QRV Tech – July 2023 – Getting Started With SDRs

Software Defined Radios have become popular with Hams for a number of reasons. 1) They’re cheap (as low as $25), 2) They’re very flexible (they can receive almost any modulation type), and 3) They’re fun to play with. What can you do with an SDR? Almost anything you can think of (with a few limitations). All it takes is some knowledge of computers (it is “software” after all) and some simple radio bits (you still need an antenna).

This month we are talking about Software Defined Radios (SDRs).  We’ll talk about the various types of SDRs, how they work, and their good points and bad points.  We’ll talk about the hardware and software available, and how you can get started using these useful tools.  We’re assuming a certain basic knowledge with computers (it is “software” after all) and we don’t have time during the session to do things like install software, but if you’re interested and need further help, we should be able to make that happen.  Join us and see what all the excitement is about.

Tuesday July 18 7pm

Topic: QRV Tech

Time: July 18, 2023 07:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 896 1853 2653

Passcode: 489712

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Session Resources:

Session Slides

Here are the slides from the session: https://files.k5rwk.net/s/8oEaXctpnrwG4ey

SDR Hardware

Get a cheap RTL-SDR (make sure it says “V3”): https://www.amazon.com/Portable-Receiver-Radio-0-1MHz-1-7GHz/dp/B09Z3G35QX/

Another Cheap alternative is the NooElec SmartSDR: https://www.amazon.com/Nooelec-RTL-SDR-SDR-100kHz-1-75GHz-Enclosure/dp/B01HA642SW

SDRplay is available from HRO and other dealers

SDR Software

SDRsharp is a good general purpose SDR application and is a good place to start.

Install SDRsharp (SDR#) software:

Other Software Alternatives: https://www.rtl-sdr.com/big-list-rtl-sdr-supported-software/

OpenWebRX plus

The OpenWebRX plus software that I showed is available here: https://github.com/luarvique/ppa I followed the Package Instructions at the bottom. There is a write-up on the RTL-SDR site here: https://www.rtl-sdr.com/an-openwebrx-fork-with-additional-built-in-decoders/

Past RWK Meetings and Content related to SDR

We had Jack Spitznagel KD4IZ in May 2022: https://www.k5rwk.org/2022/05/07/general-meeting-may-2022-sdr-applications-ways-to-use-the-rf-swiss-army-knife/

Don Weeks N5SKT talked about the Hermes-Lite in his $1000 Challenge