Dongle SDRs

With my recent attempt at NOAA weather satellite reception, I’m keen to get a receiver that has support for WFM. Having such would in theory allow me fair better reception – as APT uses 32kHz bandwidth and then there’s also doppler shift to accomodate for (which WxToImg does itself, if you’ve got enough bandwidth). Currently, my Yaesu radios only have support for NFM on 137Mhz and thereby only around 9kHz bandwidth.

A solution for this would be an SDR receiver that covers VHF. There’s been a lot of coverage in magazines lately (namely Silcon Chip and Practical Wireless) on the use of DVB-T/DAB+ dongles for SDR. With these being so cheap (delivered from eBay for ~$30), this definitely looks like a good starting place. If you’d like to know more on this, than simply look up RTL-SDR or start at http://www.rtl-sdr.com/.

However, for it’s price the FUNcube Dongle really appeals compared to some other dedicated SDR offerings. With LF to UHF coverage it’d be great for both work in the 630m band as well as most other amateur bands, and then also for doing weather satellites. (Unfortunately the RTL-SDR idea will only provide for VHF and UHF, however it also about  20% the price).

Here’s a nice video on the FUNcube dongle:

But that said, as a starting point the RTL-SDR (especially at it’s price) will be where I’ll start with attempting to improve my weather satellite reception. And hopefully in the future, I’ll grab a FUNcube dongle. I found these two videos interesting for a comparison of the two options:

Part 1:

Part 2:

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