Software Defined Radios (SDRs) are constantly evolving. It seems like "the latest and greatest" SDRs are always popping up somewhere with today's rapidly growing technology. We thought it'd be helpful to provide you with some of the most popular and top rated SDRs in today's market.
We tried to include a wide variation of prices, applications, frequencies, and ease of use on the following list. This way, it'll be more likely that you'll find the best Software Defined Radio for your needs in the following list.
Without further ado, here are 12 great Software Defined Radios for you!
*Descriptions taken from product pages
**Disclosure: This post that contains affiliate links.
1. RTL-SDR (R820T RTL2832U)
- What a great place to start! This RTL-SDR is cheap and great for beginners or those on a budget.
- Applications include general radio scanning, air traffic control, public safety radio, ADSB, AIS, ACARS, trunked radio, P25 digital voice, POCSAG, weather balloons, APRS, NOAA APT weather satellites, radio astronomy, meteor scatter monitorin, and more
- Frequency: 500 kHz to 1.7 GHz and has up to 3.2 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth
2. Red Pitaya
3. NooElec NESDR
- Included: NooElec USB dongle, antenna, remote control
- RTL2832U interface IC & R820T tuner IC on USB dongle
- Full compatibility with a large array of software packages
- DRU-244A-1-1-PCI SDR hardware digitizer
- 1 ADC chip with 1 analog input
- 1 DDC chip with 4 radio channels
5. HackRF One
- Operating Frequency: 1 MHz to 6 GHz
- Matching male SMA ANT500 antenna & USB cable included
- Compatible with GNU Radio, SDR#, and more
- 6U Compact-PCI form factor hardware development platform that can be used for a variety of applications, such as Software Defined Radio.
- Optimized to provide high performance signal conversion using high speed ADC’s and DAC’s.
- Other applications: WiMAX, Satellite MODEM's, RFID, Wireless Communication Systems
7. Ubertooth One
- 2.4 GHz Transmit and Receive.
- Suitable for Bluetooth experimentation
- Can also operate in monitor mode, monitoring Bluetooth traffic in real-time.
- Frequency: 100KHz-1.7GHz
- Built-in 100Mhz upconverter combined with Built-in HD R820T allow better receiving of short wave than using direct SDR’s Q tunnel
- Easy to set-up, just connect it and you’re ready to go!
- Alternative to both cost sensitive and higher end scanners while featuring the "best radio browsing experience of the market" thanks to the tight integration with the de facto standard SDR# software.
- External GPS or Rubidium clocks supported for professional use
- Full HF Coverage
10. National Instruments USRP
- Flexible and affordable transceiver that turns a standard PC into a powerful wireless prototyping system.
- Supports multirate DSP for physical layer communications and helps you integrate .m file scripts and C language algorithms.
11. ThinkRF's WSA5000
- Large frequency range of 100 kHz up to 27 GHz and wide instantaneous bandwidth of up to 100 MHz.
- Supports 160 MHz instantaneous bandwidth
12. Seeedstudio KiwiSDR Kit
- SDR covers the 10 kHz to 30 MHz (VLF-HF) spectrum.
- Demodulation modes: AM, AMN, LSB, USB, CW, CWN, NBFM.
- RF antenna connector: SMA and terminal block.
- GPS receives the Navstar system on L1 frequency 1575.42 MHz.
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