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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Cheap ADS-B Aircraft RADAR

Modern planes use something called an ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast) Mode-S transponder, which periodically broadcasts location and altitude information to air traffic controllers. The RTL-SDR can be used to listen to these ADS-B signals, which can then be used to create your very own home aircraft radar system.

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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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Decoding Inmarsat STD-C EGC Messages

With an RTL-SDR dongle, a cheap $10 modified GPS antenna or 1-2 LNA’s and a patch, dish or helix antenna you can listen to Inmarsat satellite signals, and decode the STD-C NCS channel which contains information such as search and rescue (SAR) and coast guard messages as well as news, weather and incident reports.

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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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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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RTL-SDR for Budget Radio Astronomy

With the right additional hardware, the RTL-SDR software defined radio can be used as a super cheap radio telescope for radio astronomy experiments such as observing the Hydrogen Line and meteor detection.

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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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JAERO: A RTL-SDR compatible decoder for Inmarsat AERO signals

AERO is a system that provides a L-Band satellite based version of VHF ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System). ACARS is typically used by ground control and pilots to send short messages and is also sometimes used for telemetry. With JAERO and an RTL-SDR these signals can be decoded.

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RTL-SDR/HackRF Live DVD

If you’ve been wanting to use your RTL-SDR or HackRF on Linux, but didn’t know how to or couldn’t be bothered installing all the software, there is now a live DVD downloadable thanks to Reddit user rtl_sdr_is_fun. With a live DVD you can boot into an Ubuntu OS (with many pre-installed SDR related programs) directly from the DVD without the need to install anything.

The Live DVD is only available for 64-bit CPUs.

See more information about the Live CD and the software it contains in this release note, and see the Reddit thread here.

Direct Download:

http://files.persona.cc/linux/ubuntu/ubuntu-12.04.2-custom-sdr-amd64.iso

Torrent: (seeded by server and supports webseed)

http://files.persona.cc/linux/ubuntu/ubuntu-12.04.2-custom-sdr-amd64.iso.torrent

22 comments

  1. Ron Webb

    I am still in the learning phase but I have come to the realization that I need a version of Gnuradio less than 3.7 as many add-ons no longer work after 3.6. I was initially trying to build Gnuradio using Pybombs on Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and setting “git checkout gr-3.6.” This was failing because it is wanting Zeroc ICE 3.4.2 but the repository for this level is 3.5 and 3.4.2 fails if building from source. I then tried Ubuntu 10.04… it won’t do Zeroc ICE 3.4.2 either, maxing out at 3.4.1. Unfortunately, I am having problems downloading this image file. I get a failure if trying to download via http and I tried torrent and it is EXTREMELY slow… I’ve had a near continuous download speed of 3-5 MB/s but so far, I only have 1.68GB downloaded and 276 GB of corrupted data!!!

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  3. JhM

    Are you taking orders? I would like a 32 bit iso with the following packages:
    (1) http://www.backtrack-linux.org/wiki/index.php/DECT_Sniffing_Dedected This bit of goodness should be standard on Kali Linux. It needs re-working so the hardware (with a downconverter) could be a software defined radio instead of a wireless adaptor.
    (1) http://www.rtl-sdr.com/rtl-sdr-radio-scanner-tutorial-decoding-digital-voice-p25-with-dsd/
    with this on your iso I could listen to unencrypted digital!

  4. Tim

    Great work! However, I am trying to find a similar iso with OpenBTS precompiled and installed. This has been the crux for me and Ettus cut OpenBTS from their live USB after v.1. Any ways to do this or know where I may find something like this?

  5. Cap In Hand :)

    Hi,
    having messed around trying to get a fully working setup for RTL SDR and Gnu Radio under Ubuntu for several days now,
    this distro looks like *exectly* what I need. Good work ! However….

    PLEASE can we have a 32 bit version ?

    Pretty please ?

    Feel free to make it beerware :)

    thanks

  6. i2NDT, Claudio

    HELP!!!
    I have downloaded the ISO (2.11 GB) and burnt a DVD. When I boot from the DVD I can load the OS but I don’t see any trace of GNUradio or other programs! My PC is an ACER ASPIRE 5734Z which usually runs under win 7 64bit…

    • admin

      Hi, GNU Radio Companion is under Programming->GRC. It can also be opened from the terminal with ‘gnuradio-companion’. Most programs open via the terminal. GQRX can be opened from the command line with ‘gqrx’. Look in /rofs/usr/local/bin for the other programs.

  7. Andrew

    I think is more bothered download your iso, not install the software with a simple apt-get on my linux box.
    In a few days, exit Windows 10 continue to use this useless OS.

  8. sudol

    I have downloaded and tried running live DVD, it works fine. But not able to install from DVD as not further response after selecting install. what should I do?

  9. rtlsdr_is_fun

    Hi Georges, I’m the creator of the LiveDVD, unfortunately I had some trouble building some of the tools on 32-bit version, but I will try again in the near future. I cannot guarantee if or when it will be released though.

    • Vaidhya

      Thanks A lots for the DVD, I tried to install GNU Radio using parallels in my mac. It is such a pain in the ass.
      It always gives me some or other error.
      I really appreciate your work.

      • rwb

        @Vaidhya:
        At least one sdr program gqrx works on a Mac, with no need to compile it. I downloaded my copy of gqrx-2.2.0 from http://sourceforge.net/projects/gqrx/ – double-clicked the .dmg file, dropped it into Applications, and then ran it. No sweat. It’s the only one that I’ve found that works, so far, lacks some of the features, but works very well with my cheap Chinese 820T device.

        @rtlsdr_is_fun:
        Thanks for your work on this dvd, and for the explanation. I hope that others can, and will, help us non-programmers with this issue. Which leads me to….

        @The Online Community:
        Now I’m looking for a 32-bit live [and installable] sdr DVD for my old laptop. Is anyone else working on such a thing? Lots of people still own old computers – mine is only a few years old, and still looks like new – and many are banging their heads on walls over the problems in trying to overcome the problems encountered in compiling rtlsdr software for 32-bit.

        Any takers? :-)

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