Cheap SDR for scanner feeds

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fireman1333
Posts: 36
Joined: 02 Jan 2006 05:39
Location: Western MA

Cheap SDR for scanner feeds

Post by fireman1333 »

Hello all- I was wondering if anyone is using cheap SDR dongles for dedicated single channel scanner feeds. I'm moving back into a house soon after being in an apartment for some time, and I would like to set up a few feeds using one frequency each and rather not tie up scanners for the purpose. I found a few $15 ebay specials.. I don't expect anything great, but if they can monitor a single VHF or UHF public safety frequency that has strong signal, I'd be willing to try. Also, how many of these could I run using a USB hub (powered or no?) and an old PC? I have only used 2 scanners and 2 soundcards. Thanks for any info -J

Lex998
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Nov 2014 10:01
Location: Metro Boston

Re: Cheap SDR for scanner feeds

Post by Lex998 »

I have an old i5 laptop with a powered USB hub running 3 cheap USB dongles (Nooelec NESDR Smart v4 - about $36 each) using sdrtrunk and Trunking Recorder to monitor 20+ analog and P25 conventional channels. One dongle covers about 460-462, the second covers about 470-472 and the third covers about 482-484. Both sdrtrunk and Trunking Recorder can be set up to provide a private or public feed. I’ve tried using a fourth dongle on this PC and it works, but it comes close to maxing out the RAM.
Mark

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fireman1333
Posts: 36
Joined: 02 Jan 2006 05:39
Location: Western MA

Re: Cheap SDR for scanner feeds

Post by fireman1333 »

Thanks- I didn't know you could run multiple VFOs on one dongle, had to search for that thanks to your comment :)

Lex998
Posts: 16
Joined: 25 Nov 2014 10:01
Location: Metro Boston

Re: Cheap SDR for scanner feeds

Post by Lex998 »

I haven’t yet found the limit to the number conventional channels that can be monitored using this set up. I have a more powerful i7 Windows PC running 5 SDR dongles (a combination of Airspys and cheap dongles) monitoring several P25 trunking system using sdrtrunk The Airspys are plugged directly into USB ports on the PC and the others are on a powered USB hub. I’ve never been able to get 6 dongles work for very long without getting USB errors. I think it must be overloading the USB bus since memory and CPU usage are nowhere near capacity.
Mark

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