For those interested in Software Defined Radio (SDR), especially ultra cheap SDR, I have been able to find and utilize an inexpensive digital TV tuner used mainly in Europe (doesn’t work here since we use the ATSC and QAM systems while they use DVB-T, etc) from DX along with some relatively easy to install software.
So far I’ve been able to tune into hospital, police, airport, weather, etc -bands as well as some local chatter. It’s not by any means perfect and the software crashes sometimes, as well as the hardware, but it is a lot of fun to visualize what’s going on in the radio spectrum. Below are links to the tuner and the software. The chipset used by the tuner are the RTL2832U controller as well as the e4000 tuner, which seem to have the widest range of frequencies.
To make this work, you basically plug in the tuner, let Win7 do its install process, ignore the CD that comes with it. Download the above software and install. During install it will ask to run Zadig, which allows you to install the proper drivers for the tuner. Disable any antivirus/defence software during this or it will fail. Install the driver and proceed with the rest of the installation. Once the main software, HDSDR, is installed you have to copy the .dll files from the software install directory to the HDSDR directory (unless you merged the two). Running HDSDR accesses the ExtIO library, which allows you to control the tuner. Basically, that’s it. Play with HDSDR and see what you come up with.