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NooElec NESDR Mini USB RTL-SDR & ADS-B Receiver Set, RTL2832U & R820T Tuner, MCX Input. Low-Cost Software Defined Radio Compatible with Many SDR Software Packages. R820T Tuner & ESD-Safe Antenna Input
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- Included: NooElec USB dongle, antenna, remote control
- RTL2832U interface IC & R820T tuner IC on USB dongle
- These are custom USB devices tuned for SDR and include much better components than generics (see description below)
- Compatible with most SDR software packages; software & drivers may be downloaded freely from nooelec.com
- Full 1-year warranty & installation support available!
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The perfect device for learning software defined radio, on the cheap. Amateur radio, ADS-B, police & fire scanning, trunking, satellite images--you name it, this little guy can probably do it. Outperforms many devices 10x its cost!
This custom NooElec SDR is a modified DVB-T USB dongle tuned for SDR usage, including upgraded crystal, capacitors and inductors compared to generic devices like those sold by competitors. This results in a lowered noise floor, increased stability and improved longevity.
These units are based on the R820T tuner IC made by Rafael Micro. As such, they have a frequency capability of approximately 25MHz-1750MHz, though this can vary somewhat from unit to unit. There is also an RTL2832U IC on board of course, which acts as the demodulator and USB interface.
The connector type on the antenna and USB board is MCX--male MCX on the antenna, female MCX on the SDR. There are plenty of adapter and adapter cables available in our store if you want to connect your favorite antenna!
We perform extensive QA on every batch sold. As with all our SDRs, we guarantee antenna protection will be present so that your new investment will not be quickly destroyed by spurious ESD.
Full compatibility with a large array of software packages, such as MATLAB®, HDSDR, SDR Touch, SDR#, Planeplotter--too many to list. MathWorks® and NooElec™ have coordinated to bring MATLAB® support for our SDR receivers. The RTL-SDR radio support package enables you to design wireless receivers using real world signals. Using Communications System Toolbox™ in conjunction with an RTL-SDR USB radio, you can design and prototype systems that process real-time wireless signals in MATLAB® and Simulink®
Top customer reviews
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.
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.
Also own a general coverage military surplus AM receiver that weighs 83 pounds and has 33 tubes. This dongle has 50 times the coverage, covers all the modes (AM, SSB, FM, CW) and weighs a few ounces! Awesome.
Oh, and I purchased the Ham-It-Up upconverter to enable the HF ham bands. Very pleased with all of it. Impressed that Amazon has all the parts and cables to make this all work together.
as a side note, the antenna may not be great for your location. It really depends on what you want to listen to. I am lucky in that i live 1/4 mile from a large repeater for public safety and police radio so it works very well for what i want. I still say give it a try and if the antenna does not work out well there is a large community that will give you the resources needed to build your own for your application.