[amsat-bb] Fun Cube Dongle

Steve May steve.w5iem at gmail.com
Tue Aug 26 16:24:17 UTC 2014

Patrick and Lizeth,

Thank you both very much. I appreciate the suggestions, and I guess I will
just plan on buying a FCD Pro+ this Friday.

I will say that I am enjoying the RTL-SDR for some other non-satellite
projects. It is great for monitoring my local repeaters and listening to
the commercial stations in my area, so it is certainly not a complete loss,
and even if it was it was only ~$20.

I have not been able to get HDSDR to work with the dongle, though, but I
was able to add the plugin to SDR# to interface with SATPC32 last night.
Perhaps I will have better luck with the FCD Pro+.

In the end the FCD Pro+ is probably something I will use with some other
radio projects on HF, so I am sure that I will get plenty of use out of it
no matter what, but I am excited to find out all of the satellite uses I
will have for it.

Thank you again for the information. I'll catch you guys on the linear
satellites in the near future.

Steve May, W5IEM
Amateur Extra - Georgetown, KY
(520) 261-7847 - Cell
Skype: USHorseman
Steve.W5IEM at gmail.com

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On Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 12:17 PM, Patrick STODDARD <patrick at wd9ewk.net>

> Hi Steve!
> My answer to your Million Dollar Question would be - YES!  The FUNcube
> Dongle Pro Plus, at around US$ 200 depending on the exchange rate with
> the British pound, is a good value.  I also have an RTL-SDR dongle, and
> previously had the original FUNcube Dongle Pro.  The RTL-SDR dongles are
> OK, but lack some of the things I like with the FCD Pro+. The FCD Pro+
> is more sensitive, and has better front-end filtering. Where the RTL-SDR
> dongles are intended for digital television reception, needing a much
> wider front-end on its receiver, the FCD Pro+ has filtering that helps
> it perform very well in the amateur 2m and 70cm bands. It still works
> fine in other parts of the RF spectrum it receives.
> The RTL-SDR dongles, as well as the original FUNcube Dongle Pro, were not
> usable as my downlink receiver when working AO-73 or any other satellite.
> Whenever I would transmit with my FT-817, even at 500mW, the RF from the
> 817 would shut down the dongles.  The FCD Pro+, on the other hand, works
> very well with my FT-817 for working satellites.  Between the dongle and
> the software you run on a computer, there is a slight lag in hearing the
> audio from the downlink, something you don't hear when using a radio to
> receive the downlink.  If you use software with the FCD Pro+ like HDSDR,
> that software can be controlled by SatPC32 just like another radio - one
> way to deal with the lag in hearing the downlink signals on the computer.
> For my satellite station, I normally use two FT-817s, connected through
> a diplexer to my Elk handheld log periodic.  If I had an Arrow Yagi, I
> could skip the diplexer and run coax from each radio to the appropriate
> feedpoints on the antenna.  At 5 watts, and with the diplexer in the
> coax feedline out to the antenna, I have taken steps that should protect
> the dongle from stray RF.  If I had an Arrow Yagi, I would consider using
> a diplexer in line to the dongle, with the appropriate band port connected
> to the dongle to prevent other RF from coming down the coax line to the
> dongle.
> Good luck, and 73!
> Patrick WD9EWK/VA7EWK
> http://www.wd9ewk.net/
> On Tue, Aug 26, 2014 at 8:51 AM, Steve May <steve.w5iem at gmail.com> wrote:
>> So the Million Dollar Question (actually, I guess it is the "$180-higher
>> cost + shipping" question) is whether the Funcube Dongle is significantly
>> better than one of the cheap $20 RLT-SDR tuners? I have been experimenting
>> with the cheapo version the last couple of days, and so far I have been
>> able to pick up my local repeaters fairly well with a mag-mount antenna. I
>> tried to pull in AO-73 late last night with an Arrow and a preamp but had
>> some issues with SATPC32 that I have since resolved. I am pretty sure I
>> heard something but I am still getting used to using SDR#. I need to do
>> some more tuning.
>> I am going to keep on working with this, at least for the next few days,
>> but should I just plan on shelling out the money for the Funcube Dongle if
>> using the computer to receive the linear satellites is my long-term plan?

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