Gqrx SDR for the Raspberry Pi

Gqrx for the Raspberry Pi

Starting with version 2.6, Gqrx SDR is available as binary package for the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3:

Drivers included: Rtlsdr, Airspy, HackRF, RFSpace, Funcube Dongle, Red Pitaya and SoapySDR.

Running Gqrx on the Raspberry Pi is still very experimental. I strongly recommend that you start with a fresh installation of Raspbian on the MicroSD card. Once you have seen it work you can experiment with different setups and let us know how it works.

Installation instructions

Gqrx is installed and run as regular user pi and not as the root user:

  1. Start with a fresh and up to date installation of Raspbian.
  2. Install libqt5gui5, libqt5core5a, libqt5network5, libqt5widgets5, libqt5svg5 and libportaudio2
  3. Download the correct package for your Pi, see links above.
  4. Unpack the file in the file manager.
  5. Run the setup_gqrx.sh script.
  6. Run Gqrx using the run_gqrx.sh script.

That’s pretty much it, but please check the included readme.txt file for any last minute info about the package.

If you prefer the terminal, here are the commands necessary to execute the above steps (each command is prepended with a $-sign to indicate the prompt):

$ sudo apt-get update
$ sudo apt-get upgrade
   (reboot if necessary)
$ sudo apt-get install libqt5gui5 libqt5core5a libqt5network5
$ sudo apt-get install libqt5widgets5 libqt5svg5 libportaudio2
$ wget https://github.com/csete/gqrx/releases/download/v2.6/gqrx-2.6-rpi3-1.tar.xz
$ tar xvf gqrx-2.6-rpi3-1.tar.xz
$ cd gqrx-2.6-rpi3-1
$ ./setup_gqrx.sh

You are now ready to use Gqrx through the run_gqrx.sh script.

Device support

Running Gqrx on the Raspberry Pi is still experimental and a compromise at best. You should not expect the same performance as on a high end PC.

The table below should give you an idea of what kind of performance you can expect using the default settings.

Device Raspberry Pi 2 Raspberry Pi 3
Rtlsdr Works up to 1.44 Msps Works up to 2.4 Msps
Airspy R2 Doesn’t work Use 2.5 Msps and input decimation ≥ 4
Airspy Mini Doesn’t work Use 3 Msps and input decimation ≥ 8
HackRF Doesn’t work (USB power?) Works at  2 Msps
RFSpace SDR-IQ Doesn’t work well (FTDI?) Works up to 111.111 ksps
RFSpace Cloud-IQ Works up to 256 ksps Works up to 614 ksps
RFSpace NetSDR Not tested (need hardware)
Funcube Dongle Pro Works
Funcube Dongle Pro+ Works but sometimes with crackling audio
Red Pitaya Not tested (need time)

In most cases you can reduce the CPU load further by reducing the window size, sample rate, FFT rate and FFT size (try 2048 at 10-15 Hz).

If you are only interested in the FFT, set Mode to “Demod Off”. This will greatly reduce the CPU load.

You could also try to overclock the Pi, although this is not recommended.

Let us know how it works for you!