Gorizont-rtlsdr: Another Linux OS Distro with Built in RTL-SDR Support & Software

A few days ago we posted about DragonOS, which is a Linux ISO file with several built in SDR programs that the creator Aaron has been working on during his COVID-19 lockdown period. We've now got a second lockdown inspired Linux distribution called "gorizont-rtlsdr" which was submitted by Steve Cox. The distro is based on Xubuntu 18.04 and focuses only on software for RTL-SDRs. Steve writes:

gorizont linux 1.0 is a live, USB bootable or VM .iso image, and my first attempt at sharing a project like this. It's built specifically for rtl_sdr/ RTL2832U family dongles, no other devices will be supported in the future (although drivers can be installed if required). It's meant for the cheapest, most available hardware out there.

I think there's a useful niche for this distro, Skywave Linux is getting a bit long-in-the-tooth and un-updated, and the recently reviewed DragonOS, whilst good, is a little complicated for beginners to use. gorizont concentrates on purely terrestrial HF/VHF/UHF analogue and digital signal exploration and decoding, hence the name. It also provides instant DAB+ and FM radio reception for emergency information using RTL V3 stock antennae.

It's built for customisation and compilation of evolving software, hence it's rather portly size. A pretty full suite of dev libraries and repos come as included. Users can also create a bootable USB image or .iso of an updated system using Systemback if gorizont is run as a VM.

We didn't see a list of programs preinstalled, but from the Readme it appears to have at least GNU Radio, GQRX, multimon-ng, DSD+, welle.io, PyBOMBs, wine32, sox, as well as a preset Virtual Audio sync set up through pulseaudio for piping audio between programs. We expect that many more programs will also have been preinstalled.

4 comments

  1. satcolintel5

    Thanks for making this! I was able to use this ISO for rtl-sdr/GOES HRIT satellite data reception running from a 8 GB USB flash drive. It ran great for a week during my tests. This was a nice portable solution for me as I only had Win10 machines available at the time and I didn’t want to risk a mess-up setting up dual-boot configuration.

    I just installed permanently this system image on a 2 TB HDD. Getting the partitions setup correctly in the installer was a challenge for me but eventually got the right sequence.

    Cheers!

  2. gorizont

    Loe Walter-

    Could you try installing the .iso using Virtualbox, I’ll look into this Parallels issue. Thanks for raising this!

  3. cemaxecuter

    That’s awesome! Thanks for the mention of DragonOS too. Keep up the good work. I’m enjoying working on updates and new videos from home!

    • Loe Walter

      Hi,
      Tried to install this in Parallels, but can’t get any further than the the question where and how to install it on a virtual drive, after that I stated my credentials for the new user.
      Anyone succeeded?
      Grtz. Loe

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