Cheap sdr for listening to ham repeaters


Looking for a cheap SDR (sdr, antenna’s and software etc), ideally available
from that I
can use to listing to a repeater kinda like a scanner. Primary use case is
to be able to do radio signal and audio quality checks when no one else is on
the repeater to be able to respond. Even better would be to do a simplex,
one way test so I can hear what it sounds like via the SDR.

This came up yesterday when I wanted to test my Throat Mic since VECTOR and
ESS events and
such are ramping up for the season.



I’ve never used anything like that, but have heard the name RTL-SDR as the go-to “unbelievably cheap SDR dongle”. I think it is receive-only, which sounds fine for your application.


RTLSDR will work for monitoring VHF or UHF, but it has very little filtering and poor selectivity, so if you’re transmitting anywhere near the receiver, you’ll likely overload the receiver.

Repeaters often have a ‘readback’ option that will record your transmission and then play it back to you. You’ll need to send DTMF tones to do this, but even if your radio doesn’t include that, you can just get a generator app on your phone and play it into the mic. I know VE7SAR (147.360+ 110.9) has this, the DTMF code is ‘A3’. I imagine some other local repeaters do this too, but it’s not always well documented online how to do it.

Or just get another VHF/UHF radio and transmit simplex to it.