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Transmitting DVBT HDTV from a Raspberry Pi to an RTL2832U

Over on his website, Oz9aec has shared a post demonstrating how he could make a live HDTV transmitter out of a Raspberry Pi, a Raspi Cam module and an UTC DVB-T Modulator connector. As he would like to meddle with business DVB-T telecasts, he sets the module to transmit at 1.28 Ghz, otherwise known as the 23 cm authorized ham radio band.

On the Rtl2832u dongle side, he altered the Rtl2832u Linux DVB-T drivers (not the SDR drivers) to deal with the 1.3 Ghz band. The proposition of this camera is for it to fly on a rocket mission. In the Youtube feature underneath he has transferred some example footage with the Rtl2832u dongle accepting the stream from 300 meters away.

 

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New REDHAWK SDR Software for Linux

DangerousPrototypes has just posted a link to a newer SDR application named REDHAWK. The REDHAWK GitHub page describes the project as,

“REDHAWK is a software-defined radio (SDR) framework designed to support the development, deployment, and management of real-time software radio applications. To support the design and development of software applications, REDHAWK provides tools that allow development and testing of software modules called “Components” and composition of Components into “Waveform Applications” that can be seamlessly deployed on a single computer or multiple network-enabled computers.

The REDHAWK integrated development environment (IDE) provides tools to support development of REDHAWK software. The development and deployment of REDHAWK Applications are aided by graphical editors and drag-and-drop Waveform construction. The IDE allows users to interact with and control multiple running REDHAWK instances and applications.” -GitHub

Check out Redhawk SDR if you’re looking for a different application to try on Linux for use with your RTL-SDR. Also take a look at the Redhawk documentation for more information.


 
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Spying on Your Neighbours With a RTL-SDR

Tom’s Guide has a post by Paul Wagenseil on a lecture given by security researcher Melissa Elliott (better known as 0xabad1dea) at DEFCON on August 3rd. Elliott spoke about how a cheap $10 USB TV tuner dongle, better known to us as an RTL-SDR, can be used to pick up ‘accidental radio emissions’ which can then be used to fingerprint devices. Back in the 1970s the NSA had a program codenamed Tempest that was designed to investigate and study these compromising emanations. Elliott, who is a researcher at the security company Veracode in Boston, demonstrated using an RTL-SDR to pickup various emissions from electronic devices.

“I managed to go most of my life not knowing that my electronics were all leaking all of the signals that detail what they’re getting up in their private little electronic lives,” Elliott said.

But a visit to the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone on the Virginia-West Virginia border, site of the world’s largest moveable radio-astronomy telescope, taught Elliott otherwise.

“Their biggest challenge to getting the science done is the very electronics that they need to measure and process the signal, because those same electronics blast the signal out at the sky,” Elliott said.

“They have a microwave oven, which is a Faraday cage” — a structure enclosed by a wire mesh to prevent electricity from getting in or out — “inside another Faraday cage, inside another room, which is also a Faraday cage,” she recalled. “That is how much they had to shield things just so they could reheat their pizza at 2 a.m.”

So Elliott found a website that sold USB tuners for $10, and found free software to tune and analyze the signals.

At DEF CON, she demonstrated how much radio noise electronic devices emit by using a netbook she bought for $50 on a trip to China. - Link to Story

The DEFCON Website gives this description of her talk:

If it’s electronic, it makes noise. Not necessarily noise that you and I can hear, of course – unless you know how to tune in. The air around us is filled with bloops, bleeps, and bzzts of machines going about their business, betraying their existence through walls or even from across the street. The unintentional noise lurking among intentional signals can even reveal what the machine is currently doing when it thinks it’s keeping that information to itself. Attacks exploiting electromagnetic radiation, such as TEMPEST, have long been known, but government-sized budgets are no longer needed to procure the radio equipment. USB television receiver dongles can be used as software-defined radios (SDR) that cost less than a slice of Raspberry Pi. The goal of this talk is to show you that anyone with twenty bucks and some curiosity can learn a great deal about your computers and other equipment without ever leaving a trace, and you shouldn’t neglect this risk when managing your organization’s security.

