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For the Undergraduate Radio Lab we use a software-defined radio (SDR) dongle hosted on a RPI (see Setting Up Your Raspberry Pi). This page describes the details of the the Nooelec NESDR Smart, which shares a chipset with many other cheap dongles you could use for SDR. In particular, the features we describe below are common to dongles that employ the R820T tuner chip and the RTL2832U digitizer chip.

Helpful Links[edit]

  • Data sheets for the RTL2832U and the R820T2
  • A characterization of spectral response by Pieter-Tjerk de Boer
  • the PyRtlSdr Python library for interfacing to the dongle
  • a User Guide on RTL-SDR for using these dongles
  • an example from RTL-SDR of using a dongle for 21 cm observing
  • a comparison of various dongles
  • an example of how certain dongles can be reworked to support direct sampling
  • a C Library for the RTL2832U driver we use.
  • a tweaked library that supports changing FIR coefficients on the R820T2, along with a summary