The RTL2832U outputs 8-bit I/Q-samples, and the highest theoretically possible sample-rate is 3.2 MS/s, however, the highest sample-rate without lost samples that has been tested so far is 2.4 MS/s. The frequency range is highly dependent of the used tuner, dongles that use the Elonics E4000 offer the widest possible range (see table below).

TunerFrequency range
Elonics E400052 - 2200 MHz with a gap from 1100 MHz to 1250 MHz (varies)
Rafael Micro R820T24 - 1766 MHz
Fitipower FC001322 - 1100 MHz (FC0013B/C, FC0013G has a separate L-band input, which is unconnected on most sticks)
Fitipower FC001222 - 948.6 MHz
FCI FC2580146 - 308 MHz and 438 - 924 MHz (gap in between)

Installing SDR#


When you plug your RTL device in for the first time, Windows may request a driver or automatically install a driver from Microsoft - this is OK as it will be replaced in the next few steps using Zadig. Don't install the software on the CD that comes with the device.
Note that you will need to run Zadig for every USB port you use an RTLSDR dongle in as Windows seems to only apply this driver to the port in question at the time.
  • (file is hosted on another site 11/18/2013) Download the latest version of Zadig.
  • Run the Zadig.exe file and you should see the following with an empty list.
  • Click on Options and select “List All Devices”.
  • Choose the one that says “Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 0)”. This should be the primary endpoint of your RTL device.
  • In the box to the right of the green arrow make sure “WinUSB” is chosen - not libusb or libusbk. The big button underneath will say “Replace Driver” or “Reinstall Driver”. Before you proceed make sure the USBID matches the VID/PID in the hardware table.
Note that if you insert the dongle into a different USB port you may have to use Zadig again. It seems that you can change which driver is loaded depending on the USB port used. So you could use one USB port for RTLSDR and another port for using the dongle to watch DVB-T with the supplied Windows application.

Automated Installer

Download sdr-install.zip and unzip it. Double click on the install.bat file in the newly created sdr-install directory to have the script download everything you need including Zadig.
Once the script has completed it will have downloaded the latest SDR#, the latest RTL driver from Osmocom (and enabled use of RTL-USB) and Zadig and put them in a new sdrsharp directory.
If you haven't already run Zadig to set up your RTLSDR dongle for use with SDR# for the first time follow the Zadig instructions above (skipping the step to download Zadig) to configure the correct USB driver.
Once the the WinUSB driver is installed you are ready to run SDR# with the RTL-SDR/USB input device

You will need to do the above to get the RTL-SDR driver copied into the SDR# folder. Without the driver SDR# will not recognize the RTL-SDR in SDR#. You can edit the above batch file to just download the rtl drivers and bypass the sdr#,zadig software. You can also download them directly from here.

A really good SDR# manual is posted here (MANUAL)