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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:53 pm 
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Posts: 2202
Location: Bellevue, WA
How to use DSD+ and SDR# with RTL-SDR-V3 Dongle

Code:
1. Purchase RTL-SDR V3

https://www.amazon.com/RTL-SDR-Blog-RTL2832U-Software-Telescopic/dp/B011HVUEME

2. Purchase VAC (Virtual Audio Cable)

URL:  http://software.muzychenko.net/eng/vac.htm

   1.  Install VAC by running SETUP.exe from the VAC folder. Select installation defaults

[UPON RECEIPT OF ABOVE]

3. Download SDR# installer software from Airspy.com

http://airspy.com/download/

4. Install SDR#
   
   1.  Download "sdrsharp-x86.zip" file and extract folder to DESKTOP
   2.  In the folder you created in Step 1, run the "install-rtlsdr.bat" file
        3.  Insert the RTL-SDR-V3 into your USB port (Windows may attempt to install a driver, this is fine.  Just let Windows finish.)
   4.  Run the "zadig" utility from the folder (if this is missing then something failed in Step #2)
        5.  Upon launching zadig a small window will be shown.  Select from the menu options, "Options -> List all devices"
        6.  In the drop-down box, search for a device description of "RTL2832UHIDIR"
        7.  Click on the "Replace Driver" button and this will install the generic WINUSB driver for the RTLSDR (If you have already done this step with a previous RTLSDR then you probably don't need to do it again)
        8.  Click to exit the utility when the driver install finishes

5. Plug the included antenna with SMA connector into the RTL SDR   
6. Launch SDRSHARP application from the SDRSHARP folder

   1.  [REQ] This application requires .NET Framework 3.5 and 4.0 binaries.  If running Windows 8+ then Windows will detect the required packages and download them upon your confirmation
   2.  Once the packages are installed you can relaunch SDRSHARP

7. Initial configuration of SDR#

   1.  In the to left sidebar, labelled SOURCE, select RTL-SDR (USB)
   2.  In the AUDIO section, verify the OUTPUT is set to "[Windows Direct Sound] Speakers] (or something like that) and verify that FILTER AUDIO is checked -- this is a must
   3.  In the FFT DISPLAY section, note the resolution drop-down box
      1.  For a typical computer select 65536
      2.  For a FAST computer (Intel Core i5/i7 with GPU) then you can select higher values (I use 262144 with my Core i7)
        4.  Press the PLAY icon in the upper left
        5.  If all has gone well you should see a working waterfall display
        6.  By default, it should start in the FM Broadcast band.  Near the top of the SDR# window change the frequency to a valid FM broadcast station.  Use 99.9 FM for now. 
        7.  Use the ZOOM slider on the far right to "zoom in" on the 99.9 Mhz signal
        8.  Below the ZOOM slider, use the RANGE slider to position it somewhere in the middle or slightly below middle.  This slider sets your noise floor.  I generally leave this setting alone as I prefer my waterfall to be in the middle of the spectrum window.
        9.  Next set the CONTRAST slider.  This is typically near the bottom but is also subjective to how much color you want to see.  I generally set mine to a dark blue with a slightly white tint to it.  The blue should appear "bright" and thus your signals should look colorful and very punchy.
        10.  Center the vertical bar upon the 99.9 Mhz signal peak.  You should hear audio coming thru your speakers.  Be sure to check the "FM Stereo" box in the RADIO sidebar section.

8.  General configuration steps

        1.  With the audio playing thru your speakers, select the sprocket icon in the upper left of SDR#
        2.  A small window will show up.  Unlike previous RTLSDRs the PPM setting doesn't need to be set.  With the V3 SDR, you can leave it on a value of "0"
        3.  Verify the checkboxes are all unchecked.  Then move the RF Gain slider to the far right.  Depending on various factors, there's no "correct" value here.  Move the slider to the right and watch the spectrum window.  The peaks (and noise floor) will rise.  The upper limit will become obvious.
        4.  With FM Broadcast radio, each station will have a well-defined signal peak and two smaller square peaks -- from RDS data signal
        5.  Generally it's best to find the break point of the RF Gain and then dial it back one more notch.  Feel free to play around with the RTL AGC or Tuner AGC (or both) checked but I find these are way too much for an external antenna. For the included antenna they may work OK

9.  Final configuration (NFM mode)

        1.  Due to the nature of RF, it's impossible to have just one RF gain setting.  You'll need to adjust the settings for each band or frequency range.
        2.  The mode of the RF can also play havoc on gain settings.  Ex:  The AM aircraft or AM CB band can be rather touchy with gain settings. 
        3.  SDR# now includes some OK tools to combat noise  (see the two Noise Blanker sidebar settings)
        4.  Lastly, you'll need to repeat steps 7-7 thru 7-9 each time.  This isn't as annoying as it sounds.  It's fairly easy to remember which settings work for which bands
       
