Video Tutorial: Installing GQRX and RTL-SDR on a Raspberry Pi

Over on his YouTube channel AVT Marketing has uploaded a new beginner friendly video that shows how to easily install and use GQRX on a Raspberry Pi single board Linux computer. GQRX is a Linux based general purpose SDR receiver program which is compatible with the RTL-SDR. The Raspberry Pi 3 has enough processing power run this software easily with the RTL-SDR.

The tutorial is a 2-part series, with the first video showing how to install the software from scratch. AVT shows every necessary step including installing git, cmake, build-essential, getting and installing the drivers from the Osmocom github and installing libusb. For someone very new to Linux this tutorial is a simple step by step start. The second video goes on to show how to actually use GQRX on the Raspberry Pi.

Installing RTL-SDR on a Raspberry Pi (Linux)
Using GQRX with RTL-SDR on a Raspberry Pi (Linux)

6 comments

    • CHINMAY

      Double-clicking on gqrx icon pops up a box with three options “Execute” “Execute in terminal” and “cancel”
      None of these work
      -Chinmay

  1. Jason Charney

    So many things were wrong with Part 1 … like the fact that he installed the software into /etc/apt/

    # Start at the beginning by going home.
    cd ~
    # if you don’t have a Downloads directory in your home directory, create one.
    [ ! -d “~/Downloads” ] && mkdir ~/Downloads
    cd ~/Downloads
    # Download the things rtl-sdr needs
    sudo apt install git cmake build-essential libusb-1.0-0.dev
    # Git rtl-sdr
    git clone https://git.osmocom.org/rtl-sdr
    cd rtl-sdr
    # cmake projects are compiled from source with a build directory you must create.
    mkdir build && cd build
    # Run cmake for the parent directory
    # with the -DINSTALL_UDEV-RULES=ON argument, we don’t need to mess with any of the udev stuff because a /etc/udev/rules.d/rtl-sdr.rules file was already created.
    cmake ../ -DINSTALL_UDEV_RULES=ON
    # In typical UNIX fasion, we compile from source using ./install.sh && make && sudo make install
    # but with cmake projects, subsititute that install.sh part with cmake
    # So we need to do the other two parts.
    make && sudo make install
    # For good measure, let’s do an ldconfig
    sudo ldconfig
    # Create /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-rtl.conf without opening a text editor!
    sudo bash -c “echo ‘blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu’ >/etc/modprobe.d/blacklist-rtl.conf”
    # Plug in your SDR dongle and then reboot your raspberry pi
    sudo reboot
    rtl_test -t
    # rtl_test may look like a failure, but what matters is it should find your device. If it does you should be all set.
    # Download GQRX. There is a prebuilt binary for Raspberry Pi 3.
    cd ~/Downloads
    curl -SL https://github.com/csete/gqrx/releases/download/v2.9/gqrx-2.9-linux-armv6.tar.xz | tar xJv
    # `ls gqrx-2.9-linux-armv6` if you want to see what is in the directory.
    sudo apt-get install gnuradio libvolk1-bin libusb-1.0-0 gr-iqbal qt5-default libqt5svg5 libportaudio2
    # You need to run volk_profile for the user that is going to use this program.
    volk_profile
    cd ~
    # Create the ~/bin directory so you can call your program up with gqrx instead of ./gqrx
    [ ! -d “~/bin” ] && mkdir ~/bin
    ~/bin
    ln -s ~/Downloads/gqrx-2.9-linux-armv6/gqrx
    # And your done.

    The final result should be you can open GQRX but on your 7 inch Raspberry Pi screen it is too big! Something is missing to reduce the size of the application.

    Another issue is that within a few minutes, GQRX causes your Pi’s processor to heat up (hence that red themometer icon that shows up) or could try to slurp up power (lightning bolt!)

    I wonder. Is there an ncurses alternative that can be run in the command line? There might not be a waterfall or oscilloscope, but if numerical values can be used in lieu of waveforms.

  2. jim

    [email protected]:~ $ rtl_test -t
    rtl_test: error while loading shared libraries: librtlsdr.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

    I have reviewed all my entries and find no mistakes…

    [email protected]:~ $ history
    1 sudo apt update
    2 sudo apt install git
    3 sudo apt install cmake
    4 sudo apt install build-essential
    5 sudo apt install libusb-1.0-0-dev
    6 sudo git clone git://git.osmocom.org/rtl-sdr.git
    7 cd rtl-sdr/
    8 sudo mkdir build
    9 cd build
    10 sudo cmake ../ -DINSTALL_UDEV_RULES=ON
    11 SUDO MAKE
    12 sudo make
    13 sudo make install
    14 #sudo ldconfig
    15 sudo cp ../rtl-sdr.rules /etc/udev/rules.d/
    16 cd
    17 cd /etc
    18 cd modprobe.d
    19 sudo touch blacklist-rtl.conf
    20 ls
    21 sudo nano blacklist-rtl.conf
    22 cat blacklist-rtl.conf
    23 sudo halt
    24 rtl_test -t

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