Brilliant Article on RTL-SDR Dongle Uses

sdr-Mario2Frequent contributor Mario Filippi N2HUN has written a brilliant piece for the latest edition of The Spectrum Monitor entitled RTL-SDR: Your Eye To The Wireless World, February 2016. Here is a brief synopsis:

RTL-SDR Dongle: Your Eye to the Wireless World

By Mario Filippi N2HUN

The RTL-SDR dongle has garnered much popularity over the last several years as an inexpensive and effective broadband receiver for the radio enthusiast. Now Mario shows us how the RTL-SDR can be pressed into serving in other ways: as a rudimentary piece of test equipment to explore those countless wireless devices that power our world and make life convenient. You can use it when restoring vintage radios, doing frequency analysis, antenna analysis and a host of troubleshooting activities you may never have thought of.

I highly recommend buying at least the current issue ($3.00 / PDF Download – what a steal!) or better yet, subscribing for a whole year. Every issue gives far more value than the cost ($2.00/issue at the current subscription rate).

Mario’s article explores things I never would have thought of, and he explains how he uses these inexpensive dongles in place of much more expensive equipment. It is truly amazing what these little wonders can do, and Mario just keeps pushing back the envelope of what is possible.

Thanks Mario for a truly inspiring article – yet again you have given us even more rabbit trails to explore!

Robert Gulley, AK3Q, is the author of this post and a regular contributor to the SWLing Post. Robert also blogs at All Things Radio.

Spread the radio love

6 thoughts on “Brilliant Article on RTL-SDR Dongle Uses

  1. Mario

    Thank you Robert for the kind words, I hope the article was interesting to the readers. The dongle, when viewed as something other than just a receiver, is a powerful little tool in the shack.

    1. Robert

      Mario –
      With all you have written about the dongle over the last several years I cannot imagine folks not finding it of interest, and not finding at least one new area of the hobby to explore.
      As I recall it was one of your early articles in The Spectrum Monitor or Monitoring Times which finally got my attention turned toward SDR, and that has led to a lot of exploration and further interest in several SDR devices. As always, you bring a lot of imagination to the hobby – it is a real gift! Cheers!

  2. Ashok

    I used RTL SDR for receiving Local HAMs, monitoring Utility services and receiving NOAA APT. It was a nice “Little Wonder” in a very small form factor. I loved it.
    It was my bad luck I left it connected to antenna during last rainy season. A Thunder strike on nearby Cellphone tower induced so much of electricity and it is gone.
    Now after getting GP5/SSB from “SWLING POST” I am able to monitor HAM bands 🙂 again.

  3. Thomas

    Hear, hear Robert! I just had a moment to read Mario’s article yesterday. What an amazing amount of info! Not sure why it’s taken me so long to finally get an RTL-SDR dongle!

    Thanks, Robert, for the post! And thanks, Mario, for the article!


  4. DL4NO

    If you only do measurements from 6m up such a DVB-T-Dongle has a terriffic value-cost ratio. Its digital functions make any SDR superior to nearly any analog radio: Relative dB measurements are very reliable. For decades S-meters have been known to be very unrelyable and non-linear.

  5. 13dka

    Thanks for the heads-up! I recently bought a dongle with the more recent R820T2 tuner for whopping 11€ and I’m discovering something new (and often beyond amazing) almost every day! For example, yesterday I learned that you can a.) do wideband spectrum plots (several 100 MHz, far beyond the baseband bandwidth your dongle will give you) using the free

    and that you can b.) connect some GPS receiver with NMEA output (older Garmins, some smartphones or a cheap GPS-“mouse”) to your laptop and drive around with it in order to triangulate signals and create heat maps with that software. Great to find out the frequency of some interfering signal, then use the same program to locate its origin, or check the footprint of your new DIY antenna and so on. How cool is that for 11€? I could go on for hours like this. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.