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TELE-audiovision International — The World‘s Leading Digital TV Industry Publication

— 01-02/2015

DVB-T and DVB-T2 are the

terrestrial digital tv standards

in many parts of the world. If

you own a laptop or a desktop

computer, then a very eco-

nomic way to receive those

tv signals is the use of those

thumb-sized dongles. They

run off the USB port, are pow-

ered by five volts, and most

of them receive from the low

end of the VHF band all up to

the top of the UHF band.

In other parts of the world

the terrestrial digital tv stand-

ards are ISDB-Tb (most of

South America) and ATSC

(North America). So in those

parts of the world such a DVB-

Use of Digital Video Broadcast-

Terrestrial (DVB-T) Dongles as

Broadband Receivers

by Mario Filippi, N2HUN

1. Typical R820T DVB-T dongle

covering 25 - ~1700 MHz.

2. Terratec TStick+ dongle

covering 64 - ~2400 MHz with

Elonics 4000 tuner.

T dongle is of no use, right?

To the contrary! Amazingly,

these dongles support listen-

ing modes of interest to the

hobbyist everywhere in the

world, such as AM (Amplitude

Modulation), FM (Frequency

Modulation, both narrow and

wideband), USB (Upper Side-

band), LSB (Lower Sideband),

CW (Continuous Wave, a.k.a.

Morse code) and even DRM

(Digital Radio Mondiale). Add

to this the feature of view-

ing a two MHz wide portion of

spectrum (using companion

software) you’ll have a verita-

ble receiving powerhouse that

opens up a world of listening


Prices of those DVB-T don-

gles range from $12.00 to

$90.00 USD depending on the

chipset. By chipset I’m refer-

ring to the two most impor-

tant electronic components;

the tuner and demodulator,

which govern not only the

price but the receive frequen-

cy range. For example, DVB-T

dongles with the Elonics 4000

tuner covering 64 – 2300

MHz cost upwards of $90.00

USD while those based on the

R820T chipset cover 25 - 1700

MHz and are more reasonably

priced around $16.00 USD.

Some points to ponder

before purchasing a dongle

are: compatibility with your

computer, the type of operat-

ing system, need for at least

one USB port, what software

to use, access to the Inter-

net (for downloading soft-

ware programs), soundcard

requirement, user’s level of

computer literacy, what an-

tenna to use for reception,

coaxial cable for the antenna,

and coax adapters for con-

necting the DVB-T dongle to

an external antenna. Last-

ly and most importantly is

choosing a reputable vendor

since very little documenta-

tion exists for this adaptation

of the dongle for radio recep-


My first dongle was pur-

chased from Nooelec (www. and my experi-

ence has been very positive

as their customer service is

superb and they supply de-

tailed product specifications

for most of their dongles.

Keep in mind that this is not

a “plug and play” endeavor

so be prudent when buying,

check out the customer feed-

back on the product and the

seller, and see what the speci-

fications of the dongle are pri-

or to purchase.

When you’ve finally pur-

chased your dongle it will in-

clude accessories such as a

miniature magnetic/suction

cup mount antenna for DAB

Self-Made Broadband Receiver