Good value accessories from eBay and Amazon for RTL-SDRs and SDRs

Affordable and handpicked items off eBay and Amazon making life and signal reception better and easier, at home or on the go.

Ferrite beads (also called ferrite chokes)


You probably came across a ferrite (Wiki link), cylindrical blob at the end of any power / signal / USB cord.
Keyword ferrite bead or ferrite choke, original listing below, 10 pieces for the pricely sum of 3.17 US dollars:



Different internal diameters, shapes and forms, go for the roundly snap-on version for ease of use, just make sure there's a resounding click. Read somewhere that unless ceramic parts are touching it's useless, hence manufacturers use cylindrical ones, chosen the listing above as it's perfect for USB extension and power cords:



Do they work? Large manufacturers with PhD level electrical engineers wouldn't put them on end of factory cords, so my bet is on yes. Anyways, ten of the buggers costing less than a glass of Guinness? Ordered three bags and clamped them all on in five minutes, can't hurt.

USB extension cable


Placing a sensitive radio receiver away from electrical interference coming from the computer is always advantageous, or outright necessary since most RTL-SDRs might be blocking nearby USB port. Read the reducing electrical noise post for more info why.
Search for USB extension cable, select length, prices might go up as high as two dollars with free shipping, I went for a 5 feet / 1.5 m version as it's more than enough:



Thick cable, proper braid, ferrite on end, what more could I ask for a dollar?



Extendable telescopic antenna


For out-and-about mobile operation.
Important note: software defined radios e.g. all RTL-SDRs / AirSpys / SDRPlays need an SMA Male connector - important because some are advertised for walkie-talkies and use an SMA female, which will NOT screw onto any SDR receiver. You've been warned.
Got me a Nagoya 774 SMA Male antenna, doubt it's the real deal for less than 7$, Amazon sells a supposedly authentic one for $10, but I don't live in the USA, and $7 with free shipping is hard to pass over:



Screws right onto rtl-sdr.com v3, SMArt Family, Pro Sticks, anything with SMA female. 14 cm collapsed, 42.5 cm extended, right angle connector, serving me well since 2016.



Portable power bank


Hike into nature to find an RFI-free spot, sooner than later you'll need 5V power for the SDRPlay or simply to charge smartphone, as SDRTouch or any similar apps eat batteries.
Search for 50000mAh LCD Power Bank, I went for the following:



Thirteen dollars with free shipping is not too bad; three USB ports, tells exactly how much juice left with big easy-to-read red digits, surprisingly bright LED light by double-pressing power button. No idea on the 50,000 mAh claim, probably bogus, fact is, charges Samsung J5 smartphone one and half times over from a darkened screen of less than 15% remaining. Runs a 5" Garmin satnav for 10 hours. Pi 3 based mobile ADS-B station on for hours with Pro Stick Plus.



Alternatives might come with a solar panel, be waterproof, or more LED lights can dot the case. Or all of the above:



For $16 (less than 14 euros) it's a steal. I also use RAVPower power bank above, which is easier (plug in cable, charge on, no need to push buttons, called iSmart) and much more premium, 10,000 mAh version is similarly priced at $20 with less gimmicks. 22,000 mAh for $42 if you want more and larger, thought I found it's easier to manage two smaller banks than one heavy one.

OTG cable


To connect smartphone to receiver if phone supports this feature, microUSB connector, which is standard on most anything but an iPhone (found this for iWorld readers, same $1 solution, haven't tried as I trust Samsung):



Search for Micro USB Male to USB Female OTG Adapter, wide variety of choices, one port cable for less than a dollar (or a similar solution coming with a Nano 3 for a dollar) as single OTG above uses phone's battery to power RTL-SDR dongle, which will suck battery in no time: expect 1-2 hours of operation depending on phone on a full battery:



Phone with RTL-SDR can be powered externally with a powerbank if you buy a two-port OTG cable, cable still less than a dollar:



Usability note: buy at least two, or more different looking OTG cables, smallest movement at the phone can break connection, no sound. It's impossible to recommend a cable as every microUSB connector will be different, above is guideline only.

Bluetooth Headphones


Audio from host computer can be routed via Bluetooth into your ears - no need to sit in front of a screen or stare at numbers, find a frequency or station, go about your business.
Wide variety of choices on Amazon and eBay, one-ear (don't, no audio power, no battery life, falls out of ear), two-ear (yes) and full-head alternatives, my choice was a Taotronics for around $20:



More than half a year later, I still enjoy deep bass and thrilling piano with Tori Amos, hands-free when driving, for Messenger / Skype due to built-in microphone, and it's 21st century for radio signal reception - the notion of sitting in front of a device to listen to a signal is so archaic.
Cheaper alternatives costs less than $5, 4.24 with free shipping:



$4.68 dollars:




Audio quality is surprisingly good for five bucks, and walking away from receiver is possible.
Oh My Gosh I hear some readers utter, travel to a green field with freshly cut grass smell filling your nostrils, listen to radio whilst plugging gear together. You'll be surprised how much more you can hear with in-ear noise isolating earphones, and how much more liberating not having to sweat under full-head studio headphones.

Welcome to the 21st wireless century.

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