When I first started working on a Spectrum Analyzer design I needed some way to check the sweep ranges of the local oscillator, and output of stages. Since some of these were in the 100s of MHz., my oscilloscope would not be enough, and my frequency counter could not follow the frequency when doing a sweep. I had used one of the inexpensive RTl_SDR dongles before, and they had worked fairly well. I recently saw an ad for a 'HackRF One' on AliExpress with a TCXO for under $70. This unit covers from 1MHz. to 6GHz., can do 20 Million Samples per Second, and can be used as a transmitter as well as receiver. I have seen it available bundled with a selection of antennas, accessories and in a case for over $300.
Delivery time was only about two weeks. Looking at the board I was impressed with the quality. and I liked the fact that it used SMA connectors for the antenna, and oscillator in and out connectors.
The one from AliExpress was the board only, so I would need to make a case for it. After some quick measurements, I modified one of my standard case designs to fit.
I decided to use a one piece design with guide slots for the circuit board. I have found this to be very solid, and makes mounting circuit boards very easy. I printed it using some Carbon Fiber filled filament I had on hand. Don't think the Carbon Fiber pieces in the filament are long enough to do any shielding, but it sure looks nice.
Next I designed and printed a front and back for the case. After putting it all together it makes a very nice looking unit. A little taller than the ones I have seen with some of the complete units, but still a very nice case that will give good protection to the board. Still in the process of trying several of the different SDR software packages that support the HackRF. Will write up something on them a little later.
For anyone interested, I have the .stl files available at
Meanwhile still waiting on some of the parts needed for the 'TinySA' to arrive. I think the Chinese holiday delayed everything.