Raspberry Pi Image for Software Defined Radio 82

UPDATE: I broke something when updating this from the last version, this should work for command line usage but the GUI tools don’t work so please lower expectations to remain happy. Also, if you don’t need GNU Radio but just want RTL-SDR, please use this image instead it’s much smaller and more streamlined.

I’ve finally had time to build version 2 of my Raspberry Pi SDR image after feedback from people using the first version.

In summary, this gives you everything you need to start playing with the HackRF or DVB-T Dongles such as the R820T on the Raspberry Pi. I have compiled everything specifically for the Pi (512mb version) because a lot of people have problems with this step (especially for GNU Radio).

Included in this version:

  • GNU Radio V3.7.5 built from source
  • Osmocom GNU Radio Source (and Sink) Blocks
  • Support for DVB-T USB dongles
  • Support for HackRF One (and Jawbreaker)
  • RTL-SDR Suite
  • Fixed problems writing to some SD cards. Should now work on practically all cards (you will want an 8Gb card though).

How to use:

1. Download the file”gareth_gr-pi.img” (below).

2. Write the image to an SD card using dd on Mac or Linux, or Win32 Disk Imager. There are many tutorials on how to do this.

3. On first boot, login and run “sudo raspi-config”. Select the first option (expand main partition). This will expand the partition to the size of your SD card.

This will work on 8GB cards. Mileage of 4GB cards may vary and there will be no room for swap space, which GNU Radio really needs. I strongly suggest an 8GB card for this. Class 4 works fine for me and I don’t see much difference in speed when using a class 10 card.


User: pi

Pass: raspberry

User has sudo privileges. If you get errors using anything, try running with sudo.


Please do not link directly to the download because it will break when I release updates etc, just link to this page instead, thanks.

My server ran out of bandwidth overnight, so here’s a magnet/torrent instead.

MD5 (gareth_gr-pi.img) = 593ba0204a1638b489fc78386b4118f9

If you are in China and having issues due to the GFW, let me know and I’ll find another way to get the file to you.

82 thoughts on “Raspberry Pi Image for Software Defined Radio

  1. Reply ADB Oct 29,2014 2:20 am

    Cheers! This will come in handy. Thank you for sharing and letting us benefit from all your hard work. “If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of giants.” Issac Newton

  2. Reply playerjuan Oct 29,2014 3:40 am

    Hi. I have a 256 MB pi. Am I able to use this image? Thanks, Juan

    • Reply gareth Oct 29,2014 10:33 am

      I don’t have one so I can’t try, but GNU Radio definitely won’t like it. The RTL-SDR suite should be fine though. The image itself should also be ok. If you try it, please post your comments about it.

  3. Pingback: New Raspberry Pi Image with RTL-SDR Drivers and GNU Radio Built In - rtl-sdr.com

  4. Reply Pete Mi0VAX Oct 29,2014 2:14 pm

    Hi Gareth, great job!

    I’m just about to experiment with the Pi and my Funcube dongle – not sure if you have included support for that, if not it would be appreciated in the next release.

  5. Reply les Oct 29,2014 8:32 pm

    I cant seem to get the download link to work, the link page doesn’t load.

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  7. Reply Mike Oct 29,2014 11:02 pm

    Great work Gareth. Would you mind posting a sha1sum or md5 for the download image please? It helps those of us out here in Internet land to know we got all the bits.


  8. Reply Alan VK2ZIW Oct 29,2014 11:11 pm

    Hi Gareth,
    I’ve compiled WSJT 10 (ver 4336, Python 3) on Bananian, for the 4M LUNAR project
    and would like to “connect” the audio from RTL_SDR to WSJT.
    So, please and double please, quote your base Linux version.
    This is needed, as I may need to compile kernel modules such as “snd-aloop” to
    “patcch” the audio via “loopback”.
    Any other ideas?

