How to install GNURadio and RTL-SDR on Raspberry Pi

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How to install GNURadio and RTL-SDR on Raspberry Pi

 

Why

Someone asked me to help him setting up GNURadio on Raspberry Pi for a cool project (might be published here in the future).
I thought that would be easy but it didn’t.
I spent hours trying to build stuff like PyBOMBS just because GNURadio doesn’t have sources for RTL-SDR dongle.

Steps

I found a way to do it pretty easy.
Not sure if you can use Raspbian but I tried it with Ubuntu.

  1. Download Ubuntu for Rpi here:
    https://ubuntu-pi-flavour-maker.org/download/
    Choose “Ubuntu Classic Server¬†16.04
    Raspberry Pi 3¬†(216MB)“.
  2. Flash it on MicroSD card using Etcher or Win32DiskImager, 16GB recommended.
  3. Login using username and password ubuntu and change your password.
  4. It’ll exit so go back and login.
  5. Update stuff: sudo apt-get update
  6. Enable audio on Ubuntu:
    sudo nano /boot/firmware/config.txt
    Add: dtparam=audio=on
  7. Reboot.
  8. Install GNURadio (take some time):
    sudo apt-get install gnuradio gnuradio-doc gnuradio-dev
  9. Install GQRX-SDR:
    sudo apt-get install gqrx-sdr
  10. Open MobaXTerm and login to your Pi.
  11. Type: gnuradio-companion &
  12. The GNURadio window should open.
  13. You can find your RTL-SDR source under (no module specified) then Sources.

That’s it.
I used X11 Forwarding (basically GUI over SSH) with MobaXTerm because it has a native support for it.

You can test your audio on the RPi by installing aplay:
sudo apt-get install alsa-utils
Then using aplay /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Front_Center.wav command to play a test file.

Good luck and 73!

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