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Sunday 23 July 2017

RTL-SDR reinstall on the shack computer

So it turned out I had to reinstall RTL-SDR related stuff on the shack computer, this was not as easy as I thought, the new stick shows up slightly differently in Zadig than on my laptop, I suspect this is because the version of Zadig on my laptop is actually older than the one on the shack computer, but it did in the end still work.

I started by trying a NooElec suggested SDR program, CubicSDR, this only detected my sound cards and thus did not work, even when I did some test transmissions on PMR446 channel 1, so I switched to HDSDR, however the waterfall displays in that program left me with a headache, so I looked for SDR#, which is now an Airspy product, and this worked after I downloaded and reinstalled RTL-SDR drivers, and Airspy have made some improvements to SDR#, including identifying bands and using the correct mode and frequency for them, or at least I think so, without an antenna connected at all I scanned through everything, it suggested military aviation is NFM, which makes no sense to me as civil aviation is AM, it also identified CB at 26.965-27.405MHz, again in NFM however AM and SSB are also legal to use in that band (the UK portion was not labelled, 10-metres was, and default set to SSB).

This worked well up to a point as during the second tune cycle (with a rubber duck antenna on the stick) the computer presented me with a BSOD, only the second time that machine has thrown one and only the second one on Windows 10 that I have seen, I let the computer reboot and I have not tried again yet.

The antenna I attached was not one of the supplied antennas but instead the Nagoya NA-771 antenna, using an SMA to BNC adaptor which I have to hand, the reception wasn't brilliant without turning the RX gain up, the tests I did for receive were performed in the FM broadcast band and PMR446 (though this was identified as 70cm as 446MHz is part of that allocation in the US and Canada), and it seems to work well.

I will get a video on YouTube in the next few days, and afterwards try and find an environment where there would be lots of radio activity (not counting pagers as they seem to be everywhere) for a proper field test of this stick

73 de 2E0EIJ

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