GNU Radio and rtl_sdr on Raspberry Pi 8

Software Defined Radio is very cool, especially when you can use a $10 DVB-T dongle to do it on a $40 computer.

I noticed a lot of people were having problems compiling GNU Radio on the Raspberry Pi, so I’ve done this for you. Simply download the image, unzip it, write it to an SD card (you’ll need an 8GB card), and everything just works. I haven’t tried a 4GB card, it might work, but keep in mind you need a LOT of swap space for GNU Radio to do most things.

I’m using Wheezy with a 1.6GB swap file (yes). GNU Radio has been compiled (the whole suite including gnuradio companion), along with the rtl_sdr suite including rtl_fm, rtl_power, rtl_tcp etc.

Note: this only works on the model B raspberry pi, not model A.

Boot up with this image, and either plug in a keyboard, or SSH in (IP is set by DHCP).

Username: pi
Password: raspberry

Download the gareth_wheezygr.img torrent using this magnet link. Please make a note to continue seeding after download. If you can’t get the torrent to work, you can use this direct link, please do try the torrent first though.

MD5 (gareth_wheezygr.img.gz) = c8714d82658613cc26c98dfbfd96fc0d

UPDATE: I’ll be releasing a new version of this next week which will work on more SD cards, include the rtl-sdr suite as well as some other goodies like a tool to precisely calibrate your dongle by using the GSM network. Please check back, or follow (don’t friend) me on facebook to be notified of the update.

8 thoughts on “GNU Radio and rtl_sdr on Raspberry Pi

  1. Reply Joe jesson Jul 31, 2014 2:30 pm

    Hi, great project! My torrent client, transformer, has problems downloading the Raspi img file… Do you have an alternative download site?

    The Joe Jesson

  2. Reply Joe Jesson Aug 3, 2014 4:14 am

    I was able to download and extract the img file successfully although at the end of the SD memory write using Win32 Disk Imager, I received an error message – “Not enough space on disk: Size 156467720 sectors. Available 15644672 sectors. Sector size: 512″.

    Is my 8Gb Lexar drive not big enough? What SD size and mfg are you using?

    Thanks, Joe Jesson

    • Reply gareth Aug 14, 2014 1:37 pm

      Hi Joe, some 8GB SD cards are slightly bigger or smaller than others, but the real problem is that I didn’t shrink the main partition down before packaging it which is something I should have done and would have avoided this error. I’ll release an update next week to address this issue.

  3. Reply Sromero Aug 14, 2014 2:31 am

    Hi gareth. I try your img but rtl-sdr doesnt appear in gnuradio. Please help me.

    • Reply gareth Aug 14, 2014 1:41 pm

      Hi, I did not include rtl-sdr on this one. I’ll release an updated version next week with a few more useful tools, including the rtl-sdr suite.

  4. Reply Sromero Aug 14, 2014 7:50 pm

    Thank you, gareth. I’ll apreciate your new version.

    • Reply Joe jesson Aug 14, 2014 9:33 pm

      Gareth, did you find any Performance-enhancement
      Tricks? Last time I ran gqrx on a raspi it
      Could not handle the fat and display…was only
      Useful as a sdr server.

      BEST, Joe

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