Tuesday, September 24, 2013

TV-SHARP Analogue TV with an RTLSDR dongle

It's always nice to find a new website where someone's interested in the same sorts of things that you're interested in. Yesterday, I saw a tweet go by, linking to Ivo, I6IBE's site- where he was recovering DSTAR text data using a program and a RTLSDR dongle. I haven't tried that yet.

However, looking around Ivo's site, which is in his mother tongue, Italian I found lots of interesting things. Unfortunately, my Italian is very basic, so I was pleased to use the auto translate features of Chrome to turn the site into English. It's a real joy of the internet that language ceases to be a barrier, in a context like this.

I was intrigued by a posting about TV-SHARP which is a program based on ADSBSharp, to be used with an RTLSDR dongle, which will decode PAL and NTSC TV signals. Note that the program only works with Analogue TV signals.

I was interested in the program for a couple of reasons. Firstly, during the Es season, it should be possible to use the program to receive any Band I TV that is still around. Secondly, if you are in range of an amateur TV repeater, it can be used to receive those signals.

Because the RTLSDR dongle can only deal with a 2Mb bandwidth, you cannot receive full colour signals, but it appears that you can receive black and white signals. You can see some example's on I6IBE's site.

The closest ATV repeater to me here appears to be on Dunstable Downs. I am not sure how well at 50/144/432MHz collinear will work on 1318MHz! I will give it a go though. If anyone else is in range of a ATV repeater and feels like trying this, I'll be interested to hear how you get on.

You can download TV-Sharp here

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