Software Defined Radio (SDR/RTLSDR)

@ozbark Probably best to continue here.

I’m using Windows 10.

The one I have is this one:

I’ve been meaning to get the RTL-SDR.com dongle. I see that it’s 8-bit too but should be of better quality right?

I tried QIRX and could not get it working. I can try SDR-J out.

I moved the cable and plugged it into my other antenna wall port. I can get 99.9 in good quality now so might have made a difference somewhere.

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No worries.
Maybe try a enquiry post below if you can’t fix the timezone(?) RDS CT issue.

Petarko> I’ve been meaning to get the RTL-SDR.com dongle. I see that it’s 8-bit too but should be of better quality right?

No I wouldn’t think you would notice a difference in all honesty & I’d save my money by not purchasing it. I purchased a 2016 era Noo-Elec SDR dongle. Then either in 2018 or 2019 I purchased the better spec & later release NooElec dongle which rivals the later RTL-SDR. I couldn’t detect any noticeable improvement with the later. Forget the 8 bit cheapy devices. If you need an SDR for DAB+ & can afford it consider a Airspy R2 or SDR Play if your budget is less than A$250. I’ve no idea how the Airspy Mini performs, but R2 is fairly good for price from several reports. Im keen on seeing its successor in future for better DAB+ performance & wideband monitoring of the FM band.

QIRX instal is an unwanted overly complex instal product from the author’s description & options (shouldn’t be so difficult) - I eventually got it going in Windows 7. I think I had to add ALL the required third party files etc to get it working properly.
Under my Win 10 machine I recently installed it & had lots of issues, trying to remember how I got it all going under Win 7 without all the errors etc. Have some of it going in Win 10, but lots of start up errors.
It is a nice program when it works & after getting though the hurdles…
Been too busy to tackle it again.

SDR-J has an ugly GUI, but it works (except for not displaying one type of Slideshow image file type from memory) & is flexible & the author is very helpful

Good. PAL connectors have given me issues in the past, unless new, clean & tight fitting.
F is the better, but not as fast to unplug/plug etc.

I use SDR-J for DAB at home and I love it. My SDR is mainly for listening to trunked radio (I have 2 dongles for this reason)

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I don’t know if shows the quality of my USB dongle but even if I run it at -9.9db:
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I still get imaging from stronger stations where lower signals are being received, for example Smooth 95.3 is being heard here on top of 93.2 (Koori Radio):

WSFM is a common culprit here.

Any tips for this? @ozbark or @NRN11?

Make sure your ppm is set to whatever the dongle requires.

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Oh yes, I usually use the Sydney ATIS for this.

That is now set:

An 8 bit device gives you limited dynamic range. There’s a limit to what you can achieve with these devices for FM BCB reception in a hostile 150kW environment here in Sydney.
Overload is common sorry to say. Config gain setting experimentation, ppm experimentation, usage of a tunable FM BCB filter/preselector at input, attenuator(s) at RF input, directional antennas, the list goes on.
In brief you get what you pay for.
I initially bought my dongle for DAB+ usage & as a intro to the world of SDR.
It is a play toy device, but it can be a nice DX tool too. Just don’t expect it to perform to same or near standards as a SDR costing over $100.

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Just wondering what these settings mean in the FMPlayer? If anyone can explain to me that would be great :slight_smile:.

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I would say that M/S Blend refers to Mono/Stereo. As the FM signal gets weaker and the stereo signal picks up more noise, you can gradually blend in a static free mono signal to make the station easier to listen to. My guess is that the 5 refers to a signal level where this starts to first kick in.

Also assume that the alternative to this is the M/S Switch where at a designated signal level the radio will switch from stereo to mono.

Soft Mute would refer to muting the static hiss on FM frequencies where there is no signal. This is usually on but for DX’ing you would want it to be off so as not to miss faint signals. Also assume that you can set a (very low) signal level where this takes effect.

