SDR (Software Defined Radio) For Satellite (1 Viewer)

Stargazer

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Wasn't sure if it was the same exact model. Are there others that offer more of a frequency range for a little more money that are rock solid like the one you mentioned? I am looking at getting one to connect to my Nexus 7 to find signals during installs and to play around with. How would this compare vs. using a signal meter such as a First Strike? Is it quick in responsiveness and no delays so that I know right when that signal is coming in? I like the spectrum analyzer aspect of the software and that I can find the signal to terrestrial, satellite, etc.

This looks quite interesting.......

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gVFQVzoeNjA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMmVbJGig2A

Very informative but long on this one - Power SDR --> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YLrvpC9hmxQ

Can SDR do this? Is cuSDR and/or Power SDR compatible with the newsky? This program appears to be able to view the spectrum of multiple frequencies at the same time. Would be excellent for tuning in different transponders on a satellite such as 97W to balance the signals.

Here is a site where you can tune in using someone else's SDR needing no hardware, just do it from a webpage (with Java).
 
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Balock

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NooElec, as well as a few others, still have some dongles based on the Elonics E4000 tuner. These can tune a little higher than the RTL R820T tuner, but Elonics went out of business and the laws of supply and demand have pushed prices much higher for those dongles ($40-$50 vs $16).

It appears that cuSDR only supports two hardware platforms, which doesn't include these cheap USB dongles. That's a shame as it appears to be a very nice application and the author has stated that he doesn't intend to support additional platforms primarily due to lack of time.
I think PowerSDR supports only the FlexRadio hardware platform. Definitely doesn't support the RTL-based dongles.

Can't comment on a comparison to one of the signal meters. I think that right now you'd be limited to using the spectrum analyzer to see part of a transponder's signal.
 

Titanium

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The bandwidth can range up to 6Mhz, so it wouldn't be capable of viewing the wider spectrum like a dedicated spectrum analyzer. This is not a SA replacement, but will do well for $16. It can be used for aligning the dish and setting the skew on satellite and definitely can see ATSC carriers for CNR comparisons. You are just restricted to viewing smaller segments of the spectrum. Example: a typical SCPC radio or narrow TV signal can be viewed on a single screen, but a wider SCPC or a mux would require scrolling to view the entire carrier.

The response time is dependent on the computer processor. It seems instantaneous on both the 1Ghz tablet and i5 PC.

BTW... I was not interested in the Elonics 4000 because of the tuning issues in the satellite IF range.
 
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Stargazer

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Balock

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A male MCX to female F connector (assuming you are ordering the tuner from NooElec). Here's an example: http://www.ebay.com/itm/6inch-RF-co...032?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3f25f93e38
I would use this pigtail type rather than an adapter so as to keep strain on the tuner to a minimum.

The tuner won't power an LNB or choose the polarity tho...an STB will have to do that for you. You can use a splitter with STBs that don't have a LNB loop out...just make sure that it only passes power to the LNB port! :eek:
 

Balock

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Here's an SDR capture from 97W in the neighborhood of 11860H (I'm using the LNB-out from my VisionSat rcvr), as well as one from KTEL :cool:. I haven't a clue what the signals in the SDR display are yet...telemetry, packet data bursts, etc.?

View attachment 93465

Add another 150Mhz to that frequency...it should be 12010H. I had the wrong shift entered in SDR# so the displayed freq was wrong (my LNB for 97W is universal, for 87W it's standard :rolleyes: )
 

Stargazer

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I got my stuff in. Didn't take a week to get everything. I have the mini usb to usb pigtail for the tablet, the F connector pigtail and the usb adapter. I also got the new PLL lnb that I wont from the holiday party. I am ready to hook some stuff up to play around with it. I also want to use it to help tune in OTA locals for myself and others. I have a service call coming up and want to try to use it to help me tune in 97W alongside a tablet.
 

Balock

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Cool! I haven't bought a usb adapter yet since I don't have a tablet to use with it. Been playing around with different SDR software (SDR#, HDSDR, SDR Console v2) as well as some digital decoding software (Dream and unitrunker primarily) listening everywhere from shortwave to 850MHz public service, and taking the odd peek at the satellite signals as well.

Here's what one of the beacons on 97W looks like in SDR#:
97W_11700_Beacon_SDRSharp.png
That's close to 11701MHz (vertical) on the sat itself. There should be another around 12199MHz horizontal (would be tuned at 1449MHz on a standard LNB) that looks similar. You can probably use either one as a good aiming target, but you can't use it to identify which sat.

Be careful to make sure use a splitter that blocks DC going back to the dongle. 18V on the line may let the smoke out of some components. My VisionSat receiver apparently passed some 18V to the LNB loop output while changing sats and polarities...this blew the limiting diode on the input of my HamItUp upconverter :eek: :
SDR_Smoke.jpg
The HamItUp still works (C30 acts as a DC block) :) Also forced the STB into protection mode because it essentially shorted to ground...I had no sat signals until I recycled the power. Now I have a splitter on that output!

Hook it all up and play around to learn what you will look for. If you have a motorized Ku dish, move it back and forth to see how the beacons fade in and out. Mine's fixed, so I can't easily do that right now.

For the OTAs, it'll be a similar process. You'll only see roughly 2MHz of the 6MHz signal, but it'll be enough to watch the signal level go up and down as you aim. This is the lower end of UHF Channel 44 in my area:
SDRSharp_UHF_Channel44.png
It's just shy of 40 miles to my SW according to tvfool.com.

Have fun!
 

Stargazer

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I have some splitters and diplexers with a DC port power pass on it. Even got some F to BNC connectors to hook up some cb antenna's. Do you have to download any decoding software to pick up any audio from the AM/FM stations or does SDR have some built in? I see some signals showing up and I think a tv station signal picked up in the 600's on the little antenna included but could not hear any audio from the radio stations. I plan on attaching a tv antenna to my F connetor dongle to see how much more it can pick up.
 

