Recently I purchased a RTL-SDR to play with. These are dirt cheap on Amazon or Ebay usually to the tune of $10 or less shipped to your door. I had a few different ideas of how I would use this, but first on my list was to build an APRS receiver & decoder.
First I had to figure out how to get my RTL-SDR working on Linux. First we need to install a bunch of pre-requisite packages on our Debian/Ubuntu system.
# sudo apt-get install doxygen doxygen-gui doxygen-latex doxygen-dbg doxygen-doc gnuradio-dev gnuradio libgnuradio* libboost-all-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev libusb-1.0-0 gnuradio build-essential cmake mono-complete monodevelop libportaudio2 fftw3-dev
Next we need to download and install the rtl-sdr drivers. Please follow This Link for more information.
After installing the drivers, we need to patch gnu-radio. Please follow This Link for more information.
Next we need to blacklist the standard dvbusbrtl28xxu kernel module. Run the following command:
# sudo echo "blacklist dvb_usb_rtl28xxu" >> /etc/modprobe.d/blacklist.conf
Next we need to install kalibrate. Kalibrate is a tool used to calibrate the RTL-SDR using GSM towers in the 900mhz band.
# git clone https://github.com/steve-m/kalibrate-rtl cd kalibrate-rtl # ./bootstrap && CXXFLAGS='-W -Wall -O3' # ./configure # make # sudo make install
Finally, I installed SDR # which isn't technically necessary for APRS decoding, but it is a fun way to play with the RTL-SDR that doesn't requiring doing a lot of hacking in Gnu-Radio.
I'm going to wrap up Part 1 here. This should get you to a working state with your RTL-SDR. In Part 2 I'll go into getting the Ham Radio side of the software configured.
That's all for now.