RTL-SDR is currently very popular topic on the Net. There are also many guides on how to use it on Windows and Linux too. But starting to use it myself I haven't found any guide that explains whole process from installing necessary drivers and software to building first simple receiver using GNU Radio which is the most capable software which could be used with RTL28xxU chips and that's what this Instructable is about. It should be, for me I hope too, first step to learn how the thing works from scratch and to make projects capable of capturing signals that wasn't decoded using RTL-SDR yet i.e. 433 MHz band.
Step 1: What's RTL-SDR?
If you are interested only in how to make GRC project go to step 5.
RTL-SDR is the cheapest method to get into the world of SDR (Software Defined Radio) - method of receiving (RTL-SDR have no capability to transmit) and processing radio transmission using your PC. Using it you can receive everything that is transmitted between about 20~2000 MHz depending on second chip on the device.
In brief it can hear i.e.:
- ordinary FM radio stations
- police radio transmissions
- plane and ship tracking informations
- small radio devices like car keys
- probably GPS satellites (as of now there is no confirmed method to do this)
- International Space Station and other space equipment that transmits below 2 GHz
- every other device that you know transmits on these frequencies