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Spectrum Analyzer using Beaglebone Black and RTL-SDR

Over on YouTube, Stephen Ong has posted a video of his standalone Terratec RTL-SDR and BeagleBone Black based spectrum analyzer. What makes this unique is the lack of computer needed and dedicated 7 inch touch LCD screen (CircuitCo LCD7 cape). Powered by 6 AA batteries, the unit is nice and portable. BeagleBoards are low-cost, fan-less single-board computers based on low-power Texas Instruments processors featuring the ARM Cortex-A8 core. The BeagleBone Black DevKit used in the video costs around USD$50. He demonstrates the unit showing the RF spectrum of  commercial FM stations, car remote transmitters, analog TV (PAL B) broadcast, DVB-T broadcast, cellular GSM900 and a DECT cordless phone.


 
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Receiving, Decoding and Plotting AIS using a RTL-SDR

DrVarnik on YouTube has posted a tutorial video on how to receive, decode and plot AIS information. The Automatic Identification System (AIS) is a system used for automatic tracking of large ships and passenger boats. It is a similar idea to tracking aircraft with ADS-B. His method uses a RTL-SDR for receiving the AIS signals with SDRSharp, decoding received signals with AISMon and plotting the decoded information with OpenCPN. He uses VB-Cable for looping the audio from SDRSharp to AISMon, but if you have a ‘Stereo Mix’ or equivalent feature with your soundcard, that will be unneeded. Best results will be achieved using a narrow-band vertically polarized antenna tuned for 161.975 MHz and 162.025 MHz (marine VHF). A directional antenna would also likely be a benefit. You can find some designs to try lower down the page. For safety, please only use this guide on land! Wouldn’t want you getting lost at sea.

Here are the homepages of the software used:

  • SDRSharp
  • AISMon – You may need to first join the group with a Yahoo account to gain access to the file section.
  • OpenCPN
  • VB-Cable (for looping audio from SDRSharp to AISMON)

Below is a screenshot of OpenCPN in action:

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Here are some antennas designed for AIS reception:

 

For a tutorial with other software, check out the Cheap AIS Ship Tracking page at rtl-sdr.com

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How to Receive NOAA Satellite Images

For more than 50 years the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s weather satellites have been helping monitor the earth’s weather patterns. Now over on YouTube max30max31 (IZ5RZR) has posted a tutorial on how you can receive images from the NOAA weather satellites (NOAA-9, NOAA-15, NOAA-18, NOAA-19) at home using an RTL-SDR. He gives a full walk through of using Orbitron to track the satellites, WXtoImg to decode received images and using SDRSharp to tune your RTL-SDR. He also suggests building and using a QFH Antenna or Turnstile Antenna with your RTL-SDR to receive the satellites.

Here is a list of programs used and homepage links:

If you’re looking for some antenna designs, check out:

Here is an example of and image you could receive:

NOAA 18 at 16 Oct 2011 21:17:42 GMT

 

UPDATE: Jordan Jean-Philippe Blanchard has shared a link on the RTL-SDR Facebook Group to his setup for receiving the weather satellite images using an RTL-SDR, check out his setup & check out what he has received.


 
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Tracking of Low Orbit Satellites with a Dish & RTL-SDR

Travis Goodspeed has shared a project on his blog about his adventure in tracking low orbit satellites using a fairly complex setup. He is using a dish intended for connecting to one of the Inmarsat satellites while at sea on a maritime vessel, a EiBotBoard connected to a BeagleBone for motor control and a RTL-SDR for receiving radio signals from the dish. His goal has been to track the whole sky, including moving targets and it looks like he has been pretty successful.

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At Black Hat DC in 2008, I watched Adam Laurie present a tool for mapping Ku-band satellite downlinks, which he has since rewritten as Satmap. His technique involves using an DVB-S card in a Linux computer as a receiver through a 90cm Ku-band dish with fixed elevation and a DiSEqC motor for azimuth motion. It was among the most inspirational talks I’d ever seen, and I had a blast recreating his setup and scanning the friendly skies. However, such a rig is limited to geostationary satellites in a small region of the sky; I wanted to see the whole sky, especially the moving targets.

In this article, I’ll demonstrate a method for modifying a naval telecommunications dish to track moving targets in the sky, such as those in Low Earth Orbit. My dish happily sits in Tennessee, while I direct it using my laptop or cellphone here in Europe. It can also run unattended, tracking moving targets and looking for downlink channels.” — Travis Goodspeed

 

via RTL-SDR.com

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