Friday, April 17, 2015

New Toys: Getting Deeper into Software Defined Radio (SDR) (AirSpy and HackRF Blue)

This is mostly a tease / place holder.   Around Christmas time I decided to get deeper into Software Defined Radio (SDR).  So I ordered an Airspy and a Hack RF Blue.   So far, I've received the AirSpy and am enjoying it very much.  The Hack RF Blue should hopefully be here soon.

Previously I've been using the $15-20 RTL-SDR dongles.  These are very cheap and useful, but plagued with lots of noise, frequency inaccuracies and other problems.  Still they are a great way to get started and start learning.

The AirSpy is a world of difference from the RTL-SDR dongles.  One of the reasons that I bought it was  a number of people who seemed to have deep RF engineering backgrounds seemed to be pretty excited about it.  There are many good reviews available.

I ordered the HackRF Blue to experiment with GNU Radio and especially try some of the transmission capabilities for digital RF hacking.  Initially I'll probably be doing further experiments with simple 433 Mhz devices.

I expect based on receivers that the HackRF's receiver will not be as good as the AirSpy's by a good margin, for sensitivity, selectivity, etc.. However, the HackRF is capable of operating on a much wider frequency range (10 Mhz - 6 Ghz) than the R820T (24 Mhz - 1.8 Ghz) tuner chip inside the AirSpy.

More to come.

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