Sunday, 23 December 2012

Virtual Radar Working !

Well i finally got round to trying to sort out Virtual radar using the new dongle and finally ! it works.. well it probably did along along i just missed a setting to not make it work lol. I had a new version of RTL1090 that had a few more options than the last build and a quick click of those to enable them and off it went...

As you can see there are aircraft being tracked but due to not having a BaseStation.sql or OperatorFlags file at the time it only showed the bare minimum info. I later aquired an SBS Basestation.sql file and all is well.

I was blown away by the range of the new dongle from it is about 60 miles when using the Miniscan Scannign antenna from Rocket Radio ! I will have to run a comparision with the 4" antenna that came from to see if there is any difference.

Sunday, 16 December 2012

The Good, The Bad and the RTL SDR

Well im now about 5-6 days into playing with / learning about RTL SDR's and so far its a lot of fun and fascination.

For the last few days i've been trying to get RTL1090 which is a nifty program that can grab ADS-B info and feed it into other programs like Planeplotter and Virtual Radar up and running so i can watch planes flying and find out information about them..

For about 4 days of leaving it running for a few hours each time i was getting no output and was a little confused as to whay it wasnt owrking.. I'd opened the ports etc but had no joy what so ever.

I loosely looked on the SDR# Yahoo group and saw that some people posted saying they were using a program called ADSB.exe which after reading thru seemed to do the same thing as RTL1090 so i thought id give it go as after all i had no luck with RTL1090.

After downloading it and making sure i had the right dll's in the adsb.exe folder (things like rtlsdr.dll, msvcr100.dll etc) I ran ADSB.exe and it told me that it couldn't see my dongle ! UH oh (gulps) had i blown it up??? So a quick post to SDR# and i was told to run a little tool called rtl_test.exe and post the results..

Now you must remeber that to see airplances on your pc you need to be able to decode ADS-B which is the information sent from planes as they travel the skies. things like Heading, Speed, Flight Level etc as well as aircraft identifying data... this is all recieved on 1090 Mhz down here on earth.

So a run of rtl_test -t in the adsb.exe folder in a command prompt gave the following results...

As you can see from the data output my dongle's tuner range is 
E4K range: 52 - 2171 Mhz. 
Thats fantastic i thought as i had heard that some dongles have a very restricted range.. So a big smile i read on....
E4K L-band gap: 1087 to 1231 Mhz

Oh no... the gap in the tuner is right where i need to be listening for 1090 Mhz ! drat... no ADS-B decoding from me..

So thats why for 4-5 days ive been going mad thinking id either blown the dongle or that my aerial wasnt working correctly... i did think about ordering another "cheapy" off of ebay but as lot of them dont list the tuner they have  i didn't want to risk so i've ordered direct from (the people that do 1090 Mhz software and kits). 

The new dongle is an ezCAP RTL2832  with a RT802 tuner that 100% works on 1090 Mhz.. Hurry up Mr Postman ;)

Saturday, 8 December 2012

RTL SDR Success Day 1

Well after getting everything connected I had a little bit of success.

I came across some blips on the spectrum, looked the frequency up on google and found that it was a pager signal (POSCAG). Another quick search on google for some decoding software and I hit on PDW. The picture shows PDW (top) and HDSDR on the bottom).

I'm debating wether or not to put a Diamond X30 2m/70cms co linear up in the loft and use this as my sdr antenna as it basically covers upto about 500mhz. The NewSky TV28T covers from 20mhz to 1800 Ghz) any comments welcome.

Friday, 7 December 2012

NewSky TV28T dongle and antenna

Here is a picture of the Pc USB Tv Dvb dongle that has the RTL2832U chipset and also has the E4000 tuner chip needed to run as a SDR dongle. Also the Miniscan scanner antenna aerial


Well after reading up that certain PC usb TV DVB dongles were found to be able to be used as SDR's I took the plunge (as we are radio experimenter's aren't we :) and bought the Netsky TV28T Pc Tv Dvb USB dongle from eBay for £10 !!! Much cheaper than the Funcube dongle at £140.

Now, remembering I'm a total newby to amateur radio thanks to google I was able to get the dongle up and running under HSDR and SDR# within about an hour. I connected it to my SRC HF 360 antenna (80m-6m) but didn't see too many blips on the spectrum analyser so have ordered a scanning antenna that works on the freqs the dongle works at ( about 60mhz - 1.8ghz )