    Also, eMMC and SD cards wear out, so, go Banana Pi and laptop SATA disk.
    And, you can have REAL SWAP DISK and SPACE, plenty SPACE.
    Alan VK2ZIW

    • Reply gareth Oct 30,2014 3:39 am

      Hi Alan,

      I used Raspian Wheezy as the base.

      uname -a gives:
      Linux raspberrypi 3.12.22+ #691 PREEMPT Wed Jun 18 18:29:58 BST 2014 armv6l

      I also have a Banana Pi, but you can’t boot from SATA so you’ll still need an SD card.

      Do you mean you will be using a RPi to send data to the BPi? You can’t use my image on Banana Pi, but getting RTL-SDR to compile on the Banana Pi is straight forward. Bananian is definitely the best choice.

  9. Reply IT9YBG Oct 30,2014 8:34 pm

    I installed the image and given as user: Pi and password: raspberry. Then I increased the partition. It is ok. When I reboot, after a username and password which command I have to write in order to start the SDR? The R820T key must be inserted before the Raspberry? Thank you, I do not know a lot about linux

    • Reply gareth Oct 31,2014 5:02 pm

      Plug the R820T in before you power on the Raspberry otherwise it can reset the device.

      Start with something like:

      rtl_fm -f 96.3e6 -M wbfm -s 200000 -r 48000 – | aplay -r 48k -f S16_LE

      Google for rtl suite to find out how to use it, and check out http://superkuh.com/rtlsdr.html

  10. Reply Muhsin Dogrular Oct 30,2014 9:26 pm

    Last night I downloaded your torrent (3.9GB – If you could compressed it 1.1GB)
    Suprise; no rtl no gnu…
    Was this a joke????

    • Reply gareth Oct 31,2014 4:58 pm

      What commands did you type for rtl and gnu radio? What error did you receive? Some people are having problems with some of the GUI tools, but everything is definitely there.

  11. Reply Mike Nov 1,2014 7:08 am

    Downloaded fine and seems to boot okay. Tools appear to be there but I’m finding that the Pi can’t power the HackRF and still accept keyboard input. I’m guessing that a powered USB hub is needed to do HackRF stuff.

    Oh, and for anyone playing along at home, *don’t* startx and try to run gnuradio-companion as a GUI app. Bye bye CPU. 🙂

  12. Reply Mike Nov 1,2014 7:09 am

    Downloaded fine and seems to boot okay. Tools appear to be there but I’m finding that the Pi can’t power the HackRF and still accept keyboard input. I’m guessing that a powered USB hub is needed to do HackRF stuff.

    Oh, and for anyone playing along at home, *don’t* startx and try to run gnuradio-companion as a GUI app. Bye bye CPU. 🙂


  13. Reply Muhsin Dogrular Nov 1,2014 8:59 pm

    gqrx, hackrf_info, vs vs not working
    GNURadio is working (sry about previous comment)
    Thanks for the good work

    • Reply gareth Nov 2,2014 1:00 am

      OK, one thing, hackrf_info may not be working because the Pi has trouble supplying enough power to the HackRF if you have other USB devices plugged in at the same time, if you have a powered USB hub try that. Or unplug everything else (keyboard etc) and try over ssh. Also make sure you are using a decent power supply on the Pi, a regular 500mA power supply won’t provide enough power to the Pi and the HackRF and you’ll end up corrupting the SD card, I used a 2.1A Apple charger and it works quite well.

  14. Reply Jim d Nov 2,2014 3:13 am

    I cannot get the download link to work

  15. Reply Peter Nov 3,2014 8:09 am

    How can I download the file using “ctorrent”?

  16. Reply Alex Nov 7,2014 12:35 am

    Nice image. THX. But how could I find/start gqrx or gnu radio?

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  19. Reply ArtisanMan Nov 23,2014 9:30 am

    Can you upload your code to https://github.com/lowercase-b ? Thank you for all the hard work. I found out about you on HaK5. Can you tell me more about your NEW home automation PC setup? It sounds like a great idea. I would love to set one up.

