Tagged: gnu radio

The 2020 GNU Radio Conference will be held Virtually – Talks Streamed for Free

The yearly GNU Radio Conference (GRCon) is a conference all about the development of GNU Radio and projects based on GNU Radio. GNU Radio is an open source digital signal processing (DSP) toolkit which is often used in cutting edge radio applications and research to implement decoders, demodulators and various other SDR algorithms.

This years 2020 GNU Conference is to be the 10th one ever held and was supposed to take place in Charlotte, NC. However due to the ongoing pandemic the organizers have now decided that it will be held entirely online this year. The starting date is September 14 and the talks and events will probably run for several days. All talks will be streamed for free, however, registering for US$50 will get you access to the live workshops and other events.

There is a great line up of keynote speakers, and if you have a talk that you'd like to submit, submissions are now open. For ideas on what GNU Radio talks are like, you can see full recordings from previous GNU Radio conferences on their YouTube channel playlists.

GNU Radio Conference (GRCon) is the annual conference for the GNU Radio project & community, and has established itself as one of the premier industry events for Software Radio. It is a week-long conference that includes high-quality technical content and valuable networking opportunities. GRCon is a venue that highlights design, implementation, and theory that has been practically applied in a useful way. GRCon attendees come from a large variety of backgrounds, including industry, academia, government, and hobbyists.

GRCon20 will be held starting September 14, 2020 online as a virtual event. The organizing team is hard at work to create a fun and interactive experience.

Our keynote speakers include: Becky Schoenfeld W1BXY, managing editor of QST magazine, Oona Räisänen [ windytan ] hacker of signals and computer programmer, and Jim St. Leger, Director Open Source, Intel.

With an annual program that has broad appeal, GRCon attracts people new to Software Radio just looking to learn more, experts that want to keep their finger on the pulse & direction of the industry, and seasoned developers ready to show off their latest work.

Call for Participation is now open!


Registration is available now!

Register Here

Refund Policy

GNU Radio Code for Android Now Released

Back in November 2019 we posted how Bastian Bloessl (@bastibl) had teased us with his ability to get GNU Radio running on an Android phone. Now he has officially released his code to the public on GitHub. This is quite a remarkable development as you can now carry a full DSP processing suite in your pocket. In addition to the code, he's put up a short blog post explaining a bit about the port. He notes some highlights of the release:

  • Supports the most recent version of GNU Radio (v3.8).
  • Supports 32-bit and 64-bit ARM architectures (i.e., armeabi-v7a and arm64-v8a).
  • Supports popular hardware frontends (RTL-SDR, HackRF, and Ettus B2XX). Others can be added if there is interest.
  • Supports interfacing Android hardware (mic, speaker, accelerometer, …) through gr-grand.
  • Does not require to root the device.
  • All signal processing happens in C++ domain.
  • Provides various means to interact with a flowgraph from Java-domain (e.g., Control Port, PMTs, ZeroMQ, TCP/UDP).
  • Comes with a custom GNU Radio double-mapped circular buffer implementation, using Android shared memory.
  • Benefits from SIMD extensions through VOLK and comes with a profiling app for Android.
  • Benefits from OpenCL through gr-clenabled.
  • Includes an Android app to benchmark GNU Radio runtime, VOLK, and OpenCL.
  • Includes example applications for WLAN and FM.

He's even included demonstration code that turns a USRP B200 SDR connected to an Android phone into a WLAN transceiver which can run in real time on faster devices.

Installing it may not be easy for most, but Bastian has included full build instructions on the GitHub page, and makes use of a Docker file which should simplify the installation a bit.

GNU Radio running on an Android phone, usinga USRP B200 SDR as a WLAN transceiver.
GNU Radio running on an Android phone, usinga USRP B200 SDR as a WLAN transceiver.

GNU Radio 3.8 on un-rooted Android receiving FM w/ HackRF (take 2)

YouTube Guide: Installing GQRX on Windows 10

GQRX is a general purpose GUI based SDR program that is typically used most often on Linux and Mac computers, however it is still possible to install and use it on Windows. Over on YouTube M Khanfar has uploaded a tutorial video that shows a step by step guide on how to get GQRX running on Windows 10.

The process is a little long as it involves an install of Windows GNU Radio, Python, pip and various Python dependencies required by GQRX, as well as setting up the Windows PATH. If you prefer a text guide, the full tutorial is also typed out in the YouTube video description.

GNU Radio , GQRX in Win10 installation Guide

Gorizont-rtlsdr: Another Linux OS Distro with Built in RTL-SDR Support & Software

A few days ago we posted about DragonOS, which is a Linux ISO file with several built in SDR programs that the creator Aaron has been working on during his COVID-19 lockdown period. We've now got a second lockdown inspired Linux distribution called "gorizont-rtlsdr" which was submitted by Steve Cox. The distro is based on Xubuntu 18.04 and focuses only on software for RTL-SDRs. Steve writes:

gorizont linux 1.0 is a live, USB bootable or VM .iso image, and my first attempt at sharing a project like this. It's built specifically for rtl_sdr/ RTL2832U family dongles, no other devices will be supported in the future (although drivers can be installed if required). It's meant for the cheapest, most available hardware out there.

I think there's a useful niche for this distro, Skywave Linux is getting a bit long-in-the-tooth and un-updated, and the recently reviewed DragonOS, whilst good, is a little complicated for beginners to use. gorizont concentrates on purely terrestrial HF/VHF/UHF analogue and digital signal exploration and decoding, hence the name. It also provides instant DAB+ and FM radio reception for emergency information using RTL V3 stock antennae.

It's built for customisation and compilation of evolving software, hence it's rather portly size. A pretty full suite of dev libraries and repos come as included. Users can also create a bootable USB image or .iso of an updated system using Systemback if gorizont is run as a VM.

