There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

154 of 155 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2013
I actually bought mine from NooElec's website directly, but it's the same exact product they're selling here.

I bought this as an SDR (Software Defined Radio) instead of as a DVB-T receiver. I'm in the United States where we don't have DVB-T stations, so I can't comment upon its performance there. However, as an SDR, it's quite amazing. And that's before you realize it's twenty bucks! I'd gladly pay $100-$200 for this thing. I've only had mine for 4 days, but so far I've been able to pick up local HAM radio repeaters, a few 2-way radio conversations, FM radio stations, NOAA weather radio, and am currently using it for ADS-B reception and am uplinking to FlightRadar24.

A few tips for beginners:
1) This comes bare-bones. Hardware only. That's good in a way, as if you're using it for SDR, you DO NOT want to use the DVB-T drivers.
2) This is an off-label use for this device. It was NEVER intended to be used as an SDR. Keep in mind that prior to February 2012, all these USB sticks were good for was watching TV in Europe. The drivers and software are a work in progress. This is what I call bleeding edge technology. Some of the software is very refined & polished; other parts have been cobbled together & borrowed from other devices. With patience, you can get a very reliable and very functional rig from this.
3) When in doubt, Google is your friend. Search for RTL-SDR + whatever terms you're having trouble with or curious about. We're all still learning what these devices can do.
4) FWIW, you can use multiple USB sticks on one computer. Why would you want to do this? UniTrunker, running ADS-B + ACARS simultaneously, monitoring multiple frequencies, you name it. I don't know of anything out there this flexible. Running multiple is beyond the scope of this review. See #3 above.

For Windows users: (Please note: Amazon won't let me post links in the review....BUT I've posted them in the comments section.)
1 Go over to NooElec's website and download the drivers there. Just look for this product there and on the product page will be a Product Download page. Their download includes the driver installer (Zadig) and SDR Sharp (SDR#).
2) Run the Install.bat which is inside the installer. It'll download everything and leave you a SDR Sharp folder.
3) Plug in the USB stick. When Windows prompts to install drivers, cancel. It might prompt to do this twice. Cancel both attempts.
4) Run Zadig.exe. It should have WinUSB selected by default. Click Install Drivers. Close Zadig when it's done.
5) Run SDR Sharp. When it loads (it can take awhile), next to the Play button, select RTL-SDR/USB in the drop-down. Click PLAY. If everything works as planned, it'll come alive. Valid frequencies are ~24MHz-1800MHz. When in doubt, try a local FM station (mode WFM) and see what happens.

For Mac users:
As usual, software support is a bit thin on the Mac side of things. Despair not though! Getting this device to work is easier in MacLand, even if software support is limited. Google around for gqrx_7.dmg or GQRX Mac. You're trying to find a pre-built version of GQRX. Once you get it, plug the USB stick in, run GQRX, and you should be up & running.

**Update after 3 months**
These are still the best USB SDR tuners. I have a couple of these NooElec USB sticks which have been running 24/7, some outdoors in the Florida heat and so far they're still going. I've also since bought other ones from other sources (eBay & the like) for less money, BUT so far every single one of those has developed problems due to overheating, loose connectors, or a blown front-end. I've actually bought a few of these and given them away as gifts to a few techie & ham radio/scanner types. At this price, you can't go too wrong.

**Update after 12 months**
Still using these USB SDR sticks all over the place. From listening to broadcast radio stations to ham radio to 2-way radio to receiving aircraft ADS-B signals, they're still my go-to device. I have a few which have been running 24/7 since purchasing these a year ago and no ill effects on them. So far no issues with static electricity or lightning taking out the front ends either, and that's with some very close lightning strikes over the past year which did take out some gear on my roof. Still 5 stars.
1010 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
I picked this up in addition to an E4000 version. This one is generally better.
The bottom end of this is in the 37MHz range. Don't expect to pick up long-wave or AM broadcasts.

Picking some lower-end areas will either show up silent, with strange device noises, or maybe fail to open the device with libusb0.

I can pick up ADS-B really well with this. Higher elevation and better antenna helps too, but this blows away the E4000 even with a favorable gap.

Sensitivity is pretty good with this, and so FFT contrast is good.

Also, trying kalibrate, this varies by as much as 22khz from reliable sources. That's mostly thermal issues on the low quality oscillator, however, I found this to be more consistent than the E4000. This was -22kHz, plus or minus 1kHz. That's pretty easy to work with. If it's not just because of where I'm sitting temperature wise, this might even sync with GPS on RTL-GNSS for those more daring, but it won't pick up PCS or higher freqs.

This is generally a decent device. Sensitivity is better than decent.

This has a very small antenna port, sort of a micro-pal connector. I haven't been able to find adapters to hook up other antennae to it.

The alternative is an E4000 device, which I find to have better high-end range, but poorer sensitivity, and worse reception of aviation/radar signals such as ADS-B.

I recommend picking up SDRsharp, because it just works. Run the "zadig" tool to associate your RTL device with WinUSB. Start SDRsharp and go into "Configure". Turn off RTL-AGC manually set tuner gain to 36dB. Set to an FM station, and use "WFM". Hit "play" and tinker with things until you're happy. You can find your shift value by setting your step size small, and then hit the center of the channel found, and see how much that differs from the formal channel frequency. I found a shift of 3000 was close for mine, and I did some tweaking of the FFT display to make signals more visible. Click and drag sideways to tune/scroll. Click once to set the center freq within the current display (max about 2.5MHz), or click top/bottom of the numbers in the freq. Alternatively, mouse wheel works great for tuning.
44 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2013
Verified Purchase
There are already a lot of positive reviews of this product. Therefore, if you're hesitant about dropping $20 on a really cool gadget at this point, I can't help you. However, I would like to mention my particular use.

