Software Defined Radio

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Revision as of 18:30, 18 June 2018 by WA4OSH (talk | contribs) (Advanced Software Defined Radios: Added supported SDRs)

Software Defined Radio (SDR)

SatNOGS can use a variety of SDRs. The most cost-effective solution is to use an RTL-SDR with a Raspberry Pi. More advanced SDRs can also be used, but they require more processing power than what a Raspberry Pi can offer.

RTL-SDR: RTL2832U & R820T2-Based Software Defined Radios

SatNOGS uses the RTL-SDR as the default signal receiver and tuner. The RTL-SDR is based on two chips -- the versatile RTL2832U chip and the R820T tuner. The RTL-SDR is currently the cheapest, most common, and most performing solution available in terms of general sensitivity having a frequency range of 24 – 1766 MHz. A metal enclosure with SMA connector is preferred. A stable TCXO (low ppm). HF coverage is optional.

These RTL-SDR "dongles" are known to work with Raspberry Pi 2 or greater:

  • NooElec NESDR SMArt
  • RTL-SDR Blog R820T2 RTL2832U
  • Full band UV HF RTL-SDR USB Tuner Receiver

Advanced Software Defined Radios

The following advanced SDRs are supported by SatNOGS. These may require more processing power than a Raspberry Pi 3b can offer.

  • USRP b200
  • USRP2
  • Airspy
  • HackRF One


HW Radio

The stack allows the use of other receivers as well (like amateur radio transceivers) through rigctld (part of Ham Lib project).

This thread discusses the possibility of using standard amateur radios. In general:

  • You should be able to use any rotator supported by hamlib
  • Gpredict support for your radio will make things much easier
  • The satellites you'll be able to decode may be limited; filters have been developed for RTL-SDR, and won't be available for your radio.