rtlSpectrum: A New GUI for rtl_power

Thank you to Andrey for submitting news about the release of his new open source program called "rtlSpectrum". rtlSpectrum is a GUI for rtl_power, which allows you to scan a wide swath of bandwidth with an RTL-SDR dongle. The scan can then be plotted with rtlSpectrum, and peaks of activity can then be determined. Some of the features include:

  • load from .csv file produced by rtl_power
  • run rtl_power directly. it should be available in the $PATH
  • add multiple graphs for analysis
  • subtract one graph from another
  • save/export graph in the rtl_power based format

In particular, the ability to subtract one graph from another is useful for analyzing filters. Andrey has posted about doing this with rtlSpectrum, a noise source and an RTL-SDR V3 over on his blog (note that the blog is in Russian, so please use Google Translate if necessary). He notes how the dynamic range of the RTL-SDR is limited, so that the true blocking power of a filter cannot be determined, but it is enough to see the shape and frequency response.

rtlSpectrum Screenshots
rtlSpectrum Screenshots


  1. Andre

    unfortuately no. rtl_power is available in my path and can be started with openening CLI and enter rtl_power, also i tested rtl_power available in same directory as rtlSpectrum.jar reside – same error: Caanot run rtl_power: error=2, No such file or directory

  2. Andre

    Anyone who get it run under MacOS (using Mojave)? Iam able to start the GUI, but after klick run it complains that rtl_power cant be find (but it is available in my PATH) Checked via terminal and “rtl_power”.

  3. Roy

    This is really cool, and such a simple idea. Is there a way to only scan a certain bandwidth. Every time I run it, it always defauilts to 25MHz to 1.8 GHz. It would be great to define start and stop frequencies, and step. I thought maybe you could do it by loading a csv file, but not sure that works (it doesn’t seem to work when I try using an existing file created by rtlspectrum, but truncated to only the frequencies I want). But maybe I am missing something.

    • Roy

      and oddly enough, if I try to run rtl_power from the command line, I end up with a “PLL not locked” error every single time. Yet rtlSpectrum runs just fine……

Leave a Reply to Andre Cancel reply

You may use the following HTML:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.