Hurricane Florence coming! You’ve all seen weather radios and you’ve all seen they generally cost $50 or more. On a good day you can find one for $35 or so.
The goal is to receive NOAA which transmits on the following 7 frequencies. There will be one or two specific to your area. The frequencies below are in MegaHertz (MHz).
In New Bern, NC, where I am the frequency transmitted on is 162.400 MHz on KEC84 and is referred to as WX Channel 1 on most radios. Almost all household radios and such do not receive in the range of 160 MHz or so. FM radios stop at about 108 MHz.
So, if you have a laptop you can buy one of these RTL-SDR devices for $23. Simply plug it into a laptop with the included antenna attached.
Now to download a program to run the RTL-SDR device. Go to here and download the Windows SDR Software Package. Unzip the files into a directory of your choice and run the SDRSharp.exe file.
NOTE: When you first install the RTL-SDR device you may need to reinstall a driver for it. It will indeed install a driver but it isn’t the right one. These are actually TV devices for PAL TV (European Standard) but to use it as a Software Radio it need another driver. Download the Zadig driver from here. Then install it.
CLICK ON OPTIONS AND CLICK ON LIST ALL DEVICES, THEN SELECT BULK-In Interface. In the left hand driver box it will say RTL something something. Click “Reinstall Driver” My box below is what it looks like after the successful installation.
Now install the rtl-sdr device. Go to the folder where you unzipped SDRSharp and double click the file “install-rtlsdr”
Now set the correct device and increase the gain. Select “RTLSDR USB” then make sure the device block is populated. Also the gain is set at the weakest setting. Click the little gear looking thing to see all this. Slide the RF Gain slider at the bottom of the pop up box until you get a good strong signal on the NOAA channel. Profit.
Meanwhile, back in SDR#
Now tune to 162. 400 MHz and click the play arrow.
And you now have a $23 weather radio.