Category Archives: drivers & Utilities

RTL-SDR Meets Radio-SkyPipe and RS Spectrograph

Eureka… sort of.

I have written an application that allows you to use inexpensive RTL dongle radios to feed my strip chart program, Radio-SkyPipe (RSP), and my Radio-Sky Spectrograph (RSS), with wideband data.  The program is called RTL Bridge.  I have never claimed to be an imaginative program namer. It works like this:

I consider this experimental as of now, and invite others to test RTL Bridge with RSS and RSP.  If you think you want to try it read the help file here. You will need to install RSS if you have not done so and if you already have it installed, you will need the new update.  It is all in that help file. RSS is free by the way.  This could be the start of a nice hydrogen line study for very little money.


More than 150 apps for Hamradio Operators (also RTL-SDR stuff) ready out of the box on a live cd!

Ubuntu based

Shackbox is now based on Ubuntu 12.04 LTS wich offers the best long time update garanty. For fit shackbox on a DVD, some of native parts of UBUNTU 12.04 had to be removed, such as the new UNITY interface for preserve the app menu tree,and all KDE related apps

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SDR & GNURadio support

Shackbox is the first and only linux live cd distribution offering to user sdr support ofr rtl2832 devices AND gnuradio-companion plug and play with no installation needed.

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24-7 Support

Shackbox is free to download, it s a choice i ve did,BUT i have also decided that support well be par of a 10$ per year membership, just because it s a lot of work for myself, and helping you guys for free, wouldn t help me at all. Hosting and maintaining takes me already lots of time, sure you understand.

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Downloads :


SDR-Radio V2 RTL-USB (How-To)

Simon was gracious enough to provide directions to build a DLL to directly support the RTL Dongle in his new V2 application.  In an effort to help others out I have followed his directions and built the DLL to make it available to those who do not have the required development tools.  I used Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 and the following source code:

I followed the directions at:

In the zipfile you will see two directories:

If you are using a 64bit copy of windows you will need to copy the files in the 64bit directory to the following location:

C:\Program Files\

For 32bit windows copy them here

C:\Program Files (x86)\

Here is a link to the DLLs. Jan 6th 2013 Feb 9th 2013
Here is a screenshot running my RTL Dongle listening to a local FM Radio broadcast.


Kalibrate-RTL: Calibrate #SDR (SDR Sharp) Linux/Windows TUTORIAL.

My dongles drift about 8ppm from cold start to warm up after around 40 minutes.
And converter will drift also.

Kalibrate, or kal, can scan for GSM base stations in a given frequency band and can use those GSM base stations to calculate the local oscillator frequency offset.

Download it from here:

Linnux source:
Windows :

See the list of options below.

(I have the ‘Kalibrate’ files on my D: drive in the folder named ‘Kalibrate’)
(The commands below are what are in my shortcuts. If you want to run from a DOS window, just enter everything after the ‘C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /k’)

Use this command to find a GSM850 signal in your area.
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /k “D:\Kalibrate\kal.exe” -g 42 -e 22 -s 850

Then, once you have identified a GSM signal in your area, run calibrate using the command below.
C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /k “D:\Kalibrate\kal.exe” -e 41 -c 234 -v

For the above command:
GSM Channel 234 (-c 234)
-e is roughly the error rate expected. ’41’ in this case. (not real critical) (-e 41)

That will give you the:
‘Frequency correction (ppm)

Where options are:
-s band to scan (GSM850, GSM900, EGSM, DCS, PCS)
-f frequency of nearby GSM base station
-c channel of nearby GSM base station
-b band indicator (GSM850, GSM900, EGSM, DCS, PCS)
-R side A (0) or B (1), defaults to B
-A antenna TX/RX (0) or RX2 (1), defaults to RX2
-g gain as % of range, defaults to 45%
-F FPGA master clock frequency, defaults to 52MHz
-v verbose
-D enable debug messages
-h help

Then, if you are using a converter, you need to set ‘Shift’ or ‘Offset’ for it.
I don’t use a converter so I can’t help with that part.

If you have ‘Snap to grid’ selected, SDRSharp will land on an exact multiple of your selected step size.


Edit: Here is an older run that I did.
The search found channel 136 to be the strongest on that antenna.

Using channel 136, the ‘Frequency correction offset’ rounds up to 38ppm. (SDRSharp accepts whole numbers only)


Source : Extracted from