Search results for: AISrec

AISRec Updated to Version 2.1

AISRec is an RTL-SDR (and now Airspy) compatible AIS (automatic identification system) dual channel decoder. AIS is an acronym for Automatic Identification System and is a system used by ships to broadcast position and vessel information. By monitoring AIS transmissions with the RTL-SDR we can build a boat radar system.

Last time we tried AISRec we found its performance to be very good, with it decoding more messages than other software we tried. The new version includes the following updates:

  • Added auto detection of devices when devices are plugged in.
  • Added the support for airspy. Allow selection of devices by serial number for rtlsdr dongles.
  • Added AISRec core 3.0. The new core is 2x faster than AISRec core 2.0.
  • Added one embedded multi-user TCP server. Any client works with AISRec should implement auto reconnection.
  • Added auto display of local IP for the TCP server.
  • Added one output to one serial port.
  • Added interactive changes of gain parameters for devices.
  • A few changes on GUI.
  • Added an icon for GUI. Users should reset the windows icon buffer to allow the display of the new icon.

In addition, while AISRec hopes to be commercial software one day, at the moment they are currently offering free registration. See their FAQ for information on registering for free.

AISRec running with OpenCPN.
AISRec running with OpenCPN.

AISRec: Windows and Android AIS Decoder

Back in 2015 we posted about the free trial version of AISRec a few times, but we never really saw a full completed version get released. So far this year the full version is still not released, but the programmer Jane Feverlay has created a website and uploaded the latest Windows version of their trial version software

AISRec is an RTL-SDR compatible AIS decoder that is made for Windows and Android. AIS is an acronym for Automatic Identification System and is a system used by ships to broadcast position and vessel information. By monitoring AIS transmissions with the RTL-SDR we can build a boat radar system. We have a tutorial on this here (using other software).

The last time we tried AISRec we found that it had very good ability at decoding AIS messages, especially very weak ones and was by far the easiest AIS decoder to set up and use on Windows. The features include:

1. Work with all rtlsdr dongles. Allow future support for other SDR devices.
2. Stable reception of AIS signals at as low as SNR 7 dB.
3. Tolerance to frequency drifts > 30 ppm.
4. Dual-channel reception at 161.975 MHz and 162.025 MHz.
5. Channel selectivity > 56 dB.
6. Low CPU usage. No problem for Atom CPU and above.
7. Output all types of AIS messages (including Class A and Class B) in NMEA formats to UDP ports.
8. Convertion of AIVDM to AIVDO messages for your own ship.
9. Display of the received NMEA messages and the statistics.

The author of AISRec writes in an email to us an explains that the trial version has a time limit and an RX message count limit for each run, whereas the registered lite version will not. The pro version will have some additional features. Currently the author has no method for taking in paid registrations, but plans to have this ready in the future. We will post again once registration is available.

AISRec Running with OpenCPN
AISRec Running with OpenCPN


AISRec for Android: New AIS Decoder

Back in December last year we posted about Jane feverlay’s work on his software called AISRec, which was a Windows AIS decoder for the RTL-SDR that he had developed.

AIS is an acronym for Automatic Identification System and is a system used by ships to broadcast position and vessel information. By monitoring AIS transmissions with the RTL-SDR we can build a boat radar system. We have a tutorial on this here.

Now from YouTube it looks as though Jane has developed a new Android version of AISRec which he describes as a high performance dual-channel AIS receiver for use with a single RTL-SDR dongle. The features of AISRec include:

1. Functions include AIS and GPS NMEA I/O, from/to USB devices and serial ports (special android devices with serial ports).
2. It supports TCP server and UDP forwarding jointly or independently for AIS and GPS.
3. It supports steaming in WIFI in AP or station modes and Ethernet.
4. It supports auto run on boot for especially rooted devices.

He also writes that AISRec also has companion implementations for Windows desktop and metro, Linux on Raspberry Pi 2 and the Radxa pro.

Unfortunately, at the moment there does not seem to be a link available to download the software and the video may only be a preview. The video does link to his Taobao shop at (in Chinese use Google Translate), which is where he might release the software when it is ready.

New Windows AIS Decoder For the RTL-SDR: AISRec

Over on YouTube user Jane feverlay has uploaded a video showing a new AIS decoder called AISRec for Windows that he has developed.

