Most helpful critical review
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Great Device - NOT FOR NEWBIES! Read Review
on October 16, 2014
I ordered this after seeing an article on the internet about 'Software Defined Radio'. I placed the order in early September, it arrived mid-October, so plan on a 6-week shipping time-span (though it did come within the projected time). My 3-star rating of the product has to do with the product, itself, however.
When I got this, it came in a bubblepack envelope, about the size of a cigarette pack. Ok, opened it up, and there is EXACTLY what you see in the product image. Great, so far (except for that bubblepack envelope from China. I'm AMAZED it didn't look like ground up plastic confetti by the time it got to me, but hey, it got here in one piece and in working condition, so OK).
I pull it all out, find the little mini-CD disk (assuming it is the driver disk, as there are no other drivers or documentation with it), so I put the disk in first. OH, WOW, says disk 'needs to be formatted' first. Tells me that it is a blank disk. Looking at the bottom of the disk, I see it HAS been written to, so my assumption is that it is formatted for APPLE, not WINDOWS. Ok, would have been nice for them to mention this small detail first. Whatever. I go online and search for 'RTL-SDR USB2832, and find the drivers - again, generic and from dubious sites.
Fine, forget this, I just plug the dongle into my Win7 64-bit computer and it finds it. Great. NOW, I go and search for SDR# (the Software Defined Radio software) and download it from SDR# itself, a free open-source program). It comes with a custom program called ZADIG that is used to properly configure your drivers for the dongle first, then you run the SDR software to 'control the radio' functions.
There's a lot of data out there on custom things you can do with this device, but in its current format and support level, it is NOT FOR LAYPERSONS! Don't buy this if you barely know how to turn on a computer, YOU WILL NOT GET IT TO WORK. If you understand driver files, hunting for software and manuals, and have the patience of a saint to figure out the radio technical nomenclature used in the configuration settings (without the help of an owner's manual), then this is the GADGET FOR YOU! I had it scanning police frequencies within an hour of installing it, and have already started putting together a full 'favorites listing' within the software (nice feature). It is also capable of (believe it, or not) of taking radio telescope data and by way of four different software packages (not included), able to take the radio signal, decode it, configure it into a graphic image, and display this image on your PC (it also works with the Russian Meteor2 Weather satellite system, to see global weather images). It has a LOT of great tech applications, none of which at this time, are really suitable for noobs.
If you want a GREAT frequency range scanner (talking down to 24Mhz up to around 2-Ghz, haven't checked top side yet), this thing has it. FORGET IT if you want to see TV with it in America, this is NOT for U.S. TV (but being DVB, will work in Europe as a straight-up TV dongle). It works on both Apple and Mac, but forget the disc that comes with it, if you are harboring intentions of using it on a PC - you are ON YOUR OWN (I HIGHLY recommend starting with SDR# software and Zadig drivers, and going from there). Oh, and my 3-stars? The bums could have put this SDR# and Zadig on the disk, and made it viewable - accessible for Windows, considering that they DID advertise it could do some of this stuff. 3-stars for NO DOCUMENTATION, NO DRIVERS, NO SOFTWARE for Windows Applications!