RTL-SDR Raspberry Pi Image 24

Update: I’ve been extremely busy with the HackRF Blue project and have not had time to release an updated version of this image, but I will do once the HackRF Blue is out of the way!

This Raspberry Pi Image is built with rtl-sdr suite included for use with DVB-T dongles. You will need a 4Gb card (or larger) for this image.

System: Debian Wheezy armhf (Raspbian Wheezy) (Kernel 3.12.28+ #709)


  • rtl_adsb
  • rtl_fm
  • rtl_sdr
  • rtl_test
  • rtl_eeprom
  • rtl_power
  • rtl_tcp
  • kalibrate
  • multimon-ng


Download the image and write to an SD card as you would for any other Raspberry Pi image.

User: pi
Password: raspberry

Run raspi-config to expand the root partition.

Using Kalibrate:

Every DVB-T dongle has slight variances which affect frequency. Kalibrate is a tool that uses the GSM cell network to determine the offset of your dongle.

First, check what frequency the GSM network in your area uses, the options are: GSM850, GSM-R, GSM900, EGSM, DCS, PCS.

kal -s GSM900 ย  //GSM900 where I live in Hong Kong, but yours may differ.

[-s scan]

Then choose the strongest channel given in the results, for me it was 32.

kal -c 36

[-c channel of closest GSM station]

It will then give you the PPM offset of your dongle.


Please use this magnet/torrent link to download. When you have downloaded this, please share the love andย keep seeding the torrent for as long as you can, indefinitely if possible.

MD5 (rtl-sdr.img.gz) = cd7ab40ed9e5c55a3f0995f63ed7ddea

24 thoughts on “RTL-SDR Raspberry Pi Image

  1. Reply Peter Nov 5,2014 9:41 pm

    Is there a Linux command line tool to download the magnet links? Simply clicking on them does not seem to work in Chrome/Linux

  2. Reply Jean Nov 11,2014 3:27 pm

    Gareth, you’ve delivered the goods yet again. This saved me a lot of time, thanks very much for sharing! I’ve mounted a pi on the roof in a watertight box with an 8ft antenna and running it over rtl_tcp, remember if you’re ever out this way there’s a perfectly good foldout for you to sleep on!

  3. Reply Brendan Nov 16,2014 1:47 pm

    This is fantastic, everything just works. There was one a few years ago but the rtl code is totally outdated now. Thanks very much for the update!

    I’m using the Pi mounted straight onto a sat dish and using rtl_tcp to send data back, much better than using a coax cable, way better signal strength.

  4. Reply widrone Nov 22,2014 9:22 pm

    This is just awesome, thanks.
    Had me up and running in less than 10 minutes using rtl_tcp piping stuff to a laptop.

    Pushing about 35Mbit/s data over the network when in operation.
    Using about 30% of the PI cpu, and plenty (300+ MB) free memory.

  5. Reply Error404FNF Dec 5,2014 5:05 am

    Nice job! Odd that you used a torrent, but it worked (yes, I scanned for malware and viruses). Had the FM command line running in a minute. I’m excited to add a cheap computer to a 10 dollar SDR.

  6. Reply Les Jan 12,2015 5:09 pm

    This sounds like just what I was looking for.
    Is there a setup/guide out there to help get me it working?

  7. Reply Smokey Behr Jan 14,2015 7:10 pm

    Is there a direct link to the download? Torrents are blocked on the network I’m using.

  8. Reply marc bernier Feb 4,2015 1:06 am

    we are a french group on facebook who test and use sdr et Rpi
    we willl eave you another feedback and more soon here

  9. Reply bj Feb 10,2015 3:20 am

    I get url cannot be shown error when I click on the magnet/torrent link. Can I download it someplace else?

  10. Reply Kevin Groce Feb 17,2015 5:04 am

    Do you have any updates for the pi2? KG

    • Reply gareth Feb 22,2015 4:44 am

      I just got hold of one, but I’ve been quite busy, it will probably be another month before I can work on this image.

  11. Reply Graham Feb 21,2015 10:46 am

    Hi I have just downloaded rtl-sdr.img.gz unziped rtl-sdr.img
    Then dd if=rtl-sdr.img of=/dev/sdb1 bs=4M
    No errors but when I look at the SD card it will not display and once again gparted shows unknown format !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    What am I doing wrong ??????

    Thanks Graham

    • Reply gareth Feb 22,2015 5:04 am

      How long is it taking to write the image? It could be some kind of buffering issue or something like that, or your card could be damaged. Try a different card, and also while probably not the issue it’s worth experimenting with different block sizes (bs=x), have a google for how to determine the best block size to use, always good to know anyway.

  12. Reply Graham Mar 8,2015 5:11 am

    Thanks Gareth I have now been able to copy your image to my SD card . If I use the imagewriter gui or dd it fails to copy but by right clicking on your image and selecting OPEN WITH …. Disk image writer it works perfectly ?????
    UBNUTU 14….

    Loads fine on the RPi and I have run the raspi-config etc
    Next problem is when I try to RUN rtl they all show on the drop down menu but when I select one ie rtl-test the window disappears and nothing happens ???

    I tried using terminal and selecting rtl-sdr –help but OS complains command not found ??
    I am missing a step here but not sure what it is ๐Ÿ™
    Thanks Graham

  13. Reply F5VLB Mar 20,2015 10:37 am

    Hello and thank you for your clear explanation and the software. I am a newbie in RPI and I wonder if I have to install the image of SDR you propose on the same SD as the boot of RPI ? it seems RPI reduce the size of the card from 8Gb to some 100Mb and impossible for me (at this stage) to undertsand why …

    best regards

    Jean Marie

  14. Reply David Pride Apr 5,2015 11:07 pm

    Installed & running on Pi, but no sound. Have forced sound over hdmi but doesn’t make a difference.

    Program runs correctly using…

    rtl_fm -f 100.4M -M wbfm | aplay -r 32k -f S16_LE

    And it starts and shows output playing via aplay – just no audio. Have tested audio in other software to make sure it’s working and it is.

    I’ve also tried the ‘full package’ image and this runs, and has audio using the command above, but unfortunately crashes frequently.

    I only need rtl_fm for current project, would be grateful if u have any suggestions.

    • Reply gareth Apr 9,2015 6:39 am

      What happens if you pipe it to a file instead and try to play it on another device? I’m just wondering if it’s something to do with aplay or if rtl_fm itself is the culprit.

  15. Reply Pete Mi0VAX Apr 11,2015 6:36 pm

    It’s worth mentioning you can’t upgrade this for use with the Rpi2 using an 8GB card, it isn’t big enough to go down the route of sudo apt-get update; apt-get upgrade.

  16. Reply skrilic Jul 11,2015 8:25 am

    I’ve developed program almost perfectly suits Gareths RPi & RTL-SDR image. It is GUI program which controls station over SSH connection (obviously, SSH server must be started on RPi) and works on Windows desktop. If anyone is willing to give it a try, here are

    screenshot: http://1drv.ms/1HTfw9x
    and installation package: http://1drv.ms/1HTfw9x

    (MS-SQL Express LocalDB and NET4.5 are prerequisites). I’ll be happy to hear about your suggestions. For audio streaming you must have VLC package installed on RPi also.

  17. Reply Kalo Alexandra Nov 29,2016 1:41 pm

    I am corporately restricted from using any sort of torrent or peer sharing networks. Is there any chance your can provide a direct download link?

  18. Reply Beppe Dec 19,2016 9:02 am

    OLA Gareth
    new versions for RPI 3? If necessary, you can adapt this img?

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