RTL SDR and DAB – July 27 2019

The RTL SDR I ordered from Amazon arrived after 9 days.
Why buying an RTL when you already own an SDRPlay 1A (metal cased) and an Airspy R2?

RSP 1A with metal casing Airspy R2

When doing some DAB+dxing it’s vital to find out the TII (Transmitter Identification Information) code to pinpoint the location of the dx reception.  These codes can be found on the dab listing of www.fmlist.com.
The codes can also be seen in software decoders lik QT-DAB and QIRX.

Unfortunately Belgian codes are not freely available. So one has to check them near to a local transmitter. Of course there’s no need for a sophisticated SDR or a high gain antenna.
On the contrary! Just a cheap RTL and no antenna will do the trick and eliminate receiving other transmitter than the one you are next to.
It worked nicely with a laptop and SDRPlay1A, but it’s a bit of a hassle always having to unplug the device from your DX set-up.
So a cheap RTL is the way to proceed.

Connecting the RTL SDR to QIRX isn’t easy. You do need ZADIG to install a working driver and perhaps change the QIRX device index in the settings.
I also wanted to run QT-DAB and SDRConsole with the RTL SDR as I did with SDRPlay1A.

Alas, RTL SDR and Zadig don’t like that idea. I did get QIRX running or SDRC and QT-DAB but not all of them. A bit of a bummer. As I need the RTL SDR to check out TII codes, I opted for having QIRX running on the laptop. It works well.

QIRX decoding DAB+

How does RTL SDR compare to the other devices? As to be expected Airspy and SDRPlay1A hooked up to a decent DAB+ antenna hugely outperform the RTL SDR.

Moreover my living room DABMANi250 connected to the same telescopic antenna grabs more stations than the SDR-RTL. But then again all these devices cost 5 tot 10 times more.


Conclusion: if you want to check out some DAB while on the move and don’t want to fiddle with antennas or take along your other devices, RTL SDR will do nicely.