These FAQs pertain to all models in the NESDR series. Have a question about a specific model? You can find the FAQ section for each model on the left!
What are the technical differences between each of your NESDR models?
- The primary difference between models is the tuner IC (dictates frequency capability and sensitivity), the clock source, the enclosure, and the size.
- All NESDR models use the RTL2832U USB demodulator interface for communications.
- Most NESDR models use the R820T/T2 tuner IC. The frequency range for this tuner is 25MHz-1750 MHz (approximately).
- All models with 'XTR' in the name use the E4000 tuner IC, which has a frequency range of 65MHz to 2300 MHz, with a gap in capability from 1100 MHz to 1200 MHz. See below for a full summary of the differences between the E4000 and the R820T tuners.
- The Mini and Nano both use the R820T tuner IC. Frequency range is 25-1750MHz.
- The Mini 2, Nano 2 and Nano 3 all use the R820T2 tuner IC. Frequency range is 25-1750MHz with increased sensitivity in most bands vs. R820T.
- The Mini and Nano models are very similar otherwise, except in size. We recommend the larger Mini unless you are space constrained, in which case the Nano is probably your best bet.
- All '+' models contain a 0.5PPM TCXO for greatly increased tuning accuracy, instead of the 10-25PPM clocks in the standard models.
- All 'Al' models have an aluminum enclosure as standard.
What are the differences between the E4000 tuner and the R820T/T2 tuner?
Most of our NESDRs use either the R820T/T2 tuner IC. This tuner has a frequency range of 25MHz to 1750 MHz. The R820T/T2 is a common tuner and is great for general SDR use between 25-1700 MHz.
The R820T2 tuner is an updated version of the R820T, and offers increased sensitivity in most bands. The frequency range is the same for both versions, 25MHz-1750MHz.
The E4000 tuner is used in all of our NESDR XTR models. This tuner has a frequency range of 65MHz-2300MHz, but performs best below about 500MHz and above about 1500MHz. The sensitivity is worse between 500-1500MHz (when compared to the R820T/T2) and this tuner cannot receive frequencies between 1100MHz-1200MHz.
Which NESDR model should I buy?
Which NESDR model is best for you will depend on your application. Here are a couple of points to consider:
- If you are operating primarily for frequencies between 65-500MHz and/or from 1500-2300MHz, you probably want the E4000 based units;
- If you are operating primarily for frequencies between 500-1500MHz, you are probably better off with R820T/T2 based units;
- Satellite applications (such as receiving images from GOES or NOAA satellites) work best with E4000 tuners and the appropriate SAW filter;
- ADS-B applications will NOT work with E4000 tuners due to the frequency gap at 1100-1200 MHz. For these applications, select a NESDR with a R820T/T2 tuner.
What is the NESDR transfer rate?
All models in the NESDR series are USB 2.0, which has a maximum transfer rate of 480 MSPS.
What is the NESDR instantaneous bandwidth?
For all models in the NESDR series, it is 2.4 MHz nominal, and 3.2 MHz max.
What is the sensitivity and noise figure of your SDRs?
The NESDR series are all uncalibrated devices. As such, we're not able to provide guaranteed noise figure or sensitivity information, as these vary based on a gamut of environmental factors.
Do your NESDR series have static discharge protection?
Yes, all of our SDRs have this feature.
Which of your devices is compatible with the Raspberry Pi?
All of our SDRs are compatible!
Can an Android smartphone power an NESDR?
Yes it can, provided that the smartphone is compatible with USB OTG (on-the-go). If it is compatible, then you'll just need a USB OTG cable and the appropriate software. We recommend using SDR Touch, which is available for download on our Supported SDR Software page.
Can I use my Microsoft Surface tablet to run an NESDR?
Yes, you should be able to. However, the processing power in a tablet is lower than on a PC, so you may see some performance issues depending on your application and the required software.
Which of your NESDRs are capable of transmitting and receiving?
All models in the NESDR series are receive only. The only transceiver that we sell is the HackRF One, which is capable of transmitting and receiving signals from 1MHz to 6GHz.
Which SDRs are compatible with the Ham It Up?
As long as you have the proper cable and an SDR that transmits between 125.5-195Mhz, it will work with the upconverter.
My NESDR gets very hot when in use. Is this normal?
Yes, it is normal for these devices to be hot to the touch when in use. They are designed to remove heat at the board-level and distribute it away from the PCB as evenly as possible. This will necessarily result in the enclosure becoming quite warm during operation.
We have taken this into account with our more recent NESDR models, and have including additional heat protection in their designs. For example, the Nano 3 comes with an aluminum enclosure as standard, and a custom heatsink that can be applied to the SDR to avoid overheating. Our SMArt and SMArTee models also have aluminum enclosures and feature internal heatsinks and thermal pads which distribute the heat away from the PCB to keep the device running smoothly.
What is the purpose of the remote that I received with my NESDR? It doesn't seem to work.
The remote can only be used for DVB video, it is not designed for SDR purposes. It can be used anywhere that there are DVB signals, but you won’t find these in the USA or Canada. In North America, we use ATSC signalling, which is not compatible with this device.
How do I get my SDR to pick up FM radio?
For FM radio, you need to choose a wide bandwidth, select a "station" between 88 and 108 MHz, and select FM as the demodulation type.
Can I use my NESDR to receive MF, HF, or AM frequencies?
In order to receive MF frequencies with your NESDR, you will need to use an upconverter, like the Ham It Up. MF, HF, and AM frequencies are not within the range of the NESDR on its own.
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