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RTL SDR reference

The Hobbyist’s Guide to the RTL-SDR: Really Cheap Software Defined Radio (affiliate link) by Mr. Carl Laufer is a compendium and compilation that makes it a good reference and an eye opener about what you can do with the inexpensive TV dongles based on the RTL2832U for modern short wave listening.

One aspect is software and Carl describes what is available and how to get it up and running. This provides an insight into the shifts in Amateur Radio from building simple receivers and transmitters out of discrete parts to experimentation with hardware modules driven by software development.

Another aspect is learning about how the radio spectrum above HF is actually used. There are many services from aircraft beacons to monitoring systems that can be heard and decoded. The dictionary of such services in Carl’s book describes these services, how they are used, and how to listen in with a RTL2832 and appropriate SDR applications.

At 272 pages, this book has a lot of meat and very little fluff. It is most definitely worth consideration as a convenient place to find answers about using the RTL2832 as well as about what is going on in the world in the spectrum between HF and WiFi.