$20 SDR Radio From TV Tuner Card


Introduction: $20 SDR Radio From TV Tuner Card

A certain run of very inexpensive tv tuner cards can be used for software defined radios.  The tuner cards that are reported to work the best for SDR usage are the Realtek RT 2832/E4000 USB units.  The prices seem to run from around $20 to $60 for these chip sets.  Other SDR radios can cost hundreds more.  Free software programs for both Windows and Linux are readily available.  I used SDR# for my testing today.

After a friend ordered one of these units I had to have one.  The one I picked up was from an Amazon seller in Hong Kong.  Within a very short period of time and after a little tweaking of the software I was picking up all kinds of signals.  This is a fun little quirky project that I'm looking forward to playing with.  Anyone who likes tinkering should pick one or two of these up.  As a side note, some folks have even gotten these units to trunk track with two units working as a set; one is used as the control channel and the other as the scanner.  I haven't played with that yet but perhaps down the road.  Anyhow, it's a fun little project.  

Thanks for watching.



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    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    I was unsuccessful with ATI TV Wonder 600 (USB).

    hello please l have a tuner tv pci card connexant 878 can l use that in sdr radio....thanks if yes where l will find a driver ext 0/l??

    It is amazing for what it is. A 20 dollar SDR radio. Thanks for a decent instructable.

    FrankenPC - Nope. That's all there is.

    I'm going to try to be positive and nice about this. You purchased some dongle. You loaded some software. You installed some antenna. And you videotaped it all working.

    Isn't there a WHOLE bunch of parts in the middle missing from this instructable?

    Thanks bernie and temper for taking a look and commenting. The free software, (www.sdrsharp.com) offers NFM, WFM, AM, upper and lower SB, DSB, CW-L and CW-U. I haven't had time to really run tests on the tuner it but it seems to pick up stuff across the board in various formats. And for $20 you really can't go wrong.

    The antenna connector is pretty common. A simple adapter can let you hook up just about any kind of antenna. In the near future I want to build a proper antenna cable and secure the coax to my desk or something solid.

    Thanks again for looking and commenting.

    I have had a hankering for an SDR for quite some time but couldn't justify the cost. This makes it much more do-able. What modes can it decode? AM, FMN, FMW, SSB??? I would imagine it will do all the Digital modes, but I don't know for sure.

    Thank-you very much for sharing,
    Best Regards,

    This tuner has a big advantage over the others as it has a standard sized coaxial connector - could you specify the make/supplier please?