Background. I know that any "new" electronic equipment described, will be outdated when you reach the end of the sentence. Keep this in mind when you read about my experiments, you will have to start somewhere, this is how it worked for me, all the time i find new devices to explore. On the net you will find many software applications that are able to run "cheap" USB TV sticks on 60 - 1500 MHz. This is of course is a huge compromise on the receiver input side when you try to cover such wide range. Generally the software sites are describing what type of device will work with the specific application you might be interested in.Check out and read the manual and installation text before you rush of to buy anything. You can buy a down converter kit to access the HF band < 30MHz, or a device already built with two antenna inputs and a switch.Usually the software configuration will ask for the oscillator frequency of your converter, in that way the readout of the frequency in the application will be correct, this works both with my Android Tablet, and a windows laptop computer.
Device 1. CINERGY TStickRC (TERRATECK) Tuner E4000 Works with ADSB#,RTL1090 and ADSB Scope
Device 2. NOXON DAB Stick Tuner FC0013 Works with SDR# does not lock on ADSB frequency 1090Mhz
Device 3. TERRATECK TStick+ Tuner E4000 Works with ADSB#,RTL1090 and ADSB Scope
You can buy a down converter kit to access the HF band < 30MHz. The example her is a converter where i have added a USB TV stick.In this version the converter is fed with 5Volts from another USB port, or changer. Again, you have to know the converting maths to get the software setting right, this will then display the tuned frequency correct. Works as expected, but not very fast or smooth operation to change input antenna between Hi / Low band.
In this case the shift setting should be set to -125MHz, and activated by checking the "SHIFT" box. Here listening to LSB 3.712Mhz on the Radio amateur band.
Converter kit with USB stick built together. Signal to the PC in the black cable, white cable supplies 5V to the converter.
Box opened, the converter < 30MHz input on the under side.
This version is already built with two antenna inputs and a switch.The switch then connects the proper antenna for Hi bands >30 MHz or Low bands<30 MHz.The same switch controls the converter on/off. As in the previous example, the converter frequency setting in the software will display the correct frequency you are tuned to.
In this case the shift setting should be set to -40MHz, and activated by checking the "SHIFT" box. Here listening to USB 14.218Mhz on the Radio amateur band.
2 inputs ,fast switching between Hi / Low band antennas.
This version is designed by a team behind one of the many free SDR software platforms. In this device you can set the software to feed the converter or antenna Low Noise Amplifier with 5Volts through the antenna cable.It is very convenient to have the LNA at the antenna end of your coaxial cable.
Smart switching of antenna amplifier or converter, the software switches 5V
through the antenna cable.
First thing to do is to Google on your device, you should avoid repeating the same mistakes all the others have done.
Screen shot above: 32 ppm positive correction to receive the beacon at 1296.840.00 on LSB.
-There is the correction factor for the VFO. Run the USB stick until it is warm, pick a known frequency, adjust the i station until the signal is symmetric around the vertical bar. Now compare the displayed frequency readout, and what is should read. The correction setting is often found in a drop down menu in the software. In my case there is a radio amature beacon about 15 km west of my place transmitting on 1296.840 MHz, although the ADSB 1090 MHz antenna is much to long, the signal is usable to set the correction factor.
-The gain setting. Study the manuals to get the best setting to start with. Some decoding programs show how well the decoding works, try to crank up all gain settings to maximum, and you will notice that the quality of the decoding goes down. So a weak signal is not good, but drowning the system with maximum gain signal will not help.
-Also keep in mind that radio conditions are changing from one day to another. On the bands < 30 MHz the propagation changes from day to day depending on several factors. The conditions are monitored, and a prediction of the propagation is available on the net.
-And the most important your antenna. There is no universal antenna for all bands. The fact is that the physical dimension of the antenna element is directly dependent of the wavelength. - there is only ONE exactly correct antenna for every frequency- To get the best and strongest signal to decode, use a resonant antenna, and do not waste the signal in a too long and cheap coaxial cable.