Tagged: windows 10

Using Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) to Run Linux SDR Programs on Windows 10

Thank you to Happysat who has shared with us a useful tutorial that explains how we can run Linux only SDR programs on a Windows 10 system using the Windows Subsystem For Linux (WSL) feature. WSL is a feature available on Windows 10 which is a Linux compatibility layer designed for running Linux binaries natively on Windows 10. This means that no Virtual Machine with shared resources is required, instead the full resources of your system are available. 

Happysat writes:

Many people using Windows 10 now since Windows 7 is EOL, and WSL is part of the system kinda "free" so why not use it :)

Together with a X-Server and and Desktop like XFCE4, it can be great for running SDR applications in Linux thru rtl_tcp.

Very fast startup in seconds and not much packet loss thru tcp, quite alot linux sdr applications are working very good.

No allocating resources like a VM.

Sometimes better then Ubuntu on a VM.

Software tested: AX-25 Packet Radio, Dab Radio, DSD, Es-Hail Beacon Tracker, Sat Tracking with Gpredict and Gqrx, NOAA Reception WxToImg, Radiosonde Decoding, Shortwave Reception and some more tips and tricks about WSl and SDR.

The steps appear to be fairly simple. Just enable WSL in the Windows 10 Features panel, download a Linux distro built for WSL and run the .exe file. Then you'll have access to a Linux terminal where you can install a GUI desktop environment, the RTL-SDR drivers, and other Linux SDR programs. Happysats tutorial shows how to install and use various Linux programs via WSL.

It seems that the RTL-SDR cannot be directly accessed via the USB in WSL, however, by the workaround is to simply run rtl_tcp in your Windows environment, and connect to the local IP in the Linux environment. This means that only programs that accept rtl_tcp as an input, or demodulated audio from a program like GQRX can be used.

GQRX Running on Windows 10 via WSL
GQRX Running on Windows 10 via WSL

Getting the RTL-SDR to work in Windows 10

The RTL-SDR is fully compatible with Windows 10. However with the recent release of Windows 10 some users have been having trouble using their RTL-SDR after upgrading. We thought that we'd announce that the simple solution to most problems is to reinstall the SDR drivers with Zadig. The latest version of Zadig can be downloaded from zadig.akeo.ie or if you use SDR# then it will already be in your SDR# folder. The process is:

  1. Plug in the RTL-SDR.
  2. Run Zadig as administrator by right clicking it and choosing run as administrator.
  3. Go to Options -> List all devices and make sure it is checked.
  4. In the drop down box choose Bulk-In, Interface (Interface 0). This may also sometimes show up as something prefixed with "RTL28328U". That choice is also valid.
  5. Make sure that WinUSB is selected as the target driver and click on Replace Driver.

If you need more help see the Quickstart Guide. (NOTE: If you have come across this post before the quickstart guide, be sure to use the quickstart guide as your first point of reference for installing RTL-SDR drivers and software!)

The Windows 10 upgrade process appears to replace the WinUSB drivers with the Windows DVB-T ones, so reinstalling the SDR drivers is necessary. It shouldn't be necessary, but one user also reported the need to log in to Windows with an administrator account and to uninstall the current drivers before running Zadig, so try that if you continue to have problems.

As in our previous post we can confirm that several popular SDR apps such as SDR#, HDSDR, SDR-Radio, CubicSDR and Unitrunker all work fine in Windows 10.

Testing the RTL-SDR on Windows 10

RTL-SDR.com reader Marty Wittrock has written in to let us know that he has been successful in getting his HF modified “KN0CK” RTL-SDRs (and by extension standard RTL-SDRs) to work with Zadig and HDSDR on a PC running the Windows 10 technical preview on a VMWare image.

We decided to also test RTL-SDR compatibility with other common software on our own Windows 10 system. We tested SDR#, SDR-Radio, CubicSDR and Unitrunker and found them all to work fine with no problems either. Finally, we also tested the Airpsy and SDRPlay on Windows 10 and found no problems with those devices either.

HDSDR Running on Windows 10
HDSDR Running on Windows 10