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Turn your Computer into a Super Wideband Spectrum Analyzer, and Receiver for cheap....

Discussion in 'Survival Communications' started by BTPost, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Ok, I got an eMail from an old Colleague, of mine, from my Days as an FCC Resident Field Agent.... He has been playing around with this hardware for a few months, and thought that I just might be interested, in the Technology. WOW, was he right.... for $80US Shipped from Amazon.com You can get ALL the hardware to make this operational. The Windoz Drivers and Software is available, from the Internet, as well as Linux versions. No Mac version, but I am going to try it running from a Virtual Machine, on my iMac. Below is a URL that will lead you to a Page that explains the hardware, software, and operations of the package.

    Ultra Cheap Software Defined Radio! – Sierra Permaculture Design

    If this works as advertised, NO Monkey Comms Guru can be without this setup.... It gives the User, a complete Spectrum Picture of what is happening in the RF Domain, around your AoO. You can SEE exactly who is transmitting, and what they are saying, right there on your Computer Display, and coming out of your speaker. FRS/GMRS, MURS, Public Safety, Ham, Marine, Aircraft, Military, FM & AM Broadcast, the whole deal, all wrapped up in a small package. The Ultimate Scanner if you will, that shows you, not only the Frequency, they are using, but the Demodulated Audio, that is encoded. So I have one setup on Order, NOW, and will publish a Blog, about what I find, when I get the hardware up and running. Stand by for further News.......
  2. Seacowboys

    Seacowboys Senior Member Founding Member

    So how long before you figure out how to use just one di-pole antenna for this as well as the HAM?
    Mindgrinder likes this.
  3. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    I vaguely recall skimming the article in the Jan QST magazine but I didn't recall a spectrum analyzer to this. Very cool. I didn't see the spectrum analyzer in the linked article info about but then again I probably missed it. I can order the dongle and other parts, I saw the link for the SDR but where might I find the analyzer software? Just curious but do you happen to know if it's using a fast fourier transform or a sweep-tuned analysis methodology? Very much look forward to your updates and experiences. Thank you.

    Just the SDR alone is worth it but a modest SA would be very nice to have. Couple that with a decent discone and this could be good for OPSEC as well as checking/testing one's own commo gear. Now where did I leave that QST from last month...... hope "she who must be obeyed" didn't recycle it.

    Mindgrinder likes this.
  4. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Just as soon as I can get the Hardware here and set it up, Sea....

    Look at the Top Picture in the Article..... It shows a "chunk of spectrum" and then directly below a Waterfall Display of the Modulation....
    Mindgrinder likes this.
  5. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    See it now. duh... Can I use this as proof to my wife that I don't look at the pictures and I read the articles for the information?

    Mindgrinder likes this.
  6. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Sure, if she will believe you.... No woman on earth falls for that one, except Kommiefornia ValleyGirl Blonds... And I am not so sure of those...
    Mindgrinder likes this.
  7. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja Jedi Bipolar WINNING M.L.F.

    Please link to your blog here when u post it.
    I'd be highly interested in buying and possibly reselling these.
  8. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    BT, which DVB-T dongle did you go with? Elonics 4000, Raphael R820T, something else? I'm leaning toward the R820T - but the higher top end of the 4000 might be good but I'm not sure why I might want that.

    I found the Jan QST issue and read the article. Very good instructions stepping through how to set it up for the non-nerd but probably still above the technology challenged. The author has some of the article info here: SDR - Google Drive

    The spectrum analyzer will display a max of 2 MHz wide section of spectrum but one of the websites looks like there are other apps that can be used if one wishes to build and compile their own software that can go up to 3.2 meg but that stuff way exceeds my interests/talents. I found where it does use a FFT to create the analysis.

    I'd like to jump on this but I have so many projects this just isn't quite tops but I might still order the toys and tinker a bit periodically.

  9. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    Well I can't remember right off what I bought, but it will be here next Wed for sure, and maybe even tomorrow, so I will let you know... 2 MHz will do just fine for now... And I have some friends who may be able to expand the code some, once I get the hardware running... Whatever I find, I will publish.... You might scann the QST Article to a .PDF, and post it here, in this thread, .....
    Mindgrinder likes this.
  10. Mindgrinder

    Mindgrinder Karma Pirate Ninja Jedi Bipolar WINNING M.L.F.

    Uh...I know a guy who knows a guy who knows a guy who can prolly help u with the software issue provided it wont take 1000s of hours of scripting. I'm keenly interested in what it will do "out of the box" so please post a review or something and we can look at it from there.
  11. Altoidfishfins

    Altoidfishfins Monkey++

    Hmm! More cool stuff.
  12. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Original link found in first post of thread. Below is the pertinent information, posted here for posterity (we are an information archive).

    Here is what you’ll need:
    1) Computer with a USB port
    2) SDR Software. If you’re using Windows, start here: Windows Software [rtlsdr.org wiki]. For those on Linux, see: Linux Software [rtlsdr.org wiki]
    3) Newsky TV28T DVB-T dongle (w/ R820T tuner): NooElec - TV28T v2 DVB-T USB Stick (R820T) w/ Antenna and Remote Control - SDR Receivers - Software Defined Radio
    5) RF Upconverter board: NooElec - Ham It Up v1.0 - RF Upconverter For Software Defined Radio - SDR Accessories - Software Defined Radio
    6) Antennacraft ST4 ultra-wideband discone antenna for 25-1300 MHz receive: http://is.gd/g5Y2Yo
    7) The LNR Precision ‘EF SWL’ antenna for 1-30 MHz receive: Par EndFedZ® Antennas | LNR Precision Par EndFedz Antennas and QRP TransceiversLNR Precision Par EndFedz Antennas and QRP Transceivers
    8) Appropriate length of 50-ohm coaxial feedline for antenna connections and any adapters needed to attach the feedline to the antenna jack on the RF upconverter. You’ll also need a jumper to connect the dongle to the upconverter. You can find coax and adapters of all sorts at Ham Radio Outlet, but prices are often cheaper on eBay, so search around.
    BTPost likes this.
  13. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    When my Amazon order arrives, next week, and I get things put together, the HF portion will be connected to the Aux Receiver Outlet on my HF Radio, which is internally tied to the Receivers FrontEnd, and isolated, and Grounded, from the Tx by a set of Relay contacts, when in Tx mode. The 30 Mhz and above Input will be fed from the Aux Antenna Feed on my Icom R7000 Receiver. Antennas are already in place, so I should be able to start getting a handle on the operation of the gear very quickly. blogs to follow...
    Brokor likes this.
  14. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Here is it. Split into two files in case some people have size limits on the download.

    Attached Files:

  15. Airtime

    Airtime Monkey+++ Site Supporter

    Part 2

    Attached Files:

  16. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

  17. Oddmar

    Oddmar Monkey+

    Updates? Did you give up? I'm only asking because i respect your advice and would like a review before i spend my pennies...
  18. BTPost

    BTPost Old Fart Snow Monkey Moderator

    It is still sitting here, in the Office, on the shelf. I suspect it will be a Wintertime Project, this coming winter, when it is to cold, to do outside business.
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