Metal cased dongles


I noticed that there are some new R820T2 dongles available with TCXO in a nice metal casing with SMA connector: … in-amazon/

If I didn’t already have a several spare dongles I’d probably get one of these to try it out. Not sure how much difference the casing and extra grounding will make to noise, but it should be better than one in a plastic casing.


Here is another one on Amazon. I like to try this one out.


In this instance, it is just the metal case and not the tuner/demodulator board. Basically, once takes the board out of the NOELEC plastic case and into the metal enclosure.


I have tested the T2 nooelec dongles in four configurations. Stock with plastic case, metal cased, open air, and open air with heatsinks. No notable differnce in 1090 results. If you are in a RF noisy environment, your results may vary…



I wouldn’t expect it to make a huge difference for ads-b, but it might help with lowering the noise floor slightly. The TCXO is nice for more general use as it will be pretty close to accurate for tuning and the SMA connecter is going to be more robust than an MCX connector. It’s probably not worth buying one to replace an existing dongle, but might be nice for a new setup.


How handy are you with a soldering iron?

I have made some of the mods on this page including removing the IR components and adding the SMD capacitor filters(scroll down about half way for casing/screening the RF stages).
Mine does show an improved response similar to Martin’s screenshots.



I bought a few of the cases($17) before I realised that I could get the (TXCO)2+ with metal case for $34(on special) on the nooelec website.
I am close to several Cell towers so the cases may help a little.

The newer RTL store models with grounding look interesting.

I also have metal cases for the RPI2s that I need to use.
even have some ferrite chokes I will use on the power leads and maybe USB cables.


I am currently running two of these and love them. After seeing the sale price just ordered one more. (US$37.95 that’s with shipping included) They are even seeing about changing the black case to blue for me so I have all three different colors they offer. :mrgreen: … -plus.html

Just a heads up for those looking to purchase one:
Ordering one from Amazon you end up paying about US$25.00 more than ordering one directly at this time.
Even when not on sale it comes to about US$10.00 less ordering direct.

The case itself is also on sale directly from NooElec and is currently on sale for US$11.95. … e-187.html

Now just waiting for the Ham It Up to go on sale…


why not simply the spyverter :slight_smile:


jprochazka, Do you use the second dongle for UAT978?

Nice to see other Hams on the sight.

caius, the SMA connector should be better than the MCX. Saves having to add an adapter.


Something to look into didn’t know they made one. Would be about the same price once a case is added to the Ham It Up.

Second one is running to receive UAT. Honestly need a couple more being I want to get a feeder set up at mom and pops house which is much closer to the local regional airport here. Their house is a bit more out in the “country” with very little interference and only a couple neighboring houses around so I will more than likely go with plastic cased ones for that to save a few bucks or maybe a couple of those RTL-SDR Dongles mentioned in the first post going for around the same price as the NooElec NESDR Mini 2+ on sale. As for Ham I would be very new to it going into to lower frequencies to look around has been something I have been meaning to do at some point especially if I can get an up converter for a bargain price.


yup - here you’ll find a good overview:


If it’s simple & cheap overall screening you are after, try this with copper tape … lding.html

other ideas

Realistically, it’s the RF section on the dongle that wants taking care of and simply screening the whole thing isn’t getting the best from it.




Like the simple use of “copper slug tape”!

With a generic USB dongle receiver, would it be simply a case of cracking the case open, lining with the tape, then putting back together?


It may well work OK, I’ve not tried it. The example above simply wrapped it over the outside.

Here is the next level, if you are up to a bit of fine soldering and fettlin’ (near the bottom of the thread)



There are some very clever dongle enclosure modifications around, like these

I have never tried this, I suppose another way is simply wrapping thick tin foil around the plastic casing of the dongle and putting a few holes for cooling. It got me thinking though when I first came across some of the designs.
The main reason why i have not tried this is that I assume that using a power usb feeder cable for the dongle is prime suspect for picking up stray rf through the ground connection as normally these have a screen braid. The braid or the ground of the power cable feeding the dongle itself makes a perfect unbalanced antenna aka receiving antenna for broardcast FM stations and cell phone systems.
I can only guess that a metal enclosure for the rtl alone would add to the surface area of the “phantom antenna system” making it more efficient and adding to the problems of receiving unwanted transmissions.
Perhaps this may be improved by putting the usb extension cable and the dongle in a shielded box or use a metal enclosed dongle direct in the pi or somehow cutting or disconnecting the braid from making contact with the usb shell of the feed cable or ferrite beads may help a lot.

There are commercial dongle enclosures but I recall Some users of the ham it up hf upconverter were plagued by poor grounding contact due to the enclosure having a coating applied to it.

As said, I have not tried any of the above, just a few ideas to share.

Later Edit.
Searching the net ,I have just found this interesting write up


Hey Guys - I had a significant increase in messages recieved, aircraft seen, and range upgrading from the NON-TXCO NooElec dongle - which I had put in a metal case - to the new RTL dongle with TXCO and Ground tracks.

I did see an immediate improvement - but it’s hard to exactly categorize because the improvement increased further the next day when I also changed from Fa-dump1090 to dump1090-mutability