Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Dennis Dura, who notes that the latest version of the RTL-SDR dongle is now in production. Here are details from the RTL-SDR blog:
RTL-SDR BLOG V4 DONGLE INITIAL RELEASE!
We’re happy to announce the first release of our new RTL-SDR Blog V4 dongle which is based on the R828D tuner chip. The pricing is US$39.95 for the V4 dongle with antenna set, and US$29.95 for the dongle only, including free shipping to most countries.
Currently we are only shipping this model from our warehouse in China and the initial production batch is small and so we are limited in stock. However, now that we have confirmed that production of the first small batch of V4 has gone very well, we will be ramping up production, and stocking Amazon USA within 1-2 months as well.
The units are available for purchase on our store page.
The V4 comes with several improvements and changes that are listed below.
- Improved HF Reception. Now uses a built in upconverter instead of using a direct sampling circuit. This means no more Nyquist folding of signals around 14.4 MHz, improved sensitivity, and adjustable gain on HF.
- Improved filtering. The V4 makes use of the R828D tuner chip, which has three inputs. We triplex the SMA input into three bands, HF, VHF and UHF. This provides some isolation between the three bands, meaning out of band interference from strong broadcast stations is less likely to cause desensitization or imaging.
- Improved Filtering x2. In addition to the triplexing, we are also making use of the open drain pin on the R828D, which allows us to add simple notch filters for common interference bands such as broadcast AM, broadcast FM and the DAB bands. These only attenuate by a few dB, but may still help.
- Improved phase noise on strong signals. Due to an improved power supply design, phase noise from power supply noise has been significantly reduced.
- Less heat. Due to the improved power supply design the V4 uses slightly less current and generates slightly less heat compared to the V3.
- Cheaper price! The price of the R860 chip which is used in the V3 and most other RTL-SDR brands increased significantly at the beginning of 2023 which is part of the reason as to why RTL-SDR dongles have been increasing in price recently. For the V4 we are making use of an existing stockpile of R828D chips which are now priced cheaper than new productions of the R860. In a time when high inflation keeps pushing prices up this is incredibly welcome.
There are some other minor changes including a new bias tee LED and a small cutout hole in the enclosure so it’s easy to tell when the bias tee is on.
Of course the same innovations that we brought in with the V3 are still implemented such as the sleek conductive black metal enclosure which works as a shield and doubles as a heatsink, a thermal pad to sink heat away from the PCB, 1PPM TCXO, SMA connector, USB noise choking and improved ESD protection.
The V4 however does come with some disadvantages compared to the V3 that need to be noted [Click here to continue reading…]