SEARS – Using GNU Radio Talk

This evening’s meeting at SEARS, the South Essex ARS, was an excellent talk on the subject of Software Defined Radios running “GNU Radio”, presented by Henry 2E0XHK

Unforeseen gremlins got into the works with Henry’s Linux machine refusing to talk to the projector, but that gave the attendees a chance to socialise and have a tea or a coffee.

It was great to meet up with two M6s-in-waiting, Andrew and Carl, for the first time. Carl recently took Essex Ham’s online training and is a regular listener to the Monday Night Net. Andrew is working towards his Foundation and is progressing well in our online course. Both of them got chatting in the Essex Ham chatroom last night, and Dorothy M0LMR suggested they come down to SEARS to meet up with some of the locals. Andrew brought along his new Baofeng 2m & 70cm handheld – that does DMR. An impressive handie that looks very similar to the UV-5R, just with a smaller screen. DMR for £75 courtesy of Baofeng! Nice to meet you both!

With the laptop issues resolved, the talk commenced, with Henry explaining what can be done with a Raspberry Pi and an SDR dongle. The focus was on the “GNU Radio” software, which is ideal for a Raspberry Pi (running Linux) and also able to be run on a Mac.

After explaining what the software can do, Henry plugged in his SDR dongle and demonstrated tuning in to a local commercial radio station, to show how easy it is. He made use of the versatile GQRX SDR software to tune in to stations.

Henry also outlined what can be done with “GNU Radio Companion” which lets you build blocks and create pipelines – effectively allowing you to customise your SDR giving total control over the functions of the receiver. potentially handy for training and visualising the various parts that make up a radio receiver.

If getting started with a Raspberry Pi and an RTL dongle is of interest, it’s something we recently put an article together about. See Raspberry Pi as an SDR

Thanks to SEARS for another great get-together.

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