Amateur Radio with KC7MM
Discussion thread for the Linux User Net
Topic for December 3, 2018 (KC7MM, NCS)
Receive and digitally process RF signals
rtl_fmutility can be used as the start of a command-line chain of pipes (with
socat) that lets you tune to a station and then stream it over a network. Details here.
Start with a device that receives signals and digitizes them, and then inputs them to a computer (usually via USB).
rtl-sdrpackage in Mint, contains
rtl_fmutility (documented at link)
A first look at some client software.
Performs all the signal processing for SDR.
Performs all the signal processing for SDR. Alternative to GNU Radio, written in the Lua scripting language.
Topic for January 7, 2019 (KC7MM, NCS)
I have been experimenting with an RTL-SDR dongle, using both the
gqrx graphical application and terminal-based utilities contained in the
rtl-sdr package (from the Mint repository) as the interface to it. Tonight's Net topic is about my experience so far.
This package contains a set of command line utilities:
After some manipulation of the TV module (detailed on the Web site), I was able to use
rtl_fm to listen to the FM broadcast band with the command:
rtl_fm -f 89.9e6 -s 240000 -r 96000 - | aplay -r 96000 -f S16_LE
Changing the frequency of 89.9 to 147.04 got me the ARRG repeater at Sylvan.
gqrx is a graphical user interface for running SDR devices on Linux. I installed it from the Linux Mint repository. When I started up the program, it detected the RTL-SDR dongle, and I had no trouble selecting it and starting it going. There are many YouTube videos on using this application; search for
For Ham Radio purposes, just listening to the signal might not be sufficient. For example one might want to send the received signal to
fldigi to decode digital modes. That's not hard to do. I was able to get it working using the Pulse Audio Volume Control to link the input of
fldigi to the output of
gqrx. I learned how by watching YouTube videos by Kevin Loughlin, KB9RLW, which were most helpful:
I also succeeded in getting the signal into Audacity.
rtl_tcp command-line utility will stream the SDR signal to a TCP port. I'd like to see about using that in place of
gqrx as the signal source for
fldigi. Pulse Audio won't work for that, so I'll try to use
multimon-ng, as described in another KB9RLW video: Decoding POCSAG pager transmissions with GQRX and multimon-ng. As a practical application, I'm thinking that streaming an RTL-SDR might be a simple way for the base unit of a weather station I'm building to receive telemetry from remote sensors and route it to processing code I'll write in Python.