John's Musings


Yeah, Me Neither

Make a Raspberry Pi 3 RTL-SDR Server

First of all, why would you want to do this? Here's my best explanation. You can mount the SDR and Raspberry Pi somewhere permanent like the attic and maybe even outdoors. Then you can access the SDR from your computer without having an SDR plugged in and being tied to an antenna. Makes you mobile.


Here's my rig.


Raspberry Pi 3 - $35


NooElec Nano 3 - $27.95




Quite a portable little setup. Occupies a little more space than a can of Altoids.


Download Rasbian Jessie here and burn the image file with Etcher. Once you get booted up follow the directions on this excellent page to set up rtl_tcp. I'd copy the instructions here but I couldn't do it better than the page that is linked. Once you have a booted Pi with rtl_tcp running then you need to have client software like GQRX or SDR#. GQRX runs on Mac and Linux. SDR# runs on Windows.


Start GQRX and then click the crossed wrench and screwdriver.



Figure out your Pi's IP address and configure GQRX as so. (My IP address is 192.168.20.89 with port of 1234) Your address may be different.




To start a listening stream fill in the following:


Device string = rtl_tcp192.168.20.89:1234

Input rate = 1200000 (theoretically this should be 2400000) however mine choked a bit so I throttled it back some.




Now on your remote computer (connected to the same network) start GQRX. Note that at the top it shows connected to the rtl_tcp server you set up. Note that tuning is a bit slow. But it works. Now you can play with your SDR radio from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. Open port 1234 in your router to the IP of the Raspberry Pi using TCP and you can access it from anywhere. Listen to your favorite radio station from another state. Listen to Ham Radio from a hotel room without a 20' antenna or basically any gear at all.






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