Category: RTL-SDR

New SDR# Plugin Adds Support for Contour Shuttle USB Controllers

Contour ShuttlePro V2
Contour ShuttlePro V2

The Contour Shuttle Express and Pro V2 are USB controller accessories for PCs. They consist of a knob-like wheel with multiple buttons and they are designed as a keyboard replacement for improving the productivity of video/photo editors. However, several people have found them useful for controlling software defined radio receiver programs like SDR#.

Recently SDR# plugin developer Eddie Mac has released a new SDR# plugin that provides native support for the Shuttle devices from within SDR# itself. The plugin allows you to dynamically map the Shuttle's buttons and wheels to functions within SDR#.

Eddie also writes:

There was no wrapper available for Contours Windows SDK so I created a managed .NET wrapper around contours dll. If anyone wants to develop their own software for these devices I will happily provide them with my .NET wrapper for free as well as a demo app to instruct on its usage.

Contour Shuttle Plugin for SDR#
Contour Shuttle Plugin for SDR#

YouTube Tutorial: Software Set up for a Portable Raspberry Pi and RTL-SDR Based NOAA Weather Satellite Receiver

Last year in December we posted about Matt's element14 sponsored video which showed us how to create a portable briefcase contained NOAA satellite received based on a Raspberry Pi and RTL-SDR dongle. The build consisted of a heavy duty briefcase, modified ATX PSU and stripped down LCD monitor panel. This build resulted in a rugged and portable receiver. The full series of videos demonstrating the briefcase, ATX PSU conversion, LCD teardown, and NOAA satellite receiver demo can be found on his YouTube Playlist.

In his latest video Matt goes over the software installation procedure for creating an automated NOAA weather satellite receiver on the Raspberry Pi. He uses gpredict for predicting the satellite passes, and the Raspberry Pi version of WXtoImg for decoding the images. The rest of the video shows how to set up the software for your particular location, and how to set up decoding automation.

How To Set Up a Raspberry Pi as a NOAA Satellite Receiver with RTL-SDR

rtl_map: A Simple FFT Visualizer for RTL-SDR

Thank you to 'KeyLo99' for submitting news of the release of his new RTL-SDR based program called rtl_map. rtl_map is a currently a simple app that uses an RTL-SDR to display an FFT frequency graph. It is based on the gnuplot and fftw3 libraries.

Over on our forums KeyLo99 describes the motivation behind the project as mostly being a good reference program for people wanting to learn how to read and process IQ data from the RTL-SDR:

I'm a RTL-SDR researcher and DSP learner currently working on a project for properly figuring RTL2832 and I/Q fundamentals out. The project is about reading raw I/Q samples, processing samples and creating FFT graph from them. I tried to explain what I'm doing in detail with comment lines. I'm hoping that I will be helpful to RTL-SDR beginners with this rtl_map [C] project. Another purpose of the rtl_map project is making a frequency scanner application for signal security researches.

FFT Plot from rtl_map
FFT Plot from rtl_map

Running GQRX Smoothly on an Intel Compute Stick with a Custom Linux Kernel

Thank you to M Khanfar for submitting news about his custom Linux kernel which allows an RTL-SDR and GQRX to run smoothly and with sound on an Intel Compute Stick. The Intel Compute Stick is a full dongle based computer the size of a pack of gum with pricing that starts from US$120. It has a Quad Core Atom Processor, 2GB RAM, 32 GB of built in storage and an HDMI out port. By default the stick comes with Windows 10 installed, but M Khanfar notes that it is very sluggish.

Instead of the sluggish Windows 10 OS, M Khanfar decided that he wanted to run Ubuntu Linux instead. However he found that the standard Ubuntu image did not have support for audio over HDMI or WiFi on the Compute stick. So he built his own custom kernel with some patches to fix this issue. With the issue fixed, GQRX with an RTL-SDR now runs smoothly with full audio support, and rtl_tcp can also be run over WiFi.

M Khanfar has uploaded the patched ISO to his Google Drive here.

