RTL SDR Passive cooling using thermal pad and old CPU cooler.

As the temperature in my shack can be between 25 and 35 C on the warmer days I decided to make a cooler for on of my ADS-B DVB-T SDR dongles. This because I found out that the dongle I use for receiving ADS-B signals becomes very hot at times. I found a method and a reason to try this on RTL-SDR.com describing the use of thermal pad. Ordered some at Aliexpress as I wanted to try this myself. Yesterday the order arrived so I could make a start with it. I have some old CPU coolers laying around so I decided to use one of them to attach the SDR dongle to.

Snipped some of the thermal pad, one piece as big as the dongle and 2 smaller pieces covering the 2 chips on the other side. Though only one of them is getting hot I decided to cover both with a small piece acting as protection too. I then used some tie wraps to fix the dongle to the cooler.
The cooler does a perfect job. It is getting only hand warm, and the dongle itself is definitely colder than before.

RTL SDR Passive cooling using thermal pad and old CPU cooler
SDR Passive cooling

As prices at Aliexpress change rapidly it is better to search for the cheapest offer yourself. Use “Cooling Conductive Silicone Pad” as search words and you will find the blue thermal pad. It is offered in pieces of 10 x 10 cm but take care, you want 1 piece of 10 x 10 cm, 2 mm thick, not the precut (15 x 15 mm) offers.

Check my ADS-B Receiver to see the reception at my location.

Lucky ADS-B Reception?

I have several ADS-B receivers running at the moment, 3 Raspberry Pi boards using DVB-T SDR dongles. When checking on of the receivers I saw there was a black stripe in the reception pattern. It was pointing east and could mean I received a real long distance position, about 325 NM or about 600 Km.

ADS-B 325 Nautical Mile Reception
ADS-B 325 Nautical Mile Reception

The antenna used is a collinear dipole like in the picture below. Very simple antenna but also very effective. The antenna is at about 7,5 meter in the house at the top floor.

ADS-B Collinear Dipole Antenna
ADS-B Collinear Dipole Antenna