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Hardware Buying Guidance

#1
I am totally new to SDR and before I start buying (potentially the wrong) hardware, I'm hoping for some guidance. I currently run HomeAssistant in docker (among many others) on my always on home server. I'm hoping to use SDR to feed some sensor values to my HA instance.
Specifically, I'm hoping to;
  • read sensor states on the 345Mhz wavelength from my existing security system wireless sensors
  • read values from my utility meters (power, water, and natural gas) which I believe broadcast in the 902-928MHz range
  • read values from temperature/humidity sensors and weather stations on the 433MHz band.

What am I likely to need to achieve these goals? Preferably, I would like to the software side in docker on my always on sever (with unRAID as the platform) but I also have a raspberry Pi I can devote to the project. Will I need more than one SDR dongle? Multiple antennas?

I appreciate any guidance that can be provided.
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#2
(10-01-2021, 04:06 PM)mikedm139 Wrote: I am totally new to SDR and before I start buying (potentially the wrong) hardware, I'm hoping for some guidance. I currently run HomeAssistant in docker (among many others) on my always on home server. I'm hoping to use SDR to feed some sensor values to my HA instance.
Specifically, I'm hoping to;
  • read sensor states on the 345Mhz wavelength from my existing security system wireless sensors
  • read values from my utility meters (power, water, and natural gas) which I believe broadcast in the 902-928MHz range
  • read values from temperature/humidity sensors and weather stations on the 433MHz band.

What am I likely to need to achieve these goals? Preferably, I would like to the software side in docker on my always on sever (with unRAID as the platform) but I also have a raspberry Pi I can devote to the project. Will I need more than one SDR dongle? Multiple antennas?

I appreciate any guidance that can be provided.

Your need for multiple dongles depends on how much you want to be listening to the various signals, and how much you can wait between receiving said signals. Your utility/climate sensors broadcast at regular intervals and you can probably afford to hop around bands to listen to each in sequence. Your security system is the wildcard - you don't want to miss notifications/broadcasts from those sensors. That means you'll probably need 2. I've been recommending the NooElec v4 bundle - you actually just missed a giveaway for it here on the forum. The bundle includes 3 antennas. I also wrote a blog post about getting started with SDR with 3 quick examples of what you can do with one.

I know there are people running rtl_433 in a docker container for HA. I personally keep it separate but that's just me. I'm not really a huge fan of docker. Far prefer LXC containers and full on VMs for when I need to pass through USB devices. I use Proxmox for my virtualization stuff.

For antenna, you can probably get the 433/915 ISM stuff with the same antenna. 345 is a bit off and not a close multiple of any of the others. This also fits the needs - where you need an always-on for your security system and can hop the other two.
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