Oct. 2013, My first RTL-SDR experiments

After few years doing too much business and leaving hamradio aside, i came back and discovered so many changes happened. No more struggling with pcb, acid, soldering all nighs. You can kget a nice FPGA, design fancy circuits, test and “program” the monster-fpga-chip. Evan radio is no more radio as it was.. No more hard to find coil materials, tricky filter designs, impedance matching and fighting for the access to professional equipment e.g. network analyzer. You just sample the input signal, and after that everything is software. FFT, Filter, mix, decode... easy, isn't it? Well, I found out i need a short refresh course on math and signal's theory... I still can do some programming, I always had pat projects to stay in touch.

I want to start (or better said restart) work on a a Interferometer designed by Marko, s57uuu. I managed to get the Cypress FX2 USB 2 Trust Spacecam interface running and started to collect other hardware.

For a quick step into the world of software radio, i ordered a DVB-T dongle for RTL-SDR. I was fighting for 3 days with nasty penguins (Ubuntu 12) to install the gnnuradio 3.7, osmocomsdr and some samples. Most of the example projects are written for pre-3.7 gnuradio, so I had to jump into the migration as described here. Even for an senior programmer and 20years linux user this is not an easy stuff.

But let's look to the bright side. The hamradio seems to be much easier today. With 20€ dongle, with some search I found nice and simple aviation ACARS decoder, hooked my antenna to the dongle and voila, I already got some data from the planes flying around and lucky me, I caught the signals from an airbuss A380

Using device 0: ezcap USB 2.0 DVB-T/DAB/FM dongle

Found Rafael Micro R820T tuner

Oversampling input by: 21x.

Oversampling output by: 1x.

Buffer size: 8.13ms

Tuned to 131977000 Hz.

Sampling at 1008000 Hz.

Output at 48000 Hz.

Exact sample rate is: 1008000.009613 Hz


ACARS mode: E, message label: SA

Aircraft reg: .A6-EBD, flight id: EK0135

Block id: 54, msg. no: S13A

Message content:-


----------------------------------------------------------[12/10/2013 11:25]


ACARS mode: E, message label: Q0

Aircraft reg: .EI-UNH, flight id: UN0000

Block id: 53, msg. no: S79A

Message content:-

----------------------------------------------------------[12/10/2013 11:25]


ACARS mode: E, message label: H1

Aircraft reg: .A6-EBD, flight id: EK0135

Block id: 55, msg. no: C11A

Message content:-

#CFBRTE 1 12OCT13 1125 EKA6-EBD UAE135 OMDB/LIPZ 3116-BCG-00W-14 L 0554 12OCT13


MSG 2338862 I 1123 12OCT13 ER I 1 PL





And checked where the plane is going to with the flightradar. I only used shortwave dipole antena for 80-10m, and from my realy clossed location in the deep valey this is a nice result.