.. Reason: add picture
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Old 09-12-2019, 09:22 AM   #83  
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Hello, Len

Thank you for the scans. They show a very high noise level on VHF-High between the channels. The FM filter doesn't seem to help, so the interference must be coming from another source. Did you try listening for noise on a battery operated portable radio tuned to a clear channel on the AM broadcast band?

The question is:
Is that noise interference affecting the TV and the dongle, or just the dongle?

Whichever it is, you must track it down and eliminate it.

It's a wonder you can receive anything.

Last edited by rabbit73; 09-12-2019 at 12:15 PM..
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:03 PM   #84  
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Default 7Port USB 3.0 Hub with On/Off Switch US AC Power Adapter

If anybody needs a powered USB 3.0 hub, I just received the one I ordered last Saturday through ebay. I have it plugged into the common USB 2.0 port on my HDMI KVMA switch so I can share multiple USB devices with all my connected computers. I tested it with my Surface Pro 4, RTL2832 dongles and Logitech wireless mouse & keyboard USB Unifying receiver. It was $6.85 delivered.


https://www.ebay.com/itm/254330010922
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:29 PM   #85  
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Default sma to f adapter cable



Quote:
Originally Posted by lenlab
Where did you get it? How much?
I got it from Amazon. It was one of a set of adapter cables. I saw it first here:
https://www.rtl-sdr.com/buy-rtl-sdr-dvb-t-dongles/

scroll down to
RTL-SDR Blog SMA Pigtail Antenna Adapter Set
which led me to Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0132N1DM0/

Yes, I know it is only one of a set that costs almost as much as the dongle, but I can use some of the other cables and the quality seems much better than average.

Quality is more important to me than price. I have enough trouble getting setups to work without dealing with defective equipment. I bought 2 new RCA TVPRAMP1R preamps in sealed boxes. Both failed; I don't recommend them without a note of caution.

Last edited by rabbit73; 09-12-2019 at 02:33 PM..
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:35 PM   #86  
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Rabbit,

I receive 13.1 very well. However 11.1 I can't receive and 7.1 is spotty. So whatever it is does impact my viewing.

I have to decide if I want to get the cable you are using which I have fittings for the dongle so I only would use it to take stress off the dongle or if I want a USB male female extension cable of about a foot.
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Old 09-12-2019, 12:43 PM   #87  
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Default F jack (female) to MCX plug pigtail

Len & All,

The antenna connects to the side of most generic USB tuner cards with an MCX male plug. To easily interface with RG-6/F connectors I ordered an F jack (female) to MCX plug pigtail. (Note; other RTL2832U DVB-T USB tuners are available that use a different style connector mounted in the end of the dongle so verify which style cable you need before you order.) I believe rabbit73's dongle uses an SMA connector. Here is a link to the type I use:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/F-female-ja...gAAOSwhkRWdL7s
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:05 PM   #88  
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Default Using SDRsharp for Noise Interference Measurements

Quote:
Originally Posted by lenlab View Post
I am feeding with a VHF Yagi and a home built grey hoverman without the VHF tophats. I combine the two antennas outside the house. No preamp.

This is the scan of the antenna feed without the FM filter and distro amp:

That's a lot of noise interference, len.

SDRsharp can also be used to look for noise. It can't show all of VHF-High at once, but it can show part of a channel and the adjacent noise. This is my channel 7:



a closer look:



My channel 9 is much weaker; it's marginal and can't always be received.



The signal is weaker than -45 dB, and is less than 15 dB above the noise floor; not enough SNR.

One nice thing about the spectrum analyzer is that it tells you if the channel is there. If you do a channel scan with your TV tuner and it doesn't pick up a channel, you don't know if the channel is there or not. The spectrum analyzer answers that question.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg SDRsharpCH7low15.7dB_1.jpg (129.7 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg SDRsharpCH7low15.7dB_2.jpg (116.7 KB, 1 views)
File Type: jpg SDRsharpCH9low15.7dB_2.jpg (151.8 KB, 1 views)

Last edited by rabbit73; 09-13-2019 at 08:17 AM..
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Old 09-12-2019, 01:36 PM   #89  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenlab View Post
Rabbit,

I receive 13.1 very well. However 11.1 I can't receive and 7.1 is spotty. So whatever it is does impact my viewing.
Your scan shows exactly that situation. 13 is mostly in the clear, 11 looks not likely, and 7 is maybe.
Quote:
I have to decide if I want to get the cable you are using which I have fittings for the dongle so I only would use it to take stress off the dongle or if I want a USB male female extension cable of about a foot.
It's your choice. I wanted both to take the strain off the dongle and off the USB port. Also, the dongle is too wide; it bumps into the mouse connector in the adjacent port. This is the USB extension cable I ordered:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NH11R3I/

Last edited by rabbit73; 09-12-2019 at 02:17 PM..
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Old 09-12-2019, 06:18 PM   #90  
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Default AM Band

Quote:
Originally Posted by lenlab
What does this mean? Not sure what you are asking?

Did you try listening for noise on a battery operated portable radio tuned to a clear channel on the AM broadcast band?
Sorry, I should have provided an explanation. The noise interference I see on your scan looks like it comes from a wideband noise source. Often noise of that type can also be heard on the AM broadcast band. You can use a battery operated portable radio tuned to a vacant frequency to listen for noise interference. Usually the radio will have a ferrite loopstick antenna that is directional to help you find the noise source, like a direction finder.

You can see the noise on your scan; now you have to find the source. LED or CFL lamps, battery chargers, switchmode power supplies, inverters, etc, can be noise sources. You might have to turn off breakers one-by-one if the source is in your house. The FCC has suggested that an AM portable radio can be useful when hunting for an interference noise source.
https://www.fcc.gov/consumers/guides...ephone-signals
Quote:
A simple method of determining the location of electrical interference is by using a portable AM radio tuned to a quiet frequency at the lower end of the dial. You should hear static or a buzzing sound as you get close to the source of the interference. The closer you get, the more intense the static will be.
This is the portable radio I use:



If you find the source of the noise, but can't turn it off, then maybe you can move the antenna further away from the noise source.

Last edited by rabbit73; 09-12-2019 at 06:25 PM..
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