A couple months ago I decided to get into the ham hobby so I purchased a SDR from sparkfun via digikey. I used it for about a month till it shorted out and killed itself somehow. Just a little nano receiver that must have been too overloaded from me sweeping the bands for signals I guess.

So I bought the RTL-SDR Blog v3 and it seems far more durable and doesn’t get quite as hot as the nano receiver. I also got various adaptors and plan to get more for connecting to another type of connector, the SO-239. This adapter uses SMA. So adaptors to go between those two and the gender varieties.

Also have a rabbit ears antenna for “tuning” to whatever band I’m listening to by adjusting the lengts for the dipoles to hopefully improve the signal quality thru some antenna hermonics I don’t understand.

And some RG174 extensions, 10ft and 15ft. The shorter one came with the rabbit ears. I probably need to get some RG-8X or KMR240 and at least LMR240 for an outdoor antenna of some sort someday.

For software, I’m using SDR++ on my linux PC. It’ll also work on windows but I hear the driver part is a little hacky. On linux I just install the rtl-sdr package from my repos. I did use CubicSDR but it turned out to be a bit buggy and lacked some features I won’t go into yet.

I’d like to also learn how to decode digital signals for fun. Maybe even decode satalite signals with weather or geographic data I hear so much about. Weather would be neat though

I also have software for tracking plane movements. Nothing malicious, just for fun. Kinda neat to see where nearby plane are going with just a local radio and some software.

It doesn’t really help that sometimes I feel like I’m in a RF deadzone besides FM and NOAA broadcasts. .-. I guess that’s part of the adventure of finding the weak signals in the noise and some people talk to others thousands of miles away over radio. no internet or phone required. Just a radio, a good antenna, and the license to talk on the ham bands or in my case, the hardware to listen.

It would be cool to get a ham license but I have a ways to go for that. Also would need a radio capable of transmitting but those aren’t hard to find and some are reasonably cheap.