Cyberspectrum #16: Software Defined Radio Meetup

Every month SDR evangelist Balint Seeber hosts the Cyberspectrum Meetup in San Francisco, where many SDR fans come together to listen to various presentations. This months meetup is due to be held on June 29 at 7 PM (San Fran time, about 18 hours from the time of this post). If you are in San Francisco you can attend the live meetup, but if not you can watch the live stream on YouTube.

This time the talks include:

• “Understanding the LTE Physical Layer” with Sandor Szilvasi (@sszilvasi)

LTE is an incredible, yet complex, cellular networking standard. Sandor will break it down and explain how a LTE signal is constructed. He will also live demo the demodulation and decoding of local carriers.


• “Interactive Install & Setup-fest” with the group

We would like to open up the forum to those who wish to get set up with SDR (hardware and/or software). Bring along your equipment, and as a group we can look at/debug the steps required to get you up and running. This could also include setting up an app, or fixing an Out-Of-Tree module, or even an environment issue on your laptop.

• “GNU Radio Tutorial Part 2” with Neel Pandeya

The tutorial series will continue! This time we will look at how to construct an FM radio receiver, and decode the RDS digital subcarrier. This will include:

• Explain concepts behind commercial FM and RDS
• Receiving mono FM using a from-scratch flowgraph
• Showing how to build ‘gr-rds’
• Demonstrate stereo FM+RDS reception using ‘gr-rds’
• Building GQRX
• Demonstrate FM reception using GQRX

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Um, weeel if this guy is going to do this on “live” LTE networks in San Francisco…I suggest he bring his lawyer and some bail cash – because he’ll be committing upwards of 10+ federal and local felonies….not to rain on anyone’s parade…but seriously…this ain’t euro land.

Reality Check

…and demodulating a signal is illegal in the US because?????


The LTE signals will still be fully encrypted. It would be a bit like doing a tcpdump on a SSH/HTTPS session between two machines that you have no access, you would see a lot of header information, but no actual data, the data would still be secure. I don’t see it as much different than looking at an LTE waterfall. All the information you can view would be visible with most android phones using the right API queries.