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Using The Pi With An SDR Dongle

Realtek RTL-SDR FM+DAB USB Radio Tuner

These amazing little USB devices are available online from Amazon or Ebay for less than 15 pounds.(GBP) On the downside, they are current hungry and better connected to a Raspberry Pi (or your laptop),via an inexpensive USB hub. They get quite warm to the touch when in use. One of mine runs 24/7 uploading data to Planeplotter.They are supplied with driver software for high definition TV and DAB radio. Even with the small vertical antenna, also supplied, I can receive most of the Freeview channels I normally watch, on my laptop, with the antenna mounted horizontally on the front of a steel filing cabinet under the shack workbench. The antenna has a magnetic base. With additional software, the full tuning range (approx 70MHz to 1.5GHz)of the RTL SDR device can be explored. At the higher frequencies, an outside antenna with a high quality, low loss coaxial feeder (which may/may not) include a preamp, will be required. Having said that (tongue in cheek),my DUMP1090 software is plotting the ADS-B data from aircraft (at 1.090GHz) within about 70km of my home location with the supplied antenna placed vertically on a desktop indoors! I need to replace the coax feed to the discone antenna mounted outside above the house gutter line to improve its performance! The link Planeplotter Pi in my side menu shows a google representation of existing coverage. It will be very interesting to see how much improvement results from fitting a new low loss coax feed to my outside discone antenna and connecting it to my dongle.......warmer weather required! Now the coax has been replaced the range has increased beyond 140 km.(well on the way to Paris to the south-east and Luton to the north-west)

Coax Adapter for External Antenna

A small antenna adapter is available from Maplin to connect the SDR device to an external antenna. Purists can easily cut off the coaxial socket and replace it with a BNC type or better.

Useful link to Essex Ham website SDR information/software
Dump1090 on the Raspberry Pi

Using SDR# software with the dongle to receive VHF Stereo FM