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“Buy a $10 radio and a $100 antenna” - Old ham radio saying.

The stock antenna supplied with the dongles is pretty hopeless. It is strongly recommended that a purpose built or purchased antenna is used and placed outside and as up high as possible. This is to get as much signal as possible and also get the antenna away from bad sources of interference - a laptop, PC and plasma and LCD screens will definitely create a lot of unwanted noise across the whole spectrum.


  • RG6 Quadshield: This cable is cheap and fairly ubiquitous as it's very good cable for digital TV and satellite receivers (and by extension RTLSDR). The connectors (so called 'F' type) are very easy to attach and also cheap. RG6 is 75 ohms and try to keep all the connectors and adapters at 75 ohms too.
  • Here is a description of how to fit an F connector to RG6.
  • F to TV/Belling-Lee and MCX adapters are readily available too. They can be found very cheaply on eBay.
  • F connectors can be robustly fitted by using a kind that requires an expensive crimp tool. There are also much easier to use push-to-fit and screw-to-fit kind that only need the puniest of software developer's muscles to attach.





Discone antennas are good omni directional broadband antennas. As the RTLSDR is very broadband (60MHz to 1700MHz) the broader the better.

  • D.I.Y. Discone: A homebrew pupose built discone for RTLSDR.
  • This is an example of a manufactured discone.

The RTLSDR dongle is a digital TV receiver so the following antennas will work if you are stuck in the short term.

  • Rabbit ear style antenna that typically came with the smaller TV's in the 80's and 90's.
  • Amplified TV outlet in the wall that connects to the antenna on the roof.
antennas.txt · Last modified: 2012/10/07 22:16 by roklobsta