AIS is an acronym for Automatic Identification System and is a system used by ships to broadcast position and vessel information. By monitoring AIS transmissions with the RTL-SDR we can build a boat radar system. We have a tutorial on this here.

The new software is not free, but he offers a trial version that limits the run time to 20 minutes and 5000 max messages. The paid version removes these limits and also decodes both AIS channels simultaneously. The program monitors data from the RTL-SDR and sends decoded data out via UDP. Software such as OpenCPN can then be used to display the AIS data on a map.

We tested the trial version on our machine and found that it worked well at decoding AIS messages. To download the trial go to and enter the code kn44. The download site is in Chinese, but it is obvious where to enter the code. We found the software to be virus free, but remember to always scan unknown software like this yourself. The full price of the software is unknown, but purchasing instructions are given in the trial download readme. The author also writes that his software now supports the Airspy, but not in the trial version.

Note that we discovered that the software doesn’t use a PPM correction setting as expected. Instead it uses a frequency shift setting. To set the shift in the AISRec.ini file, we had to calculate freqshift = 162.025 MHz  – frequency of the second AIS channel as shown in SDR# with no PPM correction set.

Another similar software program that was released earlier is PNAis.

AIS-Catcher: A Dual Band Multiplatform AIS Receiver for RTL-SDR and Airspy HF+ with Multiple Decoding Models

Thank you to Jasper for writing in and letting us know about the release of his new open source software called "AIS-Catcher". AIS-Catcher is a MIT licensed dual band AIS receiver for Linux, Windows and Raspberry Pi. It is compatible with RTL-SDR dongles and the Airspy HF+.

AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and is used by marine vessels to broadcast their GPS locations in order to help avoid collisions and aide with rescues. An RTL-SDR with the right software can be used to receive and decode these signals, and plot ship positions on a map.

Jasper notes that his software was intended to be a platform for him to experiment with different receiving model algorithms. On the GitHub readme he explains how he's experimented with a coherent demodulation model that estimates the phase offset, a non-coherent model which is similar to what most existing decoders use, a modified non-coherent model with aggressive PLL, and an FM discriminator model which assumes the input is the output of an FM discriminator.

The readme goes on to show some comparison results indicating that the coherent model is the best although it uses 20% more computation time. He also compares AIS-Catcher against some other AIS decoders like AISRec and rtl-ais, showing that AIS-Catcher appears to be comparable or better than AISRec, which is one of the most sensitive decoders available for SDR dongles.

A Windows binary is provided on the releases page and compilation instructions for Linux are provided on the Github Readme.

Some results from AIS-Catcher. Different algorithms and different software compared.

Using Aisdecoder to decode both AIS channels simultaneously

Recently SV3EXP wrote in to let us know that he has been documenting his experiences with trying to get aisdecoder to decode both AIS channels simultaneously. AIS stands for Automatic Identification System, and is a system used to track the locations of marine vessels. With an RTL-SDR or other SDR radio, and appropriate decoder software you can plot ship positions on a map. As the AIS system uses two separate channels for redundancy, you can get a faster and more reliable update rate if you monitor and decode both channels.

On his blog SV3EXP shows how he uses Linux and the “demod” and “csdr” tools to demodulate multiple channels at the same time from IQ data generated by rtl_fm. The demodulated data is then fed to the aisdecoder software for decoding, and then fed to aisdispatcher for feeding the AIS data aggregation website.

Of course the easier solution to decode both AIS channels at once is to use decoding software that already supports this, such as AISdeco2 or AISrec which can be downloaded at, and respectively. But regardless SV3EXP’s method does show an interesting way to demodulate multiple streams using only command line tools.

SV3EXP also wanted to point out that he is selling a bias tee powered PSA4-5043+ based LNA on eBay which is compatible with the bias tee on our RTL-SDR Blog SDR units.

AISHub Coverage Areas
AISHub Coverage Areas

Using AIS Share, OpenCPN and an RTL-SDR on a Sailboat

AIS Share is an app for Android that allows you to turn an Android device into an AIS receiver by using an RTL-SDR. AIS stands for Automatic Identification System and is used by ships to broadcast their GPS locations, to help avoid collisions and aid with rescues. An RTL-SDR with the right software can be used to receive and decode these signals, and plot ship positions on a map.

