Friday Hack Chat: GNU Radio

Software defined radio picked up a lot of popularity when it was discovered that cheap USB TV tuners were functional bits of hardware that could become SDRs. It’s the software that makes this possible, and when it comes to SDR software, there’s no better tool than GNU Radio. For this week’s Hack Chat we’re going to sit down with some of the people behind this awesome software tool and pick their brains.

Our guests for this week’s Hack Chat will be Derek Kozel and Nate Temple, officers of the GNU Radio project. They’re also organizers of this year’s GNU Radio Conference. Also joining in on the Hack Chat will be Martin Braun, community manager, PyBOMBS maintainer, and GNU Radio Foundation officer.

GNU Radio is perhaps the most important bit of any software defined radio toolchain. This is the software that provides signal processing blocks to implement software defined radios. GNU radio is how you take a TV tuner USB dongle and pull images from satellites. You can use it for simulation, and GNU Radio is widely used by hobbyists, academics, and by people in industry.

For this week’s Hack Chat, we’re going to be talking all about GNU Radio. What can you do with it? Was the interface really inspired by MaxMSP? All that and more in this week’s Hack Chat.

  • Various bits of hardware that make GNU Radio work
  • The core process of writing modules
  • Upcoming features of GNU Radio

You are, of course, encouraged to add your own questions to the discussion. You can do that by leaving a comment on the GNU Radio Hack Chat Event Page and we’ll put that in the queue for the Hack Chat discussion.join-hack-chat

Our Hack Chats are live community events on the Hack Chat group messaging. This week is just like any other, and we’ll be gathering ’round our video terminals at noon, Pacific, on Friday, August 31st. Need a countdown timer? We should look into hosting these countdown timers on, actually.

Click that speech bubble to the right, and you’ll be taken directly to the Hack Chat group on

You don’t have to wait until Friday; join whenever you want and you can see what the community is talking about.

4 thoughts on “Friday Hack Chat: GNU Radio

  1. I have been interested in pairing a FL2K and RTL-SDR along with some band passing and amplification to make an amateur transceiver.
    I would love to see some AM, FM, SSB, and some digital mode decode tutorials specific to this low cost ($10 w/shipping) RX TX setup. I wish that Gnuradio came with some common example setups already blocked out, I didn’t find these when looking. Every time I had some spare time since FL2Ks arrived the flowchart block style stopped me and I didn’t find a good tutorial to get me going. I have so far just tuned my RTL with GQRX or played with my ‘real’ radios..

    1. Watch Michael Ossmann’s youtube tutorials. Read Richard Lyons. There are others that do tutorial videos, but they sometimes use too many black box blocks, which aren’t very illustrative. Study the theory and Gnuradio becomes much more intuitive.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.