I am researching an established radio-based protocol. I'm trying to characterize the types of interference and real-life signals involved (not just what the spec says). Until I found this gadget, I was working with other engineers to develop a simple capture system just for research. Even though this doesn't have the sensitivity and resolution I will ultimately need, this got me out of the pure theory stage, and working with real signals. And, I'm not spending other people's time building temporary hardware.

I want to also point out just how educational this can be to any aspiring or current electrical engineers. Using any of the free SDR programs gives you a pretty amazing perspective of the RF spectrum. My past experience with receivers has been tuning to known frequencies, and seeing what you get. Using a tool with a live FFT and waterfall display gives you a visual "browser" into the RF spectrum. It's really cool to see the channelization in the commercial broadcast bands.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
Verified Purchase
Lots of great reference sites out there on this TV dongle showing how to enable a truly broadband programmable receiver. (see [...]as a great starting point)

NOT FOR RECEIVING TV IN THE USA

It works great with the current drivers and SDR# software on my XP desktop. The antenna is very short so do not expect any serious performance unless using something more substantial. The MCX antenna connector is hard to find, but my next step will be to mount this in a small box and solder a cable to a BNC connector. At less than $20 for the entire dongle package it would be crazy to spend as much or more on expensive connectors!

Works fine on local FM stations and some Public service activity too. No success yet on 1.09GHz ADS-B signals, but that may require a better antenna. Way cheaper than a Funcube dongle and great fun so far.

Lost one star for apparent low sensitivity on broadcast FM band, but otherwise I am happy to recommend to fellow experimenters, HAM radio or scanner listeners.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on February 25, 2013
Verified Purchase
Had wider freq coverage than other donagles-gonna make all kinds of antennas for it. Used SDR# (SDRsharp) software & am gonna see if anything else (free) can be used with it - so much for $1,500 to $6,000 hardware-I even can dust off my C# programming books (for Dummys).
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2014
Verified Purchase
i am using this along with free software to track airplanes in my vicinity, and it works very well. Setup was easy, and the antenna really works. Not sure what the remote does tho.
22 commentsWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 18, 2014
Verified Purchase
I use it as an SDR on Linux, and it works well in that capacity; seems to have very little error or drift in its tuning. (I have no idea whether it actually works for its original advertised purpose.) If you'll be using it on a laptop or anywhere it could get bumped (e.g., hanging off a laptop), you'll want to get a USB extension cable of some sort for it, if you don't have one around; it's easy to dislodge, and might not be able to fit right next to other USB plugs/devices because it's so wide.

The dinkus little antenna it comes with is better than nothing, but not that useful. I've been using it with a whip antenna (/gp/product/B0051YCQ8E/) for on-the-go situations and a normal HDTV loop antenna (/gp/product/B00DIFIM36/) for at-home stuff. You'll need a pigtail of some sort (/gp/product/B00CTJN480/) to connect it to most antennae, since the little jack on the side is MCX.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 5, 2013
Verified Purchase
This can easily be turned into a broadband scanner radio (30 Mhz to 3 Ghz) using some free software which receives AM/FM Police, Emergency, Utility and Air radio bands just to name a few. There is a huge community providing information and software for this cheap little device and it works great.

See my reviews and information about how use this radio at my YouTube channel, "hamrad88".

Get one of these and start scanning.....
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2014
Verified Purchase
This is one of many inexpensive DVB-T dongles originally intended for off-the-air television reception in Europe. They don't work for that purpose in North America, but it turns out that with free software they can be used as software defined radios (SDRs) from about 45 MHz to 1.7 GHz. I used it with gqrx software running on Linux, and was able to receive a great variety of signals using TV rabbit ears as an antenna. Even the tiny antenna included was usable, especially with clip leads added. With either one I could pick up FM broadcast stations, weather radio, ham radio on 2 meters, and much more. I was also successful picking up position and altitude telemetry from aircraft using dump1090 software on Linux. If you don't have Linux, gqrx is also available for Mac, as is other free SDR software for Windows.

This product worked very well, but I have reduced my rating by one star because the MCX antenna connector broke. The connector body on the circuit board looks very substantial, but the part which snaps onto the antenna cable was pressed in and eventually popped out when the cable was pulled sideways. The connector is on the side of the dongle, not the end, and that makes it even more vulnerable. I replaced this unit with a NooElec NESDR Nano, which appears to be a sturdier design with equal performance. However, this unit could last a long time if you are careful to avoid sideways forces on the antenna connector. If you do not use the antenna provided, you will probably need an MCX to F adapter or cable. I recommend a cable with a right-angle MCX connector to reduce the chance of damage.

The remote control included in the package has no known use unless you are receiving DVB-T signals.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2013
Verified Purchase
It's cheap, and it works. It was also never intended to be used as an SDR, so there's that consideration as well.

After building my own turnstile antenna, I was able to receive a wide range of transmissions in the VHF bands. I have not tried anything higher up yet, but judging by all the people who use it for aircraft tracking I suspect it probably works pretty well for this application.

The internal amplifier works well enough for basic reception, although its noise figure is pretty terrible. I'd recommend getting an LNA if you're serious about wanting to use this thing for SDR use.

My only gripes are the stock antenna and antenna connector. The stock antenna is useless, which isn't really that bad a thing on its own, but it's a pain to replace because some engineer decided to use an MCX connector of all things for it. An MCX to SMA adapter ran me $20 on DigiKey - more than the stick did. If you want to use a standard-ish antenna, keep this in mind.
11 commentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.
See all 52 answered questions


Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.

Your Recently Viewed Items and Featured Recommendations 
 

After viewing product detail pages, look here to find an easy way to navigate back to pages you are interested in.