AIS Share is a dual channel decoder that outputs decoded NMEA messages via UDP, so that plotting software like OpenCPN can be used to display the ships on a map. AIS Share had been around before in another form known as rtl_ais_android which we posted before, but this version of AIS Share is a newly updated and improved version that now includes a very nice GUI. The app costs about $2 and is available on the Google Play store, but there is a demo available that will work up until 1000 messages are received. You will need an RTL-SDR and a USB OTG cable to run the app.

Recently the author of the app received word from a user called Harmen who has successfully been using his AIS Share app on his sailboat. Harmen uses the app on an Android tablet which is enclosed in a waterproof box. For an antenna he uses a coax collinear.

In the future the author writes that he’d like to update the app to support things like the ability to change more dongle settings like bandwidth/sample rate and add the possibility of using the internal phone/tablet GPS. He is also open to any community suggestions.

AIS Share Receiver on the sailboat in a waterproof case.
AIS Share Receiver on the sailboat in a waterproof case.
The back of the Android Tablet, showing the RTL-SDR and the antenna connection.
The back of the Android Tablet, showing the RTL-SDR and the antenna connection.
The AIS Share main screen GUI.
The AIS Share main screen GUI.

(Unfortunately the video has been removed)

The BIG List of RTL-SDR Supported Software

There are now dozens of software defined radio packages that support the ultra cheap RTL-SDR. On this page we will attempt to list, categorize and provide a brief overview of each software program. We categorize the programs into general purpose software, single purpose software, research software and software compatible with audio piping.

If you know of a program that is missing please leave a comment in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

13/02/2014 - Added Sodira, gr-wmbus, rtlsdr-waterfall, QTRadio, multimon, sdrangelove, lte-scanner, rtl_tcp, rtl_sdr_FS20_decoder.
17/02/2014 - Updated the Linrad description.
28/04/2014 - Added Modesdeco and Trunk88.
30/05/2014 - Added RTL Panorama, RTL SDR Panoramic Spectrum Analyzer, Chrome Radio Receiver, SeeDeR, DAB Player, RTL SDR Installer, PD/Max Wrapper, SDRWeather, LTR Analyzer, softEOT/softDPU and ScanEyes.
26/07/2014 - Added PiAware, OOK-Decoder, rtl_fm_python, rtl_power heatmap viewer, RTL Bridge, threejs-spectrum, CANFI Software, PNAIS, FLARM Decoder, Xastir, RTLSDR-Airband, SDRTrunk.
13/11/2014 - Added Touchstone, RFAnalyzer, RTL1090 XHSI Interface, Parus Decoder, PlotRTL1090, LRPT Decoder.
05/02/2015 - Added rtl_tool_kit, CubicSDR, OregonWeather, FreqWatch.
15/04/2015 - Added ADSBox, YouSDR, FlightAware Flight Feeder, Frequensea, Track your flight EUROPE, QSpectrumAnalyzer, Doppler & Demod, Redsea, rtl_heatmap, gr-gsm, driveby, SDRecord.
23/12/2015 - Added Remote rtl_udp, AISRec, dump978, AISDeco2, SDRrecorder, OpenWebRX, dsame, RTL-Widespectrum, rtl_ais, rtl_gopow, ham2mon, rtl_ais_android, inmarsatdecoder, spektrum, qtcsdr, rtl_power_fftw, JAERO, GNSS-SDRLIB, SVxLink.
8/09/2017 - Added inspectrum, gr-isdbt, telive, tetra-listener, gr-iridium, SDRuno, luaradio, rx_tools, kukuruku, chronolapse, cloud-sdr, natpos, d3-waterfall, SDRDue, gqrx-ghostbox, ships, rtlmic, tsl-sdr, universal radio hacker, dumpvdl2, re-dected, aerial-tv, questasdr,, spyserver, dspectrumgui, atcsmonitor, NRSC5 HD Radio Decoder, leandvb, imsi-catcher, block stream receiver, salamandra, deinvert, RS.
6/11/2017 - qradiolink
15/06/18 - Zeus Radio
11/01/19 - SCEPTRE
13/01/20 - VDLM2DEC, Blockstream Satellite, TempestSDR, rtlsdr-wsprd, rtl_map, Radwave, radiosonde_auto_rx, XRIT Decoder, SATNOGS, SigintOS, RadioCapture, EMI_Mapper, xrit-rx (KOMSAT 2A), RTLion, WSJT-X, noaa-apt, rtlSpectrum, fingerprinting_radios_w_ML, mySdrPlayback, QO-100_SSB-WebSDR_DATV-WebSpectrum, goestools, SigDigger, Tekmanoid EGC, Scytale-C, PEPYSCOPE, iridium-toolkit, Electrosense, ORBCOMM-receiver, r2cloud, coole-radar, vor-python-decoder, IridiumLive, radio_analyser, DSDPlusUI, retrogram-rtlsdr, vortrack, rtl_power-fm-multipath, glrpt, Spektrum SV Mod, gammaRF, SegDSP, rtl-ultrasound,, OP25, RS41 Tool, TETRA Trunk Tracker, meteor_demod, FreqShow, rtl_tcp SDR, PLSDR, SDR Receiver, Echoes, rtlmm, FM2TXT, cnn-rtlsdr, Meteor Logger.
04/03/21 - SDR++