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  21. Reply stephan Dec 15,2014 11:49 pm

    hello all,

    i have download the image and copy it to a 8GB micro-sd ( dd /dev/sdc1 ) – but the installed image do nothing, not boot on power off … any idear? I will keep on trying… to check a test another image, maybe I have made a mistake :-((

  22. Reply Fred Dec 18,2014 7:53 am


    Unfortunately nobody is seeding the torrent 🙁
    Could you please re activate the original source?
    I have a dedicated server and I can then keep it ‘alive’.

    Thank you.

    • Reply gareth Dec 20,2014 12:28 am

      Hi Fred, I’m away from my usual home at the moment and don’t actually have access to the image myself. I’ll update the image and re-seed in January though. In the mean time, if you could keep this one alive that would be really helpful. Thanks!

      • Reply Fred Dec 20,2014 4:15 pm

        Already did 🙂

        From a compilation point of view, the real pain is gnu radio …

        Will wait January.

        Thank you.

      • Reply fnords Dec 31,2014 5:03 pm

        Yay for updated image in January! I was also trying to download the image. Will watch this space.

  23. Reply Lee Jan 9,2015 4:05 pm

    Thank for compiling this, I got the magnet links and will seed when done. But I’m witing patiently for this to be fixed and released later.

  24. Reply cm2esp Jan 26,2015 4:35 pm

    I all!

    I am having quite a lot of troubles to get the torrent file… Can please some one point me to a direct download link…

    I need Raspberry-Pi OS with GNURadio and RTL-SDR support already preinstalled.


    Raydel, CM2ESP

    • Reply cm2esp Feb 24,2015 1:42 pm

      Hi again,

      Quick request, I can’t download the torrent due to corporate proxy issues… If this is not too much trouble can someone who has already download upload to some site like for me to download as normal HTTP, at least only for a couple of days until I download it….


      Raydel, CM2ESP

  25. Reply Emmett Brown Feb 3,2015 8:59 pm

    It’s 2015…
    Where’s my flying car and working GNU Radio Pi image?

    • Reply gareth Feb 22,2015 4:53 am

      Bwahahahahaa. Sorry, I’ve been very busy with other projects, I *will* get to it at some point though!

  26. Reply r3dsk1n Feb 4,2015 5:00 am

    To fix this image simply boot up and login
    once logged in type in:
    sudo apt-get autoclean
    sudo apt-get clean
    sudo passwd -d pi
    then sudo passwd pi
    (then enter a new password)
    after that simply run:
    sudo raspi-config and set everything up.
    then reboot
    after that you should be able to boot into the GUI

  27. Reply WillK Feb 5,2015 3:00 am

    Thank you all,

    Is this a full built version right?

    I can’t find uhd_find_devices, uhd_usrp_probe function for the USRP.
    If I connect the USRP1 to the raspberry pi, they say, “the firmware images is needed”.
    Do I have to install the firmware image to the raspberry pi for above command?

    Thank you.

    • Reply gareth Feb 22,2015 4:48 am

      This one only has HackRF and RTL-SDR built in. I’ll build USRP and others into the next version I make, but I’m not sure when that will be.

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  29. Reply Steve Sharp Feb 18,2015 6:49 am

    Having trouble with the torrent, it looks OK, but the MD5 reports C792F9D5A8B93EC63459CF6AD461CF9E and if I try to write using win32diskimager I get a “read only file” dialog.


    • Reply martywittrock Feb 22,2015 3:18 pm


      Just take the file in Windows put your cursor over it, right click and then go to the ‘properties’ menu selection. From there, uncheck the Read-Only box and then apply the change. Try it again from there…

  30. Reply Nigel Orr Feb 26,2015 1:57 pm

    Gareth this is great. Will it work with the pi’s audio in and out (or a USB audio dongle) for low frequency applications as standard GnuRadio (i.e. alsa or OSS sink/source)?