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I have now gotten 2 of the RTLSDR blog dongles and it’s much better. I can receive Nine’s channels again and there are no dropouts on other channels.

I also brought an FM band filter along with it just in case.

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I’ve discovered that I can receive AM with my RTLSDR dongle thanks to direct sampling. Only problem is that the frequencies don’t match what SDR# says (screenshot shows it tuned to 702) and the AM band is backwards (going higher is actually going lower).

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Cracked Out this budget SDR DX kit I put Together with @TheChase this evening… it works surprisingly well for what it is… even had it decoding DMR, I will take some footage on the next DX run.

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Here’s a great review Youtube video of the three most common cheapo SDR dongles for those contemplating getting into SDR radio monitoring with the minimalist amount of $$ outlay on SDR hardware:

Combine with a Windows laptop or android tablet & free or cheap software, a cheap antenna or dipole & you have yourself a portable & flexible radio DX setup.

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Thats ozbark. I gone down a rabbit warren now :slight_smile:. I was tuning to someone’s radio in the UK today on FM. It was BBC 2. I wish there were more in Australia using SDRSharp. I am not very familiar with the software so I get lost easily :slight_smile:. It may fix the geoblocking issue for the cricket in England. I can listen to the shipping report on LW plus the cricket.

Unfortunately no remote FM radio in Sydney but I get an AM radio at Freemans Reach and that allows me to listen to 2LT on AM. Also I can listen to 2RE as well now on AM, with someone’s radio in the Foster area. Great time waster :slight_smile:.

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Wow that’s interesting, so you can remotely listen to somebody else’s radio, via the internet?

I’ve ordered an SDR 2832U dongle which should be arriving any day now and I’m in Sydney, could be cool to discuss offline.

here is a example. I am listening to Freemans Reach Sydney remotely. I also can switch to the US/UK and listen to am radio and much more. I’d recommend subscribing to the youtube channel ozbark provided as a starting point. The http://kiwisdr.com/public/ does not support FM.

I got FM working too using SDRSharp but I personally found it a challenge as it has so many features so many bands it is certainly for the radio expert. I am simple guy just listen to FM/AM. I was hoping for more Australia “radios” I can log in but there are no “radios” .

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Yeah… it’s certainly a learning curve & no manual provided either for SDR#. ‘SDR Console’ provides help videos & online help. I’m still learning years on. You have to be a bit techy, nerdy or geeky or all of the above to want to or to have the patience to get into this. I marvel at the coders who burn away their hours creating this software & the engineers who create the radio hardware & code.

One has to play, experiment & study to learn about this stuff. It doesn’t happen overnight. Fortunately in this modern era we have easy access to people, forums to help us & youtube videos so we can learn & do things ourselves that we never dreamt of attempting decades ago :slight_smile:

Yeah a simple radio is easy. But SDR tech, which has been around for a long while now & continues to improve adds a huge amount of fun & power to ones fingertips. What one can do with SDR software to improve signals & reduce or eliminate interference in some cases is simply amazing.

And you’re right it’s a way to burn a lot of your free time, but lets face it computers have been doing that to our lives for a long while now. That said, not too many in the under 60 year group who want a life free of computers or at least a smartphone these days.

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That one seems to come into its own at night, when distant AM signals can be received.

Of course not too much exciting programming wise, but at least there’s still different ad breaks and station IDs, etc. Interestingly the network feed on 2GF 1206AM seems to be a second or two ahead of the one from 2SM 1269AM - is that because the Sydney station is running an analogue simulcast of the DAB+ channel or something?

Listened to a little bit of that yesterday. Would’ve been nice if there was remote FM radio from that region too (haven’t heard Max 1073 in a while now), although at least being able to hear some of the local drive program on 2RE was good!

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Listening to Magic Music FM on 100.6 FM in Auckland. I wish we had an oldies station like this on FM in Sydney. The closest thing is perhaps Smooth FM.

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I agree. For the record, Magic Music is available on FM across much of NZ.

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