General Purpose RTL-SDR Software

We define general purpose SDR software as programs that allow the RTL-SDR to work like a normal wideband radio receiver.

SDR# (Windows) (Free)


SDR# (pronounced "SDR Sharp") is the most popular free RTL-SDR compatible software in use at the moment.  It is relatively simple to use compared to other SDR software and has a simple set up procedure. We have a full overview of the installation procedure on our Quick Start Page. SDR# is designed to be use with the $199 Airspy SDR, but works just fine with the RTL-SDR.

SDR# is a simple to use program that also has some advanced features. It has a useful modular plugin type architecture, and many plugins have already been developed by third party developers. The basic SDR# download without any third party plugins includes a standard FFT display and waterfall, a frequency manager, recording plugin and a digital noise reduction plugin. SDR# also decodes RDS signals from broadcast FM.

HDSDR (Windows) (Free)


HDSDR is based on the old WinRAD SDR program. HDSDR supports the RTL-SDR through use of an ExtIO.dll module. To install HDSDR, download the program from the link on the main HDSDR page, then to use the RTL-SDR you will need to download the ExtIO_RTL2832.dll file an place it into the HDSDR folder. When opening HDSDR, select the newly copied ExtIO_RTL2832.dll. The other dlls that come with HDSDR will not work with the RTL-SDR, even though they have RTL-SDR in their filename. The official installation instructions can be found here.

Along with a FFT display and waterfall, HDSDR has some extra advanced features. Users will also find an Audio FFT and waterfall display on the bottom of the screen. The output audio can also be bandpass filtered by dragging the filter borders on the display. Bandpass filtering the audio can really help clean up a noisy signal. The audio processing also supports placing of notch filters either manually or automatically. There are also noise reduction and noise blanker features and an automatic frequency centering algorithm which will automatically center the signal, so you don't need to click exactly in the center of a signal. Traditional ham radio users will also enjoy the S-units signal strength meter and the built in frequency manager.

SDR-RADIO.COM V2/V3 (Windows) (Free)


SDR-RADIO.COM V2 and the newer V3 is a popular SDR program with many advanced features. As such is it a fair amount more difficult to learn and use compared to SDR# and HDSDR. Be sure you install version 2 and not V1.5 as only V2 has RTL-SDR support.

Once sdr-radio is installed, to get it working with the RTL-SDR you will need to compile or download three .dll files (SDRSourceRTL2832U.dll, rtlsdr.dll and libusb-1.0.dll) and place them into the sdr-radio folder. To compile your own dlls see the instructions here, otherwise download the dlls directly from the bottom of this link. If the dlls were placed in the correct folder you will be able to add your RTL-SDR as a receiver by clicking on the +Definitions button, and then finding and adding the RTL SDR (USB) option under the search drop down menu.

Like HDSDR, not only does sdr-radio have a RF FFT signal and waterfall display, but also an optional audio spectrum FFT and waterfall display. Built in are also several DSP features like a noise blanker, noise reduction filter, notch filter and squelch options. The EMNS noise reduction filter is particularly good at automatically cleaning up and clarifying voice signals.

To add to the feature list, sdr-radio also has built in PSK, RTTY and RDS decoders, and also comes with a satellite tracker. Furthermore, sdr-radio V2 (not V3 yet) has an excellent remote server which will allow you to easily set up and connect to a remote RTL-SDR server over a network or the internet. Finally, sdr-radio is capable of listening to up to 6 signals in the same chunk of visible spectrum at a time.

Continue reading