rx_tools: RTL-SDR Command Line Tools (rtl_power, rtl_fm, rtl_sdr) Now Compatible With Almost Any SDR

Developer R. X. Seger has recently released rx_tools which provides SDR independent ports for the popular command line RTL-SDR tools rtl_power, rtl_fm and rtl_sdr. This means that these tools can now be used on almost any SDR, such as the bladeRF, HackRF, SDRplay, Airspy and LimeSDR. If you don’t know what the tools do, then here is a quick break down:

rtl_fm / rx_fm: Allows you to decode and listen to FM/AM/SSB radio.
rtl_sdr / rx_sdr: Allows you to record raw samples for future processing.
rtl_power / rx_power: Allows you to do wideband scans over arbitrarily wide swaths of bandwidth by hopping over and recording signal power levels over multiple chunks of spectrum.

rx_tools is based on SoapySDR which is an SDR abstraction layer. If software is developed with SoapySDR, then the software can be more easily used with any SDR, assuming a Soapy plugin for that particular SDR is written. This stops the need for software to be re-written many times for different SDR’s as instead the plugin only needs to be written once.

rx_power scan with the HackRF at 5 GHz over 9 hours.
rx_power scan with the HackRF at 5 GHz over 9 hours.
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is it possible to use rtl_fm with hackrf?
it work with a claasic sdr key but i cant do it with my hackrf.
does anyone reach to use multimon-ng with hackrf?


Nice, I’ve been looking for tools that support SoapySDR with a remote SDR server. Currently I have an RTL_SDR dongle but expect a LimeSDR soon. osmocom_fft works with the following SoapySDR string
“soapy=0,driver=remote,remote=sdr,remote:driver=rtlsdr”; I’ve tried several permutations of this string using the -d option on rx_fm to no avail. Is SoapyRemote supported ???
PS: The rx_fm Use_help still refers to rtl_fm


Lee Donaghy

not sure if it’s SoapyAirspy or rx_fm but something isn’t right.
RTL dongle seems to work but can’t get much out of the Airspy.



I had tried in vane to do the same with the rtl_power and the hackRf so I’m very excited to try out.


Thank you to the Author referred to by this RTL-SDR post for your work. It looks promising.

That said, the Author referred to may want to re-consider where he/she parked his/her content (man I’m tired of this he/she Political Correctness nonsense)…

Be careful with content hosted by “medium(dot)com” where the referenced link in this article points-to. “medium(dot)com” does NOT post easily viewable Privacy or TOS statements. In addition, here in S.E. Asia, in Malaysia in-particular it is reported “medium(dot)com” not only caved to Government take-down demands, but may be banned entirely in Malaysia (currently I cannot easily confirm this as I’m in a neighboring country which does not ban the site).

View the referenced site; just be sure to be careful: Make sure your OS & AV is up to date, turn off Flash and JRE scripting etc., run your browser in a jailed VM if-possible, run Linux/xBSD instead of Windows or Apple’s shameless rip-off of xBSD (Windows too, but lesser-so these days).


First I’ve heard of these issues with Medium, thanks for the heads up. I’ve just been using Medium since it has a convenient online editor, but I may very well have to reconsider (although I have some drafts saved there, would need to manually convert or find some way to export).

Meanwhile I’ve archived a PDF of this blog post if anyone wants to read it not through Medium: https://www.dropbox.com/s/9e7cng63v52an0z/rx_tools-medium-20160719.pdf?dl=0 (strangely, archive.is captured the text but not images: http://archive.is/94nua – something to do with its deferred image loading feature I imagine). Or the raw source code of rx_tools–though not the blog post, but code is really what is interesting–can be retrieved directly from GitHub at https://github.com/rxseger/rx_tools