Last Updated on November 25, 2023 by KC7NYR

December 3, 2018 Using SDR dongles with Linux – Part 1, Introduction. (KC7MM)

Using SDR dongles with Linux

Discussion thread for the Linux User Net
Part 1: Introduction

Topic for December 3, 2018 (KC7MM, NCS)


Receive and digitally process RF signals

Satellites: AMSATs, weather
Computer-based spectrum analyser, panadapter
Scanning bands


Start with a device that receives signals and digitizes them, and then inputs them to a computer (usually via USB).

Based on the Realtek RTL2832U
24 – 1766 MHz
$22 on Amazon
Linux software: rtl-sdr package in Mint, contains rtl_fm utility (documented at link)
FUNcube Pro+ Designed to work with the FUNcube satellite — an AMSAT-UK project (AO-73).
HackRF One Transmits as well as receives.
Airspy Comes with Linux software for multiple platforms, including Raspberry Pi. Servers located worldwide.


A first look at some client software.

gqrx client software
Is in Mint repository
YouTube video page — there are lots of videos
APRS reception
Is basically a user interface; uses GNU Radio for radio functions (see below).

GNU Radio

Performs all the signal processing for SDR.

Main Web site
Wiki main page
Live Ubuntu bootable image for experimentation: GNU Radio Live SDR Environment
GNU Radio Companion: a graphical tool for creating signal flow graphs and generating flow-graph source code (Python)
Works well in Python programs.


Getting Started with GNU Radio and RTL-SDR on Linux (Kali) June 2012
RTL-SDR FM Radio Receiver With GNU Radio Companion. [Instructables]
Detailed HOWTO
Author uses Arch
Simple FM Band Spectrum Analyzer
Quickstart SDR with gqrx, GNU Radio and the RTL-SDR dongle
Building an antenna and receiving ham and shortwave stations with SDR
HF bands
Requires an upconverter ($35)
Multi-channel RTL-SDR support from MATLAB, GNU Radio and Python Write a program for processing real-time radio signals.

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