[Balint] is starting a software-defined radio tutorial series

A few months ago, we saw a hack where a $20 USB TV tuner was transformed into a software-defined radio capable of reading GPS signals, listening to radio transmissions between aircraft and a control tower, and even a simple FM radio. This project is a perfect introduction to the RTL-SDR and Ham radio scene, but getting these projects up and running can be a bit overwhelming for anyone who hasn’t played around with this before. [Balint] is tackling this problem head on with a series of YouTube tutorials to get SDR noobs up and running with GNU Radio and the Realtec USB TV tuner.

To demonstrate the power of software-defined radio, [Balint] is using GNU Radio and the USB TV tuner that started it all, the Ezcap EZTV668 (conveniently back in stock at DealExtreme, but other options exist). Because software-defined radio is a touch confusing for a beginner to wrap their head around, [Balint] is beginning his tutorial series by explaining radio sources, sinks, and the GNU Radio interface.

Already, [Balint] has put up 5 tutorials and made the flowgraph files available in his gr-baz project. He’s doing a wonderful job opening up the software-defined radio scene to beginners, but he’s still looking for some feedback. If you have a suggestion on what [Balint] should cover next, leave a note in the YouTube comments and we’re sure [Balint] will get around to that eventually.


  1. Imbroglio says:

    Outstanding! I have some devices I can test on.

  2. regulatre says:

    Way to go Balint!

  3. My DX EZcaps were on backorder since the last thread here, but finally arrived last week. :D I did get some “wide FM” local stations working, but for interesting stuff I need a better (discone?) antenna.

    I am looking forward to watching these vids when I get some spare time. Thanks! :)

  4. Brian in New Orleans says:

    Are these devices easier to find in stock anywhere reliable now? I looked around last time it was discussed and nobody had any.

    Had a nightmare experience once with Dealextreme and won’t buy from them again.

  5. tomas316 says:

    i purchased one from ebay and i got it working last night. http://www.ebay.com/itm/160786708241
    These were the instructions i finally used to get it working on my win7 machine,


    and used this hint…
    “RTL tuner=e4000 vid=0x0BDA pid=0x2838 readlen=8192″
    I made a 2m slimjim antenna and that helped allot.


  6. Alex Rossie says:

    Mine works perfectly. Need a good project for it now though.

  7. Fritoeata says:

    Can you by chance use these to tune local Police here in US?

    • matt says:

      I dont see why not

    • zero2XIII says:

      In short: No.

      Reason? Easy they used trunked radio systems. Normal police scanners will not work. However, theoretically you can pick up the encoded signal from the radios and decode them. But this is some hardcore coding and hacking involved, simply not worth the effort since its essentially the same as gsm hacking (works basicly like a gsm device) so they same rainbow tables will need to be generated and used and what what. Rather keep yourself busy with more constructive stuff…

      Most emergency services moved over to trunked radio systems. So no fire station, police station, etc.

      • Aviator747 says:

        A lot of police are using APCO25. And some are using encryption as well, like my city is. I haven’t been able to find any projects about people trying to decrypt it. It would be interesting to find. I miss the old scanner days.

  8. Nato says:

    I’ve been burned before relying on dealextreme claiming something was in stock when it really wasn’t.

    I still buy from them occasionally because of their prices and selection; just keep it in mind.

    • MS3FGX says:

      The thing to keep in mind is that DX doesn’t stock the vast majority of items, they are simply a reseller. Once you buy something from them, they place the order with the supplier, receive it, package it, then ship it to you. This process can easily take a few months, though most orders ship within 1 month.

      An item being “In Stock” on DX simply means it exists and they know where to get it. The only exception to this is the items which they keep in their US and European warehouses, but those are a select few high-volume items.

      • Alex Rossie says:

        Do they repack? Drop shipping would be much quicker, resellers who don’t even bother take your money and buy it from a 3rd party and have them send it to you.

        Becoming popular on ebay. bastards.

      • Rams says:

        I guess that (ordering delays with DX) depends of the stuff ordered. I placed my last order on Friday night and it shipped on Monday. However, it was mostly consumer stuff that they probably have plenty in supply.

  9. Michal says:

    Hey all, I can confirm that this tuner works with the software. I’ve been using it specifically with the ExtIO_USRP software package and it works really well. Plus the tuner is in stock and only $10.

    Also, for those that don’t like waiting about a month for DX to deliver might find FocalPrice to be faster in shipping. It typically takes them half the time to ship and I always get FP shipments before DX when ordering at the same time.

    • Hackineer says:

      I received this tuner from Dealextreme today. Its chip is labeled IT9135FN, which isn’t compatible according to the compatibility list I found.

      Which tuner does yours have?

      • Michal says:

        Oy, looks like DX strikes again. The tuner I have looks exactly like the one they list in the pics, which I bought in June but the chipset is RTL2832U with the e4000 tuner.
        Sorry to hear that you got the other one. Sounds like they just use the same shell with different tuners.

      • Hackineer says:

        Michal, thanks for confirming we received different versions from DX. The tuner I got looks just like the one in DX’s pictures too.

        I tried my tuner today, but as expected, RTL-SDR reported it found no supported devices. No big deal, I’ll go ahead and order one advertised to have the RTL2832.

  10. qwerty says:

    Any success using rtl2832 and similar dongles under Linux with kernel 3.2+? Modules sources didn’t compile for me; tried newer ones which compiled fine, but failed to create the necessary devices.
    I’d like to make a headless networked remote receiver under Linux, but this forces me to use Windows.

  11. Roklobsta says:

    The great SDR# application is good for beginners and casual users alike for Windows and Linux.

    Have a look at http://rtlsdr.org/start and look in the Windows and Linux software links on getting started.

  12. Z says:

    I’ve been waiting for this for a while! VERY EXCITED!

  13. Aviator747 says:

    I will have to keep tabs on this.

  14. atouk says:

    There also some very active groups on irc.freenode.


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