R820T DVB-T Stick

I finally got my RTL2832U / R820T DVB-T stick from China for about $9.50 shipped. While I was working up a comparison between the well known RTL2832U / E4000 and the “new kid on the block” the RTL2832U / R820T, I did a little testing of ADS-B reception with the RTL2832U / R820T. While not expecting much, I was very surprised to see that the RTL2832U / R820T handily outperformed the RTL2832U / E4000 by a wide margin.
Using the stock antenna, the RTL2832U / R820T pulled in easily double the ADS-B messages than the RTL2832U / E4000 with it’s stock antenna. The frequency range of the RTL2832U is roughly from 24MHz to 1860MHz. It also appears that it is a bit more sensitive than the RTL2832U / E4000. This was especially true on 1090MHz, by a lot. The RTL2832U also has no DC offset spike in the middle of the spectrum. The down side is that the RTL2832U / R820T seems more susceptible to RFI. I did not get to try an external ADS-B antenna on this unit because the DVB-T stick has an MCX antenna jack on it and I did not have an adapter handy. I suspect with an external antenna the RTL2832U / R820T could be very impressive.

If you have been using a RTL2832U with gr-air-modes for awhile and decide to give the RTL2832U / R820T a try, you may need to update your RTL drivers since support for this chipset has only been added recently. You can order the RTL2832U / R820T from China for ~$10.00 shipped if you are willing to wait for awhile (2 to 4 Weeks). If you are in the US and don’t want to wait as long, NooElec sells them for around $21 shipped.
Newsky TV28T v2 USB DVB-T & RTL-SDR Receiver, RTL2832U & R820T Tuner, MCX Input. Low-Cost Software Defined Radio Compatible with Many SDR Software Packages

Here is a video comparing the RTL2832U / E4000 vs. the RTL2832U / R820T receiving ADS-B signals

20 thoughts on “$10 ADS-B Receiver – RTL2832U / R820T”
  1. The vendor I bought from appears to be out. However, there are several Chinese vendors selling them on Ebay in the $9 to $12 range. Just takes awhile to get.

  2. Yes I paid 9.93$ and received the dongle two days back.It took exactly 30 days from China to VU land. It is working fine. The vendor name is Jamesr 0615. When I went back to order for a converter plug for the small MCX connector he was not there. By the way what sort of a connector we can use to connect our coax.

  3. Amazon has some MCX to F adapters you can order. You can then use a F adapter to what ever your cable end you have. Amazon also sells some MCX to BNC pigtails that were meant to go Garmin GPS that may work.

  4. Hi,

    I ordered exactly this model but after I inserted the 8cm CD delivered it appeared that it was a empty CD. So I don’t have any software or driver. Could you tell me what is supposed to be on?

    Thanks, V.

    1. Thats actually a good thing, because there is nothing that is useful as far as included software goes regarding using the RTL2832U as a SDR radio. Installing any of the included software may cause you more problems. You will need to take a look at some of the articles here regarding the Zadig drivers and how to set them up with the SDR software you intend to use.

  5. I just received one of the DVB-t sticks with the R820T tuners. I cannot get it installed on my WinXP system. Can someone post a step-by-step for a newbie? I have tried zadig, and it seems to install with error messages. When I then run HDSDR or SDRSharp, the receiver is not seen by them.

  6. Hi, I think I purchased the same item. However, since the vendor wasn’t explicitly supporting Linux, I couldn’t find the driver on the cd-rom, and online I couldn’t find this item supported for dvb (it is supported for rtl, though).

    Did you find anything on cd-rom (some vendors explicitly assure linux driver on cd-rom, indeed)?
    Would you mind to share (e.g., on mediafire or similar)?


    1. First of all, just to be clear. If you are going to use the RTL2832U stick for SDR, you do not want to use the drivers provided with the stick. For Windows, you will want to use the Zadig drivers and for Linux you want to use the RTL drivers. As far as drivers go from the vendor, it just depends what you get. If you get a retail package, there is usually a disk included with the driver and DVB-T software (these sticks won’t work in the US for DVB-T reception). If you get an OEM version, there usually will be no drivers or software. Some vendors will just send you a weblink where you can download them.

  7. @HRS
    Thanks: I know that rtl-sdr works, I am using it.
    However, as I said, I have problem using the item as a dvb-t receiver (I am in Europe, so it should work), in which case rtl-sdr cannot help me, right?
    On aliexpress and ebay, this item is expressedly granted linux support per the accompanying cd-rom. Since they are sold naively as mere dvb-t receivers, I figured out that those cd-rom drivers can make my unit work as a dvb-t receiver.
    Is there another way? I am mainly interested in dvb-t stuff, you know.

    1. The only suggestion I would have that what you need may be available from the product manufacturers site. You might want to see if there is anything you can use on the Linux TV site.

  8. i am new to sdr and not a ham but interested in scanners radio etc,
    i have a r820t sdr & dvb-t downloaded the waterfall sdr 1.5v software.
    when i press local and start i get this centre frequency 4.294.964.795 and when i try put my freq in say 145.725 it reverts back to above freq. is it plug a play or am i missing something? help.

  9. Hi,
    I am using the same stick and very satisfied with its ADS-B performance with RTL1090 + Planeplotter software. I didn’t make any adjustment, I start RTL1090 and the program starts decoding ADS-B signals coming from more than 300 km away with the stick’s original antenna.
    However, I am not that happy with AM AirBand reception. I tried SDR# first, made several adjustments not satisfied and switched to HDSDR. HDSDR is more user friendly and more noise control adjustments so I start listening the aircrafts however S/N ratio isn’t satisfied. Then I swithced back to SDR#. SDR# seems that works if I can make correct adjustments but hard to use. Bothe software has no any user manual, you should try for days and night and/or follow user forums to understand how the program works 🙁

  10. Just a week i bougth one of dvb t dab fm at ebay but i can’t find another software than sharp sdr and anybody can help me.

  11. I am residing in South India. I would like to purchaseone SDR Dongle. Kindly give me liable vendor url or email please.

    Eagerly waiting…..

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