SDR (Software Defined Radio) technology is sweeping the ham radio community. Until recently the radio hardware was expensive. However, a bright fellow discovered that the PC-USB based DVB-T TV dongles could be turned into a very sophisticated SDR type communications receiver and the ham radio community created software to do just that. Keep in mind that these TV dongles sell for about $20 from a variety of retailers. To learn more about SDR, just google SDR DVB-T and enjoy a week's worth of reading.
So maybe you aren't interested in a affordable SDR ham radio, but don't go away just yet. I think that eventually every FPV'er wishes for some affordable test equipment that can check their transmitter's frequency, measure the relative performance of their DiY antennas, or check other RF characteristics of their video system. And they don't have $10K for a good working used spectrum analyzer. But how about $20? No doubt you are interested now!
Here's a desktop video I made that introduces the DVB-T hardware and SDR# software as a spectrum analyzer for FPV hobby use:
Click For Demo Video
If the above link is not working then try this one from YouTube
But there's some limitations. The DVB-T TV dongles support a wide 64MHz to 1.7GHz RF range. So if you are using a 900Mhz to 1.3GHz Video link then you are in luck. Unfortunately the 2.4GHz and 5.8GHz video system can't be tested with the $20 SDR.
So if you are interested in "building" a $20 RF spectrum analyzer then begin your adventures by visiting this site and review the list of compatible DVB-T USB dongles:
For the record, this is the DVB-T hardware I bought and I am very happy with it:
You will need the SDR# (pronounced SDR Sharp) software, which is a FREE download. SDR# is available here:
FWIW, I'm using SDR# Stable, revision 1000.
Installation instructions: http://www.atouk.com...id=MS5ob3RsaW5r
Towards the end of the document is the installation instructions. READ THEM TWICE, then read them again. The installation requires downloading additional files:
I recommend using zadig to install the required USB driver:
You may become a bit confused about getting it installed and working. Go back and read the instructions again, since all the required installation information is documented in them. When you get it working you can start learning to use SDR#'s features and eventually begin using it for test/evaluate your FPV transmitters and antennas.
Here's a link to the quickstart instruction manual:
If you are using a SDR DVB-T for testing your RF gear them share your test setups here. No doubt your tips will help the FPV community.
Edited by Mr.RC-Cam, 27 April 2013 - 05:22 PM.
added youtube link