Touchstone — Rf Spectrum Analyzer Software With Dvb-t Dongle (1 Viewer)

Titanium

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Has anyone tried the Touchstone software on a generic DVB-T dongle?
http://rfexplorer.com/touchstone/
The monitored frequencies mode looks very interesting for tuning a dish. This would put a nice basic spectrum analyzer within reach of any satellite hobbyist!

I see that it is sold bundled with a DVB-T on Ebay and have no reason to think that it wouldn't work. I am willing to become the guinea pig if it hasn't been tried.
www.ebay.com/itm/USB-RF-Spectrum-Analyzer-1-8-GHz-RF-Viewer-by-Nuts-About-Nets-/261442895455
 

Vondertrenk

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Aug 30, 2007
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Has anyone tried the Touchstone software on a generic DVB-T dongle?
http://rfexplorer.com/touchstone/
The monitored frequencies mode looks very interesting for tuning a dish. This would put a nice basic spectrum analyzer within reach of any satellite hobbyist!

I see that it is sold bundled with a DVB-T on Ebay and have no reason to think that it wouldn't work. I am willing to become the guinea pig if it hasn't been tried.
www.ebay.com/itm/USB-RF-Spectrum-Analyzer-1-8-GHz-RF-Viewer-by-Nuts-About-Nets-/261442895455

Hi Brian.
It looks extremely interesting for radio in general, a spectrum analyzer from 24 Mhz to alm ost 1.8 Ghz in $75? 20 years ago they were unreachable for almost every one, they were just lab machines.
Where I am lost is the use of a dongle DVB-T, which I underestand is used in Europe nor in Northamerica. Are you planning to use it to vizualize DVB-S Satellite? Using the 900 Mhz IF-out of a receiver? or directly from an LNB?
 

KE4EST

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Not tried it, but would love to see how good it works.
 

Titanium

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I have been using the DVB-T dongles connected to tune DVBS the STBs LNBF loop through. I use the STB to power the LNB and select polarity. The SDR apps that I usually use provide a good narrow view of a small slice of the spectrum, but lack the SA views.

I am going to order the Touchstone software and give it a try. Will report the results.
 

Vondertrenk

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Aug 30, 2007
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I have been using the DVB-T dongles connected to tune DVBS the STBs LNBF loop through. I use the STB to power the LNB and select polarity. The SDR apps that I usually use provide a good narrow view of a small slice of the spectrum, but lack the SA views.

I am going to order the Touchstone software and give it a try. Will report the results.

As the site says:
"For evaluation purposes feel free to download the Touchstone-Pro software application. Without the wireless USB dongle the software runs in a fully functional ‘Demo mode’ using simulated data."
So it will be good to download it to get to know it before buying it. I just wonder I were able to strenght my available time for all these hobbies!!!!
 

Titanium

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Yes, anyone can have a very nice basic PC based spectrum analyzer for a $17 DVBT USB dongle and the free trial software! Finally got a few minutes to download the trial version and installed. It works great with my $17 NooElec USB DVBT RTLSDR dongle! http://rfexplorer.com/touchstone/

Connected the RTLSDR USB dongle to the IF loop out port of the mini HD SE, selected a satellite and polarity with the STB then launched the Touchstone software. Under the Controls Tab, selected Default RTLSDR, set the default start frequency to 950 and the end to 1250 (the maximum bandwidth to scan is 300MHz). That is the satellite downlink frequency range of 11700 to 12000MHz using my standard LNBF type with LO 10750 (11700MHz downlink frequency - 10750MHz LO Frequency = 950MHz Intermediate Frequency). Clicked start and in 10 seconds the unit initialized and scanned the 300MHz! The unit refreshes 300MHZ every 5 seconds! Narrow your search range to 20MHz and it refreshes in less than 2 seconds! This should make a great simple tool for aligning a satellite dish or even a terrestrial ATSC antenna!

I plan on downloading the Pro version as it provides more analysis functions, but the Touchstone RF Spectrum Analyzer trial software is an amazing, FREE and simple to use software tool for even a newbie to identify satellite reception, hunt for new satellite signals, compare signal strength between transponders, noise threshold level, view the carrier to noise or investigate sources of interference! While it would be nice to add a LO frequency menu setting (like in the SDR# software) to display the downlink freqency rather than the LNB IF frequency, the software is so much easier to launch and use for even the most basic user or beginner!
 

KE4EST

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Nice to hear this works great! Now I got to get a chance to try this.
 

Vondertrenk

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I guess you can connect it to the receiver and start rotating the dish, then go fishing!!!!
You may find things you have never seen before. In real time. FOr example when satellites that are not usually broadcasting to northamerica suddenly start sending something.....
 

qwert1515

SatelliteGuys TheList
Sep 26, 2005
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Los Angeles CA
Resolution comparison between the Touchstone and the BLSA for a span of 200 MHz between 950 MHz to 1150 MHz:

comparison.jpg
 

DRCars

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Aug 16, 2010
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Southern USA
.... snip ....
Connected the RTLSDR USB dongle to the IF loop out port of the mini HD SE, selected a satellite and polarity with the STB then launched the Touchstone software.
Did you need to use/buy an adapter to adapt to an F connection for antenna/loop out?

DRCars
 

Titanium

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AI6US
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Yes, I connected with a 1m adapter cable. I bought many flavors of connection adapters when I first purchased the DVBT USB. The adapters are inexpensive on Ebay and arrived via China post in a week or so.

Wanted to keep one of the little magnetic antennas for terrestrial signal sniffing, so didn't cannibalize the cord to make an adapter. If you don't use the included antenna, snip off the antenna and attach alligator clips for attaching to other pigtails or boards. I made one this way and it is handy for clipping on to anything I want to check. :D
 
Last edited:

mikelib

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Resolution comparison between the Touchstone and the BLSA for a span of 200 MHz between 950 MHz to 1150 MHz:

View attachment 98007
I have been using the Touchstone Pro for the last week. I like the BLSA picture better then the Touchstone. What do you contribute the evenly space spiked artifact that is in the Touchstone baseline? I can't figure it out.
Mike Lib

BTW: Tried Goggling BLSA and did not come up with a spectrum analyzer, What does BLSA stand for?
 

pendragon

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Oct 13, 2008
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I have been using the Touchstone Pro for the last week. I like the BLSA picture better then the Touchstone. What do you contribute the evenly space spiked artifact that is in the Touchstone baseline? I can't figure it out.

Looks like they have algorithmic issues with the software signal processing. I can't read the scales accurately, but the spacing of the nulls looks suspiciously like the maximum sampled bandwidth of these sticks. Perhaps they didn't take the anti-aliasing filter into account, or worse. Regardless, this is obviously a work in progress.
 

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