Friday, July 20, 2012

RTL-SDR usb dongle on Ubuntu

So a follow up...After I installed the software on my Win7 desktop...I decided to install it on my Dell Mini9 running Ubuntu. In the process I forgot why exactly I wanted to run the Linux version, but it had something to do with digital decoding software...

The reason I forgot the original motivation was because the most difficult part of the install was upgrading my version of Ubuntu.

I never upgraded past the 8.04LTS that came with the Mini9...I installed a newer version on my wife's but never updated mine.

So about 6 hours were spent in upgrading from 8.04 to 12.10...uh you can't have to reinstall new...

I had to create a boot USB using pendrive linux. Then I had to install 12.10 over top the 8.04...of course mine is a triple boot with OSX, WinXP, and Ubuntu, so I had to install everything into the correct directory...I won't get into the whole thing, but I had to go through the entire install process twice...the good news it it actually maintained some files I had in the Ubuntu partition.

So on to the RTL-SDR setup.

I followed this 3 page guide. I worked perfectly but it took quite a bit longer than advertised. (my mini9 isn't so powerful)

I usually give some addendum or notes on how my install went different...but actually mine went exactly the same.

What can I say it works perfectly...and on a low power mini9!


Alex said...

So in the end, you were able to get your rtl-sdr working on 12.10, but the solution was to do a fresh 12.10 install? I wasn't having any luck after upgrading from 12.04 to 12.10. Did you try the gnu-radio build script?

bubba zanetti said...

The reason I had to upgrade had to do with some files (I don't remember what now) that were not available/compatible with 8.04. I think it was after I installed and tried to run it that I realized that...I was getting error messages.

So yes I just followed those instructions, including a cut and paste on the commands (I didn't run the script, just used the terminal)

I run the Gqrx for the that I think about it, that might have been one of the programs (Gqrx runs on QT4) I needed a newer linux for.

bubba zanetti said...

To summarize,

I pasted the commands into Terminal to install GNU-Radio (which also installs drivers for the RTL-SDR)


chmod +x ./build-gnuradio


Then I ran 'rtl_test -t' in the terminal to make sure it saw the dongle'

rtl_test -t

Then I followed the instructions for installing Gqrx

Alex said...

Awesome, thanks. So those same steps didn't work after the upgrade, but did work after the fresh install. I'm just trying to decide if I need to start from scratch. I've ran the build-gnuradio script a handful of times and nothing is working yet (before the upgrade it was working). I'm thinking about installing from apt before blowing it away, but the version in apt is one revision old (3.6.1 vs 3.6.2).

I'll give whatever you recommend a shot (tonight?) and report back.

bubba zanetti said...

My problem was I couldn't go from the version of 8 I had to 12...