We didn't see a list of programs preinstalled, but from the Readme it appears to have at least GNU Radio, GQRX, multimon-ng, DSD+, welle.io, PyBOMBs, wine32, sox, as well as a preset Virtual Audio sync set up through pulseaudio for piping audio between programs. We expect that many more programs will also have been preinstalled.

DragonOS Updated: Now with OP25 Installed and many new YouTube Tutorials

Last month we posted about Aaron's "DragonOS" project, which is a ready to install Linux ISO aimed to make getting started with SDR software easy by providing several programs preinstalled, as well as providing multiple video tutorials. Recently he's updated the build, this time basing it on Lubuntu 18.04 allowing for Legacy and UEFI support, along with disk encryption. The OS supports RTL-SDRs as well as the HackRF and bladeRF and probably supports most other SDRs via the SoapySDR interface.

In terms of software he's also added OP25 and bladeRF support. Other programs pre-installed include rtl_433, Universal Radio Hacker, GNU Radio, Aircrack-ng, GQRX, Kalibrate, hackrf, wireshare, gr-gsm, rtl-sdr, HackRF, IMSI-catcher, Zenmap, inspectrum, qspectrumanalyzer, LTE-Cell-Scanner, CubicSDR, Limesuite, ShinySDR, SDRAngel, SDRTrunk, Kismet, BladeRF.

His DragonOS YouTube tutorial channel is also growing fast, with several tutorials showing you how to use DragonOS to perform tasks like listen to trunked mobile radios, use QSpectrumAnalyzer with a HackRF, receive NOAA APT weather satellite images, retrieve cellular network information via a rooted Samsung Galaxy S5, create a ShinySDR server with rtl_433 and how to capture and replay with a HackRF.

DragonOS running CubicSDR
DragonOS running CubicSDR

DragonOS: Debian Linux with Preinstalled Open Source SDR Software

Thank you to Aaron for submitting news about his latest project called "DragonOS" which he's been working on while in COVID-19 lock down. DragonOS is a Debian Linux based operating system which comes with many open source software defined radio programs pre-installed. It supports SDRs like the RTL-SDR, HackRF and LimeSDR.

Aaron's video below shows how to set up DragonOS in a VirtualBox, and he has two other videos on his channel showing how to set up ADS-B reception with Kismet, and how to run GR-RDS in GNURadio. He aims to continue with more tutorial videos that make use of the software installed on DragonOS in the near future.

DragonOS 10 Installer (download in description)

Screenshot of the GR-RDS Tutorial

Michael Ossmann & Kate Temkin Present Software Defined Everything with GreatFET One

At the Hackaday Supercon Michael Ossmann & Kate Temkin presented a talk called "Software-Defined Everything" where they demonstrated some applications of the "GreatFET One" interface board. Michael Ossmann is best known for creating the HackRF software defined radio which is a highly versatile and low cost open hardware/software SDR transceiver. His company Great Scott Gadgets also employs Kate Temkin who is the lead software developer who worked on their latest product called the GreatFET One.

The GreatFET One is a multi-purpose digital interface board that plugs into a PC via USB. It contains multiple digital IO pins, supports SPI, I2C, UART and JTAG serial protocols, can do logic analysis, and also has a built in ADC and DAC.

In the talk Michael and Kate show how a simple light sensor can be plugged into the GreatFET's ADC, allowing the sensor's data to be digitized and processed in GNU Radio. This results in a software defined light sensor. By analyzing the light data in the frequency domain via an FFT graph they're able to determine the refresh rate of the ceiling lights.

Later they also show how GreatFET can be combined with i2C sensors and GNU Radio to do creative things like use an accelerometer as a microphone for a guitar pickup, with audio effects like guitar clipping controlled by GNU Radio blocks.

Michael Ossmann & Kate Temkin - Software-Defined Everything

Solving a Frequency Hopping CTF Challenge with Aliasing

At this years BSides Ottawa security conference, Clayton Smith was tasked with setting up a wireless "Capture the Flag" (CTF) competition. CTF competitions generally consist of a mystery signal that participants need to figure out how to decode with an SDR such as an RTL-SDR. 

One CTF that Clayton set up was a frequency hopping challenge with several levels of difficulty. The signal consisted of a narrow band FM signal that constantly hopped between multiple fixed frequencies. The idea was to use whatever means possible to piece together that signal again so that the speech audio could be copied.

The first level had the audio signal hopping very slowly, so the speech could be pieced together manually by listening by ear to each channel it transmitted on. Subsequent levels had the signal hopping much faster, so they required some DSP work to piece everything back together.

In his post Clayton writes about three possible GNU Radio based DSP solutions to the problem. The first method he describes is an interesting method that abuses the effects of aliasing. Aliasing is a problem in SDRs when a signal can be folded on top of another, creating interference. However, this approach makes use of aliasing to purposely fold the hopping channels into one frequency, resulting in speech that can be copied.

The rest of his post explains two other methods that could be used as well. The second method involves treating the entire band consisting of the hopping signals as a single FM signal, then filtering it with a DC block. The third approach uses FFT to detect which channel is active with the highest power, then shifting that channel by it's offset.

Spectrum of the frequency hopping CTF challenge.
Spectrum of the frequency hopping CTF challenge.

Clayton also set up another CTF with gr-paint. The idea was to read text on a "painted" waterfall with ever decreasing text spacing that would eventually be too small to read on standard SDR programs like GQRX. Instead, the solution was to open the IQ data in a tool like Inspectrum or Baudline which has much higher FFT resolution. 

Gr-Painted spectrum with decreasing text.
Gr-Painted spectrum with decreasing text spacing.