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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Following Trunked Radio with Unitrunker

Follow trunked radio conversations with your RTL-SDR and a program called Unitrunker. Also decode digital communications like P25 and DMR using the Digital Speech Decoder (DSD+) 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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RTL_HPSDR: RTL-SDR to HPSDR Translation Server

The High Performance Software Defined Radio (HPSDR) project is an open source SDR project that aims to create a modular SDR for ham radio use. The idea is that users only need to include the specific HPSDR hardware that they need for their particular application.

Recently, Richard Koch has written a Linux based tool called RTL_HPSDR which allows RTL-SDR based dongles to be used with HPSDR software, such as cuSDR64 which is capable of displaying and controlling up to seven receiver slices simultaneously and PowerSDR which can display and control up to four.

Using his tool Richard was able to get seven R820T RTL-SDR dongles running simultaneously on an EKB311 Quad core ARM Cortex A9 based mini-pc using a USB 2.0 hub with a modified power supply to provide 5V@2A.

Seven RTL-SDR Setup.
Seven RTL-SDR USB Setup
Five RTL-SDR Dongles used with RTL_HPSDR and csSDR64.
Five RTL-SDR Dongles used with RTL_HPSDR and csSDR64
Two RTL-SDR dongles running on PowerSDR.
Two RTL-SDR dongles running on PowerSDR



  1. Carmelo Camacho

    were/how can I find the msvcr100.dll file. I’m total rookie on linux and still learning the lingo. Name is Carmelo from PR,USA call=WP4K.
    Been there done that too. TELECOMM ENGINEERING, in 35yrs(1983-2008) I worked RF-from VLF( USCG) to 33GHZ(ISP),voice,data,VoIP, you named. I’m physically a POS, but the brain keeps me awake and trying to learn some more.

  2. John

    Hello! Great work!
    I can’t seem to get the tuner gain to work properly. No matter what figure I put in there it is the same. I have tried 70 -70 30 -30 -100 100, etc. I am putting it in the rtl_hpsdr.conf using what is in there already as an example. I can see where it verifies my settings. Any ideas?

    Is there a way to avoid the center DC spike? Maybe use the left or right half of the dongle’s bandwidth and avoid the spike. It would be only half the bandwidth but would still be fine. When using PowerSDR, it seems to like having the tuned station right in the center.


  3. Richard Koch

    The RTL devices being USB and cheap are subject to noise and spurs.
    If you google a bit you’ll find various ways to reduce the noise.
    I’ve recently put the USB hub, 7 dongles, an upconverter and an LNA
    in this enclosure:

    I’ve used bypass caps and toroids wrapped around USB to help.
    This signals don’t look bad. This certainly isn’t a QS1R, HPSDR, or Perseus SDR.
    Just a cheap way to make use of multiple receivers.

    Here are 7 simultainiously using cuSDR64:

    I’ve also modified rtl_hpsdr to work with CW SkimSrv using Vasiliy K3IT’s
    HermesIntf.dll plugin which he modified for rtl_hpsdr so it can use up to
    8 dongles to cover 8 bands. This is SkimSrv running on the 7 dongles:

    -Rick / N1GP

  4. Dave Carr

    How did he get Power SDR to work with an RTL based stick?

    The last time I looked there was no EXT IO dll for Power SDR to support the RTL based sticks.

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