PiccoloSDR: A Simple SDR From a Raspberry Pi Pico

The Raspberry Pi Pico is a $4 microcontroller board. Recently radio amateur Luigi Cruz discovered that the ADC on the Pico could be used as a simple direct sampling software defined radio, with a bandwidth of 250 kHz. The idea is that the ADC data is made available to a PC connected to it's USB port via emulated TCP/IP protocol. On the PC side, GNU Radio is then used to process the received ADC data, turning it into an SDR.

Applications of a direct sampling SDR with only 250 kHz are limited, as it's only possible to receive up to the LF band, and there are not many signals that low in frequency. However, it is an interesting project that can be used to demonstrate a simple SDR. If you're interested in trying it out, the code is available over on GitHub.

PiccoloSDR Project - Using the Raspberry Pi Pico RP2040 as an SDR - First Test with GNU Radio.

[Also seen on Hackaday]


  1. AD5NL

    Or just combine with a simple mixer to get higher frequencies… though of course it is probably cheaper to use an rtl-sdr dongle by the time you factor that in.

    This is basically a simpler, and much lower bit, alternative to using a soundcard, right?

  2. Billy

    It could have applications for recording bats or if waterproofed dolphins by adding an electret microphone. An electret microphone may only be rated up to 20kHz or 40kHz, but since they are a capacitor with a built-in local amplifier they can usually operate much higher but maybe not quite as linear. I’ve used one up to 2MHz using an attenuator and a spyverter.

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