The SDR revolution has brought a bonanza of opportunities for experimentation to the radio enthusiast, but with it has come a sometimes-confusing array of software for which even installation can be a difficult prospect for an SDR novice. If you’re bamboozled by it all then help may be at hand courtesy of [Luigi Cruz], who has packaged a suite of ready-to-go popular SDR software in an OS image for the Raspberry Pi.
On board the Raspbian-based OS image are SDR Angel, Soapy Remote, GQRX, GNURadio, LimeUtil, and LimeVNA. In hardware terms the RTL-SDR is supported, along with the LimeSDR, PlutoSDR, Airspy, and Airspy HF. All are completely ready-to-go and even have desktop shortcuts, so if the CLI scares you then you can still dive in and play. More importantly it’s designed for use with SDR transmitters as well as receivers, so the barrier for full SDR operation for radio amateurs has become significantly lower too.
This year has seen the seven-year anniversary of the RTL-SDR hack that probably did most to kickstart the use of SDRs in our community. Our colleague [Tom Nardi] wrote a retrospective that’s worth a look for its overview of some SDR tricks that have evolved over that time. Meanwhile if you don’t mind restricting your outlook somewhat, it’s possible to turn the Raspberry Pi 3 into an SDR all without any extra hardware.