10. Go play!

-------------------
TO DECODE with DSD+
-------------------

1.  Tune to a known DMR/NXDN/P25/X2-TDMA frequency using NFM and change the steps to 6.25khz (DMR) or 2.5khz (NXDN) or 12.5khz (P25) 
2.  In the upper left corner, press the STOP icon
3.  In the AUDIO section set the OUTPUT source to [Windows DirectSound] Line 1 Virtual Audio Cable
4.  **UN-CHECK THE FILTER AUDIO CHECKBOX OR DECODING WILL NOT WORK** 
5.  Press the PLAY icon
6.  Note that audio is now routed to VAC and won't be heard through the PC speakers.
7.  Download DSD+ and the DSD+ DLL package

URL:  https://www.dsdplus.com/download-2/

8.  Unzip the file and create a folder on your desktop.  Copy the files into the new folder.
9.  The Windows recording devices need to be configured.  Go to CONTROL PANEL -> HARDWARE AND SOUND -> SOUND
   
   1.  Verify the PLAYBACK tab shows SPEAKERS with a green check mark
   2.  Select the RECORDING tab
      1.  Look for a LINE 1 device called "Virtual Audio Cable" and select this device
      2.  Press the "SET DEFAULT" button
         1.  Verify LINE 1 device has a green check mark
      3.  Select LINE 1 device and select the PROPERTIES button
         1.  Under the LEVELS tab, move the slider to 100%
         2.  Select OK
      4.  Select OK

10. In the DSD+ folder, launch DSDPLUS application

   1.  In the largest of the (3) windows, if the DMR/NXDN/P25 signal is decoding correctly there will be scrolling text visible


Last edited by nickcarr on Tue Jan 03, 2017 12:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 06, 2014 7:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:17 am
Posts: 2202
Location: Bellevue, WA
Give me a few days to verify if purchasing the latest R820T2 chipset is worth the extra cost. This How-To document definitely works with the R820T but the T2 has a better SNR than the previous version.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 07, 2014 1:52 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 23, 2004 2:04 pm
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Location: Just north of the 49th
Very nice tutorial Nick thanks


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 4:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:17 am
Posts: 2202
Location: Bellevue, WA
nickcarr wrote:
Give me a few days to verify if purchasing the latest R820T2 chipset is worth the extra cost.


If you can spare the extra few bucks then I highly recommend getting the R820T2 chipset. The improved SNR is much better. Also, the included telescopic antenna with the kit has a stronger magnet and works much better than the earlier stock whip.

The RF gain doesn't need to be cranked up nearly as high. Also, at higher frequencies, to monitor ADS-B traffic for example, the telescopic whip does a pretty darn good job on 1090 Mhz. I can receive a consistent 30-40 packets per sec with the R820T2 versus 5-6 per sec with the older R820T model.

If anyone would like instructions on how to setup a ADS-B monitoring station then let me know. It's not complicated but it does require a few software tweaks.

Here's an example of the software in action: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_rNIPfJhWM


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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 2:51 pm 
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Joined: Fri Feb 20, 2004 11:18 am
Posts: 1333
Location: In your nightmares
I broke down and bought one

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:39 pm 
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Posts: 2202
Location: Bellevue, WA
Sean wrote:
I broke down and bought one


woohoo!

FYI -- I purchased the metal enclosure that NooElec offers for their RTLs. It's hard to say as I'm not measuring scientifically but the metal enclosure seemed to help with overall stability of received signals. I use mine for mostly ADS-B reception.

http://www.nooelec.com/store/nesdr-enclosure-186.html


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 8:52 am 
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Joined: Thu Oct 04, 2007 1:58 pm
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Location: Not in Alaska
I found that using a 6' extension cable to get it away from the noise generated by the PC helps quite a bit too.


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PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2015 9:28 am 
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Location: Bellevue, WA
Atomic Taco wrote:
I found that using a 6' extension cable to get it away from the noise generated by the PC helps quite a bit too.


Definitely. I use a USB extension cable with repeater to get the R820T2 away from the computer and since it has to be near the coax entrance.


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:48 pm 
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Location: In your nightmares
Sean wrote:
I broke down and bought one



And now I'm about to launch it out a 6 story window.

I cannot find the device using zadiag....

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:59 pm 
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Sean wrote:
I cannot find the device using zadiag....
Are you running it as Administrator?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 8:59 pm 
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Did you go to the top level menu in zadiag and select the option?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:06 pm 
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Location: In your nightmares
yes to both

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:08 pm 
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Are you plugging into an USB 3.0 port by chance?


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:09 pm 
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Location: In your nightmares
Its missing


You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:10 pm 
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ok maybe it is


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Last edited by Sean on Mon Jun 29, 2015 9:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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