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Getting Gnu-Radio Working On Debian With The RTL-SDR
modified: 2015-04-17 16:00:47

I originaly tried to use the debian package gnuradio, but this failed as it appears to not install the required cmake files needed for the gr-osmosdr. The gr-osmosdr is the front-end for gnu-radio. It either reads directly from the RTL-SDR dongle or can be used to connect over TCP to the rtl_tcp program. You can find it here, [http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/GrOsmoSDR].

The first step is to grab the gnu-radio source, from [http://gnuradio.org/redmine/projects/gnuradio/wiki/Download]. I downloaded a stable tarball, but I regret not trying the latest development branch. I will let you decide which you wish to use.

Once you have the source extracted or fetched you need to start the build process. In my case it resided at /home/kmcguire/gnuradio-3.7.5. I first entered into the directory and executed mkdir build. This gave me the path /home/kmcguire/gnuradio-3.7.5/build.

Next, we need to start the cmake process. You may need to do a sudo apt-get install cmake. While inside the newly created directory named build you need to execute cmake ../ &> log. This will configure the build and dump all output to the file named log. Once the command finishes open the log file and inspect the end of the file for any disabled components. You may need to install various packages using apt-get such as libudh-dev, and libgsl0-dev. The libudh-dev may try to install gnuradio, and if so you can just do sudo apt-get remove gnuradio since we compiling it from source. If you need a X11 setup you can do sudo apt-get install openbox xinit, and enter that using xinit openbox-session.

When I finished the following packages were disabled: testing-support, doxygen, sphinx, gr-comedi, gr-fcd, and gr-zeromq. You will likely need to go back and forth between installed packages and running cmake ../ &> log until you are satisfied.

Once you are satisfied you need to execute make in the build directory, and once that completes successfully you can execute sudo make install to install the components onto your system. The compilation may take some considerable time depending on your system performance.

The next step is to compile the grosmo front-end and utilities. You can find the download and instructions at [http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/GrOsmoSDR]. Since you compiled the gnu-radio from source everything needed should be satisfied. A simple sequence of:

    git clone git://git.osmocom.org/gr-osmosdr
    cd gr-osmosdr
    mkdir build
    cmake ../
    make
    sudo make install

You should now be able to execute osmocom_spectrum_sense -a rtl_tcp=yourip:yourport 144M 148M -q 15 -F 128 as an example to connect to rtl_tcp running on the same computer or another one. If you do not have the rtl_tcp then you can find it at [http://sdr.osmocom.org/trac/wiki/rtl-sdr]. You will need to follow very similar instructions in order to get it installed and setup.