Salamandra: Detecting and Locating Spy Microphones with an RTL-SDR

Over on GitHub user eldraco has uploaded an RTL-SDR compatible python script for detecting and locating eavesdropping spy microphones (bugs) within a closed environment. The Python script can be run either on Linux or Windows. They write:

Salamandra is a tool to detect and locate spy microphones in closed environments. It find microphones based on the strength of the signal sent by the microphone and the amount of noise and overlapped frequencies. Based on the generated noise it can estimate how close or far away you are from the mic.

Salamandra can either be used in live mode, or can use data recorded from rtl_power. It seems that the software simply attempts to detect peaks in the spectrum that look like analog audio, and print out their frequencies.

We’ve also seen this somewhat related piece of software called rtlsdr-wwb-scanner which can be used with an RTL-SDR to scan for microphones as well. However, this software is mostly intended to be used with the Shure Wireless Workbench which is a professional program for managing multiple microphones used in conferences, theatre performance, concerts etc.

In a previous post we also showed rtlmic, which is a program that can be used for receiving microphones and outputting audio to JACK.

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does it support khz frequencies?

Carl H

I am struggling to get it to work.

When I execute the command I get the error

pygame 1.9.5
File ” ./”, line 300, in ‘start3.mp3’
pygame.error: Unrecognized music format


i’ll ask here first before posting to a python forum…

curious about those who got this to work on windows (win7).

i installed gr-python 2.7.10, and salamandra. installed gnuradio_3.7 so i could get the rtl_* tools.

when executing ‘python’ i’m returned the python error regarding the “import curses” line in

anyone of you windows users get this error? if so, wondering how you got salamandra to work on windows.


works good, also good for finding RFI around the house and shack, thanks 🙂


How does it run on windows?


if you get it to run on widows let me know. the python curses module wouldn’t work on my Win7 machine.

John H

One more comment. Before this would work on Mac or Linux I had to do

sudo pip install pygame

After that it launched with sound.

John H

I just did this and this is COOL! Great application for an SDR stick. Every day I get more and more amazed by what these things are capable of.