Need a starting point to learn RTL-SDR

Jay Salsburg jsalsburg at
Sun Aug 11 00:24:26 UTC 2013

As far as I understand, you do not need to write drivers or custom software,
but you may be doing something not understood in your message. Radio
Astronomy at 18-22 MHz is possible but not with any of those low cost
Dongles, for 2 general reasons. The biggest is that there are none available
for those frequencies; 18-22 MHz, the other is that they are noisy, with
only 8bit conversion. Use the SoftRock for Astronomy (Antennas are more


Radio Astronomy requires narrow band, high dynamic range, and high bit depth
all of which these dongle do not provide. The same restrictions apply for
the NAVSPASUR reception. After you build a very good antenna, NAVSPASUR
monitoring for meteors requires a CW, 3k bandwidth, with moderately good
frequency stability.


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From: osmocom-sdr-bounces at
[mailto:osmocom-sdr-bounces at] On Behalf Of Andrew Mount
Sent: Friday, August 09, 2013 9:25 AM
To: osmocom-sdr at
Subject: Fwd: Need a starting point to learn RTL-SDR


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Andrew Mount 
Date: Friday, August 9, 2013
Subject: Need a starting point to learn RTL-SDR
To: Andrew Back <andrew at>,
"osmocom-sdr-request at"
<osmocom-sdr-request at>



Thank you.   


I have two radio astronomy projects in mind. The first is a HF system that
will enable  me to pick or zoom into a narrow band of frequencies  , say
20-22 mHZ from a larger 18 - 26 mHZ  range ( currently scanned by a
spectrograph) to study N type storm events from Jupiter.   This will require
coding on my part as I have to interface with pre-existing software in order
to load data accepted by the  NASA RADIO JOVE archive.


The other application ( much easier) is to build an RTL based  220 mHZ range
meteor scatter detection system.  The meteor detection system is the current
project.  I have the computer, the RTL and am waiting on the antenna, ( due
to arrive  by 30 August).  This has already been worked out software wise,
it is a plug and chug type of project.   The advantage is that I can be
collecting meteor data by the end of the year and I will learn about RTL SDR
in the process. 


 In order to build my own custom SDR system, what is needed is knowledge of
a more how to -and what is- type. I need  to learn the technical language,
what programs to use, how an RTL works, integration with a build ( i have
access to Matlab? )  environment,  how to write drivers, etc.  I need  to
know how it works,  how to speak the language and what are the prerequisite
tools to get the job done. 


Any suggestions that would build proficiency in these areas would be
invaluable for me. 


Thanks for responding so quickly and best wishes,



On Friday, August 9, 2013, Andrew Back wrote:

On 9 August 2013 13:03, Andrew Mount <capeorion at> wrote:
> Are there any good books or Internet references that the listserv members
> could recommend as a starting point ?
> I am an amateur astronomer who is interested in learning how to use
> to do radio astronomy.

The top Google result looks promising:



Andrew Back



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