List of SDRSharp Plugins

There are a number of SDRSharp plugins that extend its functionality. Here is a collection of all the plugins and download links that we know of.

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Review: Airspy vs. SDRplay RSP vs. HackRF

When people consider upgrading from the RTL-SDR, there are three mid priced software defined radios that come to most peoples minds: The Airspy, the SDRplay RSP and the HackRF.  These three are all in the price range of $150 to $300 USD. In this post we will review the three units and compare them against each other on various tests.


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Decoding DRM Radio

Digital Radio Monodial (DRM) radio is a type of digital shortwave radio signal that is used by international shortwave radio broadcasters. It provides superior audio quality compared to AM signals by using digital audio encoding. With an upconverter, good antenna, and decoding software the RTL-SDR software defined radio can receive and decode DRM signals.

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Listening to TETRA Radio

Use your RTL-SDR in Linux to listen to TETRA, a digital trunked radio communications system that stands for “Terrestrial Trunked Radio”.

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Roundup of Software Defined Radios

New software defined radio (SDR) products are popping up every few months these days so we thought we’d compile a big list of available SDRs.

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Analyzing GSM with Airprobe/GR-GSM and Wireshark

The RTL-SDR software defined radio can be used to analyze cellular phone GSM signals, using Linux based tools GR-GSM (or Airprobe) and Wireshark.

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The BIG List of RTL-SDR Supported Software

There are now dozens of software defined radio packages that support the ultra cheap RTl-SDR. In this post we will attempt to list, categorize and provide a brief overview of each software program.

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Cheap AIS Ship Tracking

Large ships and passenger boats are required to broadcast an identification signal containing position, course, speed, destination, and vessel dimension information to help prevent sea collisions. This system is known as the “Automatic Identification System” or AIS for short. AIS can be decoded with an RTL-SDR dongle and right software.

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Receiving ACARS Airplane Data

ACARS is an acronym for Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System and is a digital communications system that aircraft use to send and receive short messages to and from ground stations. With an RTL-SDR these messages can be decoded.

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Receiving Meteor-M N2 LRPT Weather Satellite Images

The Meteor-M N2 is a polar orbiting Russian weather satellite. With an RTL-SDR an appropriate antenna, you can receive and decode its image downlink and download LRPT weather satellite images.

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HackRF Receiving HRPT Weather Satellite Images

On Twitter user @uhf_satcom has been using a HackRF software defined radio together with GNU Radio, a tracking L-Band antenna and this HRPT decoding software to receive and decode HRPT weather satellite images. He used GNU Radio to output to a .RAW16 file, which the HRPT decoding software was then able to use to produce an image.



HRPT is a picture transmission protocol which stands for High Resolution Picture Transmission. There are multiple satellites which broadcast weather images in this format including the NOAA, GOES, Metop-A and Feng Yun satellites. These satellites transmit HRPT at about 1.7 GHz.

@uhf_satcom also tried to receive these images with the RTL-SDR, but was unsuccessful. But you can still receive the lower resolution APT weather satellite images using the RTL-SDR.

Below are some examples of the images he was able to receive.

hrpt_hackrf1_thumb hrptdata_noaa19a_thumb

Update: This is an image of the L-band antenna he used.


  1. guest2

    What are the odds you could use a small ceramic patch antenna similar to those in GPS or Iridium devices to receive these signals?

  2. Mike

    Also, looking at the HackRF’s specs, it looks like it should be able to do both HRPT and CDMA easily! Too bad I missed the boat earlier. :(

    • admin

      Thanks for the info Mike. If you missed out on the HackRF kickstarter there’s always the BladeRF which is similarly speced and priced as the HackRF.

  3. Mike

    Everything I’ve read says that the RTL-2832U has a nominal SAMPLE rate of 2.8 megaSAMPLES per second–big difference from megaCYCLES. Under certain circumstances (I’ve somehow skimmed over what they are), it can be maxed out at 3.2 MSps. Since this is the sample rate for the A/D converter, your Nyquist limit is half that, thus 1.4 MHz nominal to 1.6 MHz max, and, for practical purposes, you should stay somewhat under this so we’ll call it 1 MHz (that’s 1,000 KHz for those of you who think HF is not DC :P). Also remember this is USB-2 so you’re limited by that as well as bus rate and contention since this is semi-realtime.

    In any case (and maybe Corgan can reply to this if he’s still watching) I’m guessing this is also the reason why GSM can be received, but CDMA (IS-95) can’t.

    Oh, and finally, the R820T and E4000 are the TUNER chips and only set where the device can tune; the problem here is almost certainly with the RTL-2832u itself.

    • Null

      You are correct in regards to the sample rate however they use quadrature sampling ( that is they take 2 sample and in phase and out of phase sample ). So the effective sample rate is actually 5.6 MSPS. By doing this you are able to increase the available bandwidth without increasing the sample clock. So yes the sample rate is 2.8 MSPS but correcting for the effects quadrature sampling the available bandwidth is also 2.8MHz with out violating the Nyquist rate.

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