21 January 2013

New RTLSDR dongle has arrived

Simply amazing. The sensitivity difference between my first RTLSDR dongle based on E4000 and today's with R820T is about 3 times, in favour of the latter. Even with the stock DVB-T antenna I could pick up more signals than the E4000 and the external GP. Then I "sacrificed" the stock antenna to use the cable with MCX connector for building an adapter to the TV plug: with the GP antenna outside I could receive airplanes as far as 300km/160nm. The ADS-B software was showing an average of >50 signals per second, against less than 10 for E4000.

So, as many others have reported, the R820T stick is more sensitive above GHz than the E4000 counterpart. I also noticed a much stronger frequency drift in the first minutes of operation, which also result in a warmer RTLSDR dongle.

Two experiments will follow:
- retry 23 cm SWL'ing during the monthly activity event
- test the ADS-B reception in a location with a 270 degrees wide horizon