Listening in on Hollywood Reality TV Show Wireless Microphones with an RTL-SDR

Over on Reddit user u/mknlsn has posted an interesting use for his RTL-SDR. He happens to live next door to a Hollywoood reality TV show production and was able to use his RTL-SDR to listen in on the wireless microphones fitted to the cast. The wireless microphones used by the production appear to be simple analogue FM modulated, without any sort of security.

We remind readers to check local laws on this sort of use, especially if recording audio, as some countries and US states may have differing laws on what can be recorded, or even listened to live. This would likely be considered private communications, so recording and sharing would definitely be illegal in most regions. 

Recently we also posted about Frugal Radio using an Airspy SDR to listen in on wireless microphones from outside a theatre show.

Wireless microphones picked up by RTL-SDR
Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Chris Z.

Use a different mode than good, old, and reliable could possibly introduce artifacts in the audio and reduce the quality. That’s just my guess as to why they stick with it.

Dave H

Listening is generally legal in the U.S. But telling others what you heard or making recordings and playing them for others is illegal for certain radio services, like emergency or business comms.


Love it! Don’t know why this would be illegal, it’s not a phone call. Can one have a reasonable expectation of privacy when wearing a microphone?


I think it will take caselaw to determine it. Sure does seem like using an unencrypted wireless mic is the modern day equivalent of screaming really loud in your house with your windows open.