Up until now I’ve been running my RTL SDR dongle on a slightly aged 2 core 1.8Ghz computer with a 1 GB stick of ram and using windows xp pro as the OS. The dongle runs (if a little clunky), but by far the most worrying aspect is the way it maxes out the computer, evident by a quick check of the performance stats and the screaming noise coming from the internal fan 🙂

There are 2 good reasons why I was using this under par computer for SDR.

No1. Once I’ve got something working, it take a lot of willpower to ‘mess’ around and move it to another system (a variation of the ‘if it ain’t broke’ philosophy).

No2. Windows 8.1!

sdrsharp interface

SDRSharp Interface

Every time I’ve tried to put new software on my i5 windows 8.1 computer, its been a serious test of my patience. Its not that I’m a computer newbie (far from it), its just this version of windows doesn’t want to play the game.

Even simple software installation requires a degree of human intervention to get things working right and installing dongle, zadig and SDRsharp didn’t disappoint.

Armed with a full tutorial on the install and a big mug of coffee, I delved in and followed each step with precision. Not seeing anything wrong as I went along didn’t leave me surprised when starting SDRSharp only to find it wouldn’t recognize the dongle 🙂

Couldn’t get the SDRSharp batch file to run at first (fine after a reinstall?) then the drivers that should have been downloaded when SDRSharp was fired up were missing and I had to put the in manually (situation normal).

A Different Game

All the fussing around was more than worth it though because not only does the whole program run that much better (it responds straight away when I click the mouse), I am now able to use the higher sampling rate that the older computer just couldn’t cope with 🙂 (brutal fan screaming).

I’ve spent more time this weekend using the dongle than in the last few weeks and now investigating the logistics of getting another one going to work with trunking systems (now that should be fun).

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