Jim S.

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What software are you using? Virtually anything should have support for AM and FM. But, you may have to go into the driver configuration and turn up the gain on the tuner -- it usually defaults to 0 for some reason. I usually put it somewhere between 22 and 36. You'll be able to see if you have it too high, because you'll get lots of noise and images of other signals.
 

Joe DC

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I got my stuff in. Didn't take a week to get everything. I have the mini usb to usb pigtail for the tablet, the F connector pigtail and the usb adapter. I also got the new PLL lnb that I wont from the holiday party. I am ready to hook some stuff up to play around with it. I also want to use it to help tune in OTA locals for myself and others. I have a service call coming up and want to try to use it to help me tune in 97W alongside a tablet.

The NooElec DVB-T+DAB+FM dongle is awsome for OTA antenna peaking. Just used it for that purpose and fund it was sensitive enough to visually indicate 1-2dB differences only 6db above the noise floor of 115dB. I live 70 miles from most of my TV transmitters. Could not believe it could show a signal directly connected to an antenna without using the preamp.
It might be helpful to expand the Db scale to show the actual noise floor. It is easy to do.
If you are using SDRSharp go into the folder where the program is located. Using notepad edit SDRSharp.exe.Config
Change the line <add key="fftOffset" value="-40.0" /> to <add key="fftOffset" value="-97.0" />
and thats it. I found when using it for antenna peaking adjust the FFT to display 40dB for best viewing and no filter.
Joe
 

Balock

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There are many different software packages to play with. So far, I have been most pleased with SDR# for wideband FM, and a tossup between it and HDSDR for most everything else. I prefer HDSDR for SW listening...it's noise cancellation works pretty good for me. I'm still figuring out SDR Console...I like its wideband FM support but it doesn't hold a stereo signal as well as SDR# for some reason.

If you install a virtual audio cable application, you can feed the outputs of the above to other apps as well (MultiPSK, Ham Radio Deluxe, etc.)--they can use that just as if you plugged in a scanner to the sound card.

The front end of these tuners can easily overload when you crank up the gain...resulting in unexpected images from strong stations popping up where you don't want them.
 

Stargazer

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The noise level seems to be at -50 db on everything which I thought was a very high noise floor. I noticed turning up the gain on the tuner resulted in more noise (worse than -50) so I kept it at 0.

I just adjusted the gain to 28 and the first thing I got in was some Christmas music. How fitting. Seems to show a lot of other signals though but I could tell the difference with a wider band with the radio station and could hear the stereo surround through the speakers.
 
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skysurfer

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great thread! I picked one up a Newsky recently for aircraft decoding and then I found this thread tonight! Never
occurred to me the TVRO uses!

Also a good thread because the person who does beacon research and that I used to communicate with that lives an hour from me appears to have posted earlier in this thread! I haven't heard from him in over 10 years!

As soon as I get aircraft decoding licked, I should know more about SDR that I can investigate
all those less than 1 MHz wide narrow data/potential voice carriers on C/Ku sats and see if they turn out to be
radio distribution carriers that have recoverable audio. Gut tells me they might not be recoverable because
in addition to tuning them, you'll have to likely run them through a codec to make them listenable.
 

Balock

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I've used PlanePlotter so far for ACARS decoding and it has worked very well. I haven't tried any ADS-B yet
 

Stargazer

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Is the AGC On? I turn off both AGC options and manually adjust the gain for the band and conditions.

There are two options (1) Use AGC (2) Use Hang

Both options are check marked, greyed out and will not let me uncheck them. So the software is stuck with it on.

I did manage to tune in a bit with it but I see just as high if not higher spikes when nothing is being tuned in and would like to deselect AGC and Hang to see what that does.

I downloaded HDSDR but did not have any luck getting it to work. It opens the program but acts like its not receiving anything at all. I had to use zadig to get SDR to work so that it would know to use that input for the tuner.

I am still using el cheapo small antenna that came with it but plan on using a better antenna soon with the F connector dongle that I have.
 

Jim S.

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You're looking in the wrong place. Next to the dropdown menu where you have RTL-SDR/USB selected, there's a button that says Configure. The RF AGC options are under there.

For HDSDR, you need to find an interface library called extio_rtl.dll and put it in the folder with the other program files, then it'll recognize the dongle.
 

Titanium

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ADS-B data display is quite fun when used with ADSB# and Virtual Radar Server to overlay the data onto Google Maps. I feel like an air traffic controller watching the tracking patterns into many airports ranging from the California Sierras, San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, local Sacramento and Auburn airports, etc.

Here is a good intro article for those wondering what else they can do to get their money's worth out of the $16 investment:
http://www.rtl-sdr.com/adsb-aircraft-radar-with-rtl-sdr/

BTW.... my adapter cables for the up-convertor were sorted in San Francisco on the 19th, then have bounced around several regional sort centers.... Come on USPS, don't you know how much I want to play with the up-convertor??? :rant: Ready to start cutting and soldering! :D
 

Stargazer

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You're looking in the wrong place. Next to the dropdown menu where you have RTL-SDR/USB selected, there's a button that says Configure. The RF AGC options are under there.

For HDSDR, you need to find an interface library called extio_rtl.dll and put it in the folder with the other program files, then it'll recognize the dongle.

I just checked there and those selections are already unchecked. I tried what you said with HDSDR but could not get it to work. Then I tried getting SDRSharp to work again and cant get it working either. I tried unplugging the usb, plugging it back in to same and different usb ports using It says its not connected or driver is not working properly when I select RTL/SDR USB. I am having a heck of a time with this.
 
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