Radio receivers

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At RML, we have a whole stack of cheap AM radio receiver kits to practice assembly and learn more about electronics. As of October 2015, a young adult is building one.

Some software-defined radio receivers have also sparked quite a bit of interest from the maker/tinkerer community:

RTLSDR

"rtl-sdr" is a generic term for cheap USB digital TV (DVB-T) receivers that use the Realtek RTL2832U chipset, which can function as general purpose software defined radios (receive only). All rtl-sdr compatible devices employ the RTL2832U as an ADC and USB controller, but different RF tuners may be used. Note that rtl-sdrs do not transmit! Typical specs (some depend on specific tuner):

 Device Cost: ~£5-20 (Look on eBay, Amazon, or AliExpress)
 Frequency range : 24 - >1760 MHz (100 KHz - 24 MHz in direct sampling mode)
 Max sample rate: 3.2 MS/s (2.6 MS/s in practice)
 Resolution: 8 bits/sample
 Noise figure: < 4.5 dB

SDRplay

The RSP (Radio Spectrum Processor) from SDRplay is a Software Defined Radio which can turn a PC into a general coverage receiver spanning Long Wave (100KHz) through to Microwaves (2GHz). The SDRplay is home-grown in the United Kingdom and offers a much wider set of capabilities than the RTLSDR.

 Device Cost: £118.80 
 Frequency range: Total coverage from 0.1MHz to 2GHz
 ADC performance: 12 bit native ADC
 Max Sample Freq: 2MSPS – 10.66MSPS
 10.4 ENOB
 60dB SNR
 67dB SFDR