  31. Reply Asriadi Mar 7,2015 2:25 pm

    Hi Gareth, nice work to compile raspian with gnu radio. One question, are you included desktop like lxde to this firmware ? thanks for advance

  32. Reply Ham Mar 11,2015 11:27 am

    can this image be tweaked for BladeRF support ?

  33. Reply Jeff Mar 21,2015 1:42 am

    No E4000 tuner found” error.
    I’m using a R820T



  34. Reply Freefuel Mar 21,2015 4:30 pm

    How about a Pi2 image

  35. Reply Marian Apr 7,2015 5:05 pm

    Hi Gareth,

    The image is working fine ,
    my pi is up and running online.
    Thanks a lot for this great work.

  36. Reply ve2ty Apr 10,2015 8:54 pm

    Good stuff, thanks, Tim

  37. Reply yang Apr 11,2015 3:57 pm

    Hi Gareth,I’m in China and I wang to have the file .Please use another way to give me .Thanks.

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  39. Reply Shaun Apr 15,2015 11:32 pm

    Hello, Gareth. It seems the link of the torrent is invalid now. I click it and nothing pops out. Thanks.

  40. Reply kuk Apr 28,2015 7:07 am


    Is it capable at Raspberry pi 2?

    Thank you.

  41. Reply Joerg Korte May 18,2015 6:55 am

    i will spend a space and traffic for ISO Image

    send me a mail for FTP service

  42. Reply David Graham Jul 3,2015 3:10 am

    I was able to get the download, I chose open in new tab, then past the url into my torrent client. The issue is it appears to be a bad image. I just get a red light, Pi2, 8 gig sd. Looking forward to trying it though.

  43. Reply Teun Aug 8,2015 8:59 pm

    Does this image work with rasp.pi2?

  44. Reply den164 Aug 11,2015 2:09 pm

    very much look forward to pI2

  45. Reply Mihai Sep 9,2015 7:30 pm

    It would be very nice to have a Pi2 image …

  46. Reply namor Jan 17,2016 5:20 pm

    is there a tutorial somewhere to setup gqrx with a funcube on rpi 2?

  47. Reply Josh s Jan 26,2016 5:08 pm

    Will pay for pi2 image when it is released

  48. Reply Niall Jan 28,2016 12:40 pm

    Thanks for this. Now my homemade antenna can sit in the garden and report back via WiFi.

    Thought I might have to waste a day building a cross-compiler tool chain to get that to happen.


  49. Reply Orion Jan 29,2016 4:29 pm

    Have you had a chance to create PI2B image? out of curiosity, why aren’t the images able to be run on either PI1 or 2?

  50. Reply Tim Feb 23,2016 12:05 am

    Any chance you could make this work with SDRPlay? I’m having a difficult time getting GNURadio and OsmoSDR to work 🙁

  51. Reply Jabi Jun 9,2016 5:43 am

    Dear Gareth:
    You have one version for the Raspberry 3? The actual version not run on Pi 3.
    73,s de Jabi, ea2aru.

  52. Reply Jabi Jun 12,2016 8:02 am

    Dear sir:
    Is compatible with Raspberry 3 your *.img?
    73,s de Jabi, ea2aru.

  53. Reply Billybad Feb 6,2017 12:43 am

    Working on pi a+ with 256mb on 8gig card. Hiram’s CD is useful for image writing etc good work Gareth

  54. Reply wushuangli Oct 16,2017 4:06 am

    Hi Gareth,I’m in China,too. and I want to have the file .Please use another way to give me .Thanks.

  55. Reply wushuangli Nov 14,2017 9:40 am

    It is not compatible with pi 3

  56. Reply Ken Apr 14,2018 9:04 pm

    Just downloaded your image and have burned it several times with Win32 Disk Image and I get no video or Ethernet light when I try to boot my Raspberry PI 3. Any idea?

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