Thanks to Doug Ward (@dsward) for letting us know about his new RTL-SDR compatible MacOS based app called LocalRadio. LocalRadio is an open source web browser based app that connects to a MacOS server running an RTL-SDR. The software allows you to listen in on any frequency supported by the RTL-SDR in AM or FM modes, and audio is capable of being streamed to multiple devices via a built the LAME MP3 encoder, EZStream and Icecast server. It does not provide an FFT or waterfall display however.
The software introduction reads:
LocalRadio is an experimental, GPL-2 licensed open-source application for listening to “software defined radio” on your Mac and mobile devices. With an inexpensive RTL-SDR device plugged into the Mac’s USB port, LocalRadio provides a casual listening experience for your favorite local FM broadcasts, free music, news, sports, weather, public safety and aviation scanner monitoring, and other radio sources.
LocalRadio’s easy-to-use web interface allows the radio to be shared from a Mac to iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and other PCs on your home network. No additional software or hardware is required for sharing with mobile devices, simply use the built-in mobile web browser to connect to LocalRadio and tune to your favorite stations. You can also listen to LocalRadio audio on your Apple TV and other AirPlay-compatible devices.
LocalRadio does not provide features like FFT waterfalls, panadapters, or signal recording that are found on other SDR software. For those features, GQRX for Mac is highly recommended. GQRX is a good way to discover radio frequencies that can be used with LocalRadio.
LocalRadio is intended for use as in-home entertainment, using a local area network with a private IP address. It has not been tested with a public IP address, particularly for security testing, therefore it is not recommended for that purpose. For simply listening to LocalRadio on the Mac with the RTL-SDR device plugged in, no network is required at all.
Over on YouTube user GetOffMyHack has uploaded a video that shows his development of a Mac based general purpose tuning app for the RTL-SDR, which was written in the Swift programming language. Swift is a programming language which is designed for creating apps for a wide range of smart Apple devices.
GetOffMyHack’s program currently has a spectrum and waterfall view, can tune to any frequency, demodulate NFM and AM, and it also has a built in CTCSS decoder. At the moment the software and code is unreleased, but he writes that in the future the code will be released and made open source once he reaches the next version in the development cycle. Keep an eye on his YouTube channel for any updates.
Version 2.6 of the popular SDR program GQRX has just been released (changelog). GQRX is a general signal browsing program similar to programs like SDR#, HDSDR and SDR-Console. However GQRX is designed to run on Linux, MacOS and Raspberry Pi 2 & 3. Note that v2.6 is still a work in progress for MacOS. Apart from the new features and bug fixes, one of the major improvements appears to be reduced CPU usage, meaning that it should run better on older PCs. The changelog is pasted below:
1-2-5 scaling on FFT axis.
Remember AGC settings between sessions.
Right-click on FFT resets frequency zoom.
Separate dB ranges for pandapter and waterfall.
Raw I/Q mode.
Command line option to set Qt style (fusion, windows, …)
Binary packages for Raspberry Pi 2 and 3 (see below)
Stuttering audio with Pulseaudio backend.
Use system font on FFT plot (too small font on high res displays).
Broken FUNcube Dongle Pro+ support on Mac OS X 10.11.4.
Correct display of negative offsets between -1 and 0 kHz.
Reset frequency digits below the one that is being changed.
LNB LO could not be set from I/O configuration dialog.
Update squelch level when switching between demodulators.
Set correct filter range when loading bookmark.
White area on waterfall.
RFSpace Cloud-IQ support on Mac OS X, RPI binaries and in PPA.
Input decimator performance.
SDRPlay integration through SoapySDR.
Only probe for devices when the program is started.
DSD+ (Digital Speech Decoder+) is a popular Windows tool that can be used together with an RTL-SDR to decode digital speech signals such as P25 and DMR. There is unfortunately no version for OSX.
However, recently on YouTube user Matthew Miller has uploaded a video showing DSD+ running with CubicSDR on OSX. To do this he used a utility called “Wine Skin” which creates a wrapper that allows Windows software to run on a MAC computer running OSX. This means that DSD+ can be run on directly OSX without the need to use a virtual machine with Windows installed on it.