RTL2832 Dongles


RTL-SDR is an open-source tool to enable use of Realtek RTL2832-based DVB-T USB dongles in software defined radio applications. These inexpensive dongles, originally intended to enable reception on European digital TV broadcasts on PCs also include a raw digitizer mode which allows reception of up to ~3MHz of RF bandwidth. The DVB-T chip is usually coupled with a broad-band analog front-end (AFE) chip capable of tuning over ~60-1700MHz and so they are useful for a wide range of radio applications. Because they are designed to support a broadcast standard that isn't used in the US, these dongles are generally only available via international orders through sites such as ebay, but with a bit of patience they're not hard to get.

Although the manufacturers of both the digital and analog chips in these dongles haven't openly published sufficient details to allow writing drivers directly from documentation, a reverse-engineering effort has resulted in a very capable set of open-source tools which enable basic functionality. This is a short, incomplete list of resources I've found handy:

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Eric Brombaugh

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