The best way to begin is to read the articles on RTL-SDR.COM and order their RTL-SDR V3 USB Dongle with Dipole Antenna Kit from Amazon for $35.00. Details on their website here, but they prefer US customers to order on Amazon.
You can use any modern computer with a USB port, but much of the open source SDR software is written for Linux. I recommend the use of a Raspberry Pi 4 with a 32GB SD card.
I want to use SDRs in the classroom since they are easy to use and adaptable to many different topics. In the process of developing my lesson plans, I was pleased to discover the lab exercises in Stanford University’s EE 179: Analog and Digital Communications Systems class use the RTL-SDR. While the course content is much more technical than necessary for my target students, the labs (minus the Mathlab parts) can be successful executed by almost anyone with basic computer skills: https://web.stanford.edu/class/ee179/Homework.html
However, if you are interested in understanding the inner workings of signal processing, modulation and encoding, check out the lecture notes: https://web.stanford.edu/class/ee179/Notes.html
Inexpensive radio astronomy kits are now available from NASA’s Radio JOVE Project
M17 Project Seeking Contributors M17 is a new open source VHF digital radio protocol in development as an alternative to those currently available, with freedom in mind. Freedom in the code, protocol, voice codecs, and hardware. The goal is to provide a better option for digital radios in the future. The M17 Working Group is […]
SDR Makerspace is an initiative of the European Space Agency and the Libre Space Foundation to support the use of Software Defined Radios for space communications, opening up space communications development to a wide variety of people, organizations and companies. Videos from their recent three day conference are now available on YouTube at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ntNa7j8v1JQ&list=PLCzrYL9QmZiSMltB0vP-u2s3Lx7TSlohn Also […]
If you ever wanted to identify a strange waveform seen on your SDR program, SIGIDWIKI.com is the place to go. It contains 100’s of example audio files and waterfall images, most recorded by popular SDRs. Artemis 3 is a front end application, sorting signals into categories you can browse. You can read more about it […]
I discovered the work of Matt Knight who created an open-source implementation of LoRa on GitHub. His research documentation includes a PowerPoint containing examples of LoRa RF waveforms and the best illustration of CHIRPs. Get the PowerPoint here. And a LoRa paper here.
Robert Lie Mobilefish.com has created a series of 53 video tutorials on YouTube explaining LoRa & LoRaWAN. Most are short (<6 minutes) and well indexed, so you can quickly find topics of interest. Many illustrations and demonstrations of LoRa signals on SDR displays. Highly recommended. Complete playlist at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLmL13yqb6OxdeOi97EvI8QeO8o-PqeQ0g He also published documentation and slides […]