Update 29 January 2019: M Khanfar has updated us and noted that CubicSDR now works on the custom kernel too, and he has provided full installation instructions here. A video showing it in action can be seen on YouTube.

GQRX under Custom Kernel-Intel Computer Stick

Video Tutorial: Using Universal Radio Hacker, an RTL-SDR and a Microcontroller to Clone 433 MHz Remotes

Over on YouTube user hubmartin has uploaded a video showing how to use an RTL-SDR and the Universal Radio Hacker (URH) software to reverse engineer and clone a 433 MHz remote control. URH is used to extract the signal timing and modulation characteristics as well as the binary/hex code.

Then in order to clone the signal hubmartin uses a cheap IoT microcontroller with button and 433 MHz transmitter attachments. Some C code is then used to program the microcontroller and 433 MHz transmitter with the extracted signal information and to transmit on a press of the button. In his example hubmartin uses his cloned dongle to control a wireless power plug and a motorized projector screen.

Universal Radio Hacker SDR Tutorial on 433 MHz radio plugs

SDR# TETRA Plugin Now Available At RTL-SDR.RU

Vasilli has recently released the SDR# TETRA plugin on his website RTL-SDR.RU (note that the site is in Russian, but can be translated with the Google Translate option in the top right of the page). Previously it was only available via ever changing forum links, so it's good to see that it has a permanent home now for the latest version. This plugin allows you to listen to TETRA digital voice via SDR#, without needing to set up any complicated GNU Radio based receivers which were necessary in the past.

The features include (note Translated from Russian):

  • Receiving a signal from the BS band 25kHz and modulation Pi / 4-DQPSK;
  • Automatic adjustment of the reception frequency;
  • Displays information about the BS;
  • Displays ISSI, GSSI subscribers in the channels (for open channels only);
  • Displays a service exchange network (for open channels only);
  • It allows you to listen to the channels in manual or automatic mode selection (only open channels);
  • It allows to filter and distribute the listening priority specified for groups (GSSI);
  • It displays a message with the location (just a short message format)

The current features not yet implemented are:

  • And listen to correctly display any encoded information in a network;
  • Display SDS type 4 (short messages);
  • Record audio from the channels (menu added, but does not work);

We also note that as discussed in a previous post there is a companion program for this plugin called TETRA Trunk Tracker.

SDR# TETRA Decoder Plugin
SDR# TETRA Decoder Plugin

More Talks from GNURadio Con 2018

Last week we posted about some videos of talks from the 2018 GNU Radio Conference which had been release on YouTube. This week a few more videos have been released and we display a small selection below. The full collection of videos can be found on their YouTube channel.

RF Ranging with LoRa Leveraging RTL-SDRs and GNU Radio

Wil Myrick discusses the use of RTL-SDRs and GNU Radio to create a low cost LoRa RF ranging prototype, to aid in the localization of IoT transmitters.

GRCon18 - RF Ranging with LoRa Leveraging RTL SDRs and GNU Radio

Using GNU Radio and Red Pitaya for Citizen Science

Robert W McGwier discusses the use of Red Pitaya SDRs and GNU Radio for use in citizen science ionosphere measurement experiments.

GRCon18 - Using GNU Radio and Red Pitaya for Citizen Science

SETI Breakthrough Listen

Steve Croft discusses the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project and how software defined radio is being used in the search.

GRCon18 - SETI Breakthrough Listen

Using a LimeSDR / PlutoSDR to Transmit Digital Amateur Television with DATV Express

Over on YouTube Corrosive from channel SignalsEverywhere has uploaded a new video in his series on Digital Amateur Television (DATV). The new video shows us how to use a transmit capable SDR like a LimeSDR or PlutoSDR to transmit DATV with a free Windows program called DATV Express.

In the video he explains the various transmit and video encoding settings, and then demonstrates the signal being received on SDRAngel with an RTL-SDR (which he explained in his previous video)

Transmitting DVB-S DATV Digital Amateur Television with LimeSDR / Pluto on Windows with DATV Express