OS X Port Of Gqrx Is The Easiest Way To Get Into Software Defined Radio

Many have tried to put together an easy package for running software defined radio packages on the Mac. Not many have succeeded the way [Elias]’ port of the gqrx SDR package has. It’s simply the easiest way to get a software defined radio up and running on the mac.

gqrx is a front end for the very popular GNU Radio software defined radio toolkit. Originally designed for the FUNcube SDR dongle, gqrx can also be made to work with one of the many, many USB TV tuners that have come out of China this past year for use as a software radio.

[Elias]’ port of gqrx isn’t the first app to put software defined radio on the Mac, but it certainly is the easiest. Simply by downloading [Elias] disk image, plugging in a TV tuner dongle, and starting the app, I was able to have a software radio receiver on my MacBook Air in less than a minute.

Everything required by GNU Radio and gqrx is already included, making this the easiest way to get SDR on a Mac. Very awesome work from [Elias], and we thank him.

22 thoughts on “OS X Port Of Gqrx Is The Easiest Way To Get Into Software Defined Radio

    1. I’ve had excellent luck with, as others have said, searching on ebay for “RTL2832U e4000”. the one I like (got 3 identical(? usb hw ids are all the same anyway) sticks from 3 different vendors) is black with 2 rounded corners and labeled “DVB-T-DAB-FM” – comes with a remote control and tiny antenna – packaging is white/green and labeled “mini digital tv stick”

      can be had for <$20 incl shipping, I think I paid slightly more in each case just for better vendor reviews/ratings.

      1. also, take a look at connecting to better antennas.

        a right-angle male MCX to male FME is pretty useful – FME can then be connected to a lot of things, has a high duty cycle, rated for surprisingly high frequency response for such a tiny connector, very nice when you don’t want to put a giant hole in the wall to external antenna etc.

        or go male MCX to whatever your chosen antenna, BNC, or PL-259 (ugh) etc.

        “slim jim” style j-pole antennas are inexpensive, nicely portable and work fairly well.

        a j-pole (N9TAX made in usa, ~$27) and a right-angle MCX to female BNC (free shipping from e asia, ~$3) is not a bad addition.

        1. out of curiousity , why PL259 “Ugh” and not BNC Ugh? Pl259 really opens up your options for mounts and availability as well its about 200x easier to end a cable than goddamn BNC, -granted i havent worked with the smaller stuff but i’d imagine pl259 is substantially easier than N or MCX as well

      2. (sorry to keep responding to self but 70cm/2m is a good choice for a j-pole. or something more generic like a discone antenna, also cheap. I’ve even had luck using the directional HD antenna on top of our house (impedance mismatch, but not a big deal since it’s not transmitting; and obviously the directional aspect is limiting.) and one of my sticks works pretty well with no antenna at all, not sure if that’s a bug or feature.)

    1. I’m no amateur radio operator but here is how I see it:

      It is just a cheaper way for (receiving) wideband radio. In other words, you don’t need to buy dedicated hardware. However, because decoding is performed with software you are not limited by the protocols that your hardware can decode (as in the hardware radio). Software is also easier to hack..

      So yeah, basically now everyone can implement their own decoders to listen to radio communication that used to be “hidden” in the spectrum (because hardware radio decoders were either not existent or too expensive).

    2. Software defined radio has many attractions, it allows you to do a lot more with a lot less in terms of hardware, multi-mode reception becomes possible without all the complex hardware needed in an analogue radio. One other desirable aspect of SDR is brick wall filtering, not normally found in many modern receivers, decoding of digital modes, and the list goes on and on.

      Software defined radio is big in the amateur radio community.

      1. squeeks;

        I have a Softrock RX here I built from a kit.
        There is a write up on the kit build over on QRZ.com. I did the Writeup to help spur interest in kit building. I have been into RF (both as a hobby and a career) for a long time, I figured given my current state of health if I could build it then just about anybody else could. Interest seems to have picked up.


        This thing works surprisingly well for how little is actually there in the way of hardware.


  1. Software defined radio has the advantage of doing more with less hardware, among other things it allows for multi-mode reception on incoming signals without a lot of hardware involved in the process. brick wall filtering is an advantage to using SRD over conventional analogue radio. Remote operation is another plus. There are a number of SDR based transceivers on the market these days they offer high performance and a high degree of control not normally available in non-SDR gear.

    They are by no means an ideal solution, there are latency issues with SDRs and some (me included) complain about the receiver audio quality and the colored transmit audio found in many SRDs.


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