The SDR revolution brought a bonnet of opportunities for radio amateurs to experiment, but with it came the sometimes confusing set of software for which even installation can be a difficult prospect for a beginner in SDR. If you are puzzled by all this, help can be at hand with the kind assistance of [Luigi Cruz], Who has packs a package of ready-to-use popular SDR software into a Raspberry Pi OS image.
On board the Raspbian-based OS image are SDR Angel, Soapy Remote, GQRX, GNURadio, LimeUtil and LimeVNA. In terms of hardware, RTL-SDR is supported along with LimeSDR, PlutoSDR, Airspy and Airspy HF. They are all fully operational and even have desktop shortcuts, so if the CLI scares you, you can still dive in and play. More importantly, it is designed for use with SDR transmitters as well as receivers, so the barrier to full SDR operation for radio amateurs is also significantly reduced.
This year marks the seventh anniversary of the hacking of RTL-SDR, which is probably the biggest start to the use of SDR in our community. Our colleague [Tom Nardi] wrote a retrospective it’s worth a look for a review of some of the tricks of SDRs that have evolved over that time. In the meantime, if you don’t mind limiting your view to some extent, it’s possible to do so turn the Raspberry Pi 3 into an SDR without any additional hardware.