For some time now I have been in great need of small and cheap AIS receivers that could be used for guiding various tracking equipment during Copenhagen Suborbitals missions. AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and is used by maritime vessels for reporting various status, including position, heading and speed.
Just a short note to those who are following my GNU Radio blog in order to get gqrx updates. Gqrx now has its own website at http://gqrx.dk/ and therefore no more updates will be provided through this channel, unless deemed appropriate. If you want to stay up to date about gqrx go to the new website and subscribe to the RSS feed there. Thanks.
About a year ago I posted a step-by-step guide about how to receive NOAA APT weather satellite images using Gqrx SDR and the Funcube Dongle. Today, I tried to repeat the procedure using my ezcap eztv666 rtlsdr dongle with very good results.
Support for RTL2832U-based DVB-T devices is available via the rtl-sdr and gr-osmosdr libraries. This also provides support for Ettus Research USRP’s if the gr-uhd package has been installed prior to compiling gr-osmosdr. A complete build from scratch that would support all hardware devices would thus include the following steps:
Here is a new recording showing an updated Gqrx receiving the FO-29 amateur radio satellite using the Funcube Dongle. Previous recordings used an early version of Gqrx. It was a very quiet pass, most notable thing was probably the Russian and Spanish hams using FM. They probably don’t have a clue that their signal comes over a satellite transponder. Another video recording focusing on the FM transmissions during this FO-29 pass is available here.
I don’t think I ever posted a video showing the built-in AFSK1200 demodulator and decoder in Gqrx, so here it is. The video show local APRS traffic in Copenhagen on a Sunday afternoon. I also tried to receive from the ISS but nothing heard this time.
Here is a short demo showing how to receive broadcast FM with Gqrx. This demo uses the Funcube Dongle, which is really not suited for broadcast FM reception. Gqrx does not employ any tricks to make it sound like it works properly – it just does straightforward FM demodulation with wide FM parameters and you will hear the lack of sufficient bandwidth as distortion on some stations (not all though).
Last week I have tested the RTL2832U-based ezcap EzTV666 DVB-T dongle on the air using various VHF signal.
RTL2832U-based DVB-T dongles are now supported by Gqrx SDR, see this announcement!
You may have noticed the recent buzz on the internet about using cheap DVB-T dongles as software defined radio receivers. It all started on this mailing list when V4L/DVB kernel developer Antti Palosaari discovered that the ezcap EzTV 668 DVB-T/FM/DAB USB dongle, which is based on the RTL2832U chip, can be used to stream raw I/Q samples to the host computer. It is in fact the way the device supports FM and DAB reception; raw I/Q is sent to the host where the application does the demodulation.