Howto build a RTL-SDR environment on Ubuntu 10.04LTS


Goal is to create a RTL-SDR environment for compiling software for this fine and cheap dongle. The tutorial based on the operation system Ubuntu 10.04LTS. The reason is that my PC has a Duocore 2GHz with 2GB ram, only. On this machina Ubuntu 12.xx works not very well. 

In two or three hours you have your own the RTL-SDR toolchain.

Building a boot medium

Download the Ubuntu 10.04LTS ISO file from this server http://releases.ubuntu.com/lucid/ . Burn the ISO on DVD or copy it on an USB stick with UNetbootin

Boot and installation 

After you burned the ISO to DVD or copied it to USB stick, you have to boot from this medium. At the beginning you have to answer several questions about username, userpassword, partition etc. This parts is not far away from Windows OS. If you will be asked for username take "rtlsdruser", please. This user is used for sudo rights later on.
Ubuntu will be installed now. It takes about 30 minutes - more or less. At the end you will be asked to reboot. Do it and choose Ubuntu for your favorite OS now.

Important upgrades, updates etc.

After rebooting it is important to do the upgrades and updates. Otherwise the RTL-SDR toolchain will work nonsatisfying. So follow this tutorial step for step.Building a boot medium
Note: for sudo command mentioned later on you have to type the password you gave at installation.
  • Choose Software Sources. slider Other software. Ckeck Lucid Partner.
  • Press [ALT F2] and type gnome-terminal. Press [ENTER].
  • Type sudo apt-get upgrade. Press [ENTER]. Press [Y] if needed.
  • Type sudo apt-get udate. Press [ENTER]. Press [Y] if needed.

Needed packets and modules

To compile Osmocom software and other RTL-SDR related stuff you have to do this apt installations;:
  • sudo apt-get install build-essentials cmake git-core libboost-all-dev libusb-1.0-0-dev  python-scitools portaudio19-dev -y and press [ENTER].

Gnuradio, Sourcecodes etc.

Now you can compile several software from Osmocom. At first create a directory called coding
  • mkdir coding  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd coding  and press [ENTER]. 


This will build the big Gnuradio environment.
  • wget http://www.sbrac.org/files/build-gnuradio  and press [ENTER]. 
  • chmod 755 build-gnuradio and press [ENTER]. 
  • ./build-gnuradio  and press [ENTER]. Confirm with [Y] and [Y]. Then you have to wait long long time :).


Thie will build the Libosmocore environment. It's needed for several Osmocom software like Tetra.
  • git clone git://git.osmocom.org/libosmocore.git and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd libosmocore/ and press [ENTER]. 
  • autoreconf -i and press [ENTER]. 
  • ./configure and press [ENTER]. 
  • make && sudo make install and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd ..  and press [ENTER]. 
  • sudo ldconfig  and press [ENTER]. 
  • sudio gnuradio_companion  and press [ENTER]. It starts Gnuradio. Everthing OK? Then close it again.

Now you can compile most of the software listed on Osmocom page

For e.g.:

gr-air-modes, der ADS-B decoder/server

This will build ADS-B deocder.
  • git clone git://github.com/bistromath/gr-air-modes.git  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd gr-air-modes  and press [ENTER]. 
  • mkdir build  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd build  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cmake ../  and press [ENTER]. 
  • make && sudo make install  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd ..  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd ..  and press [ENTER]. 
  • Type gr-air-modes -d -P for start. Type gr-air-modes --help for help.

gr-air, der AIS decoder/server

This will build AIS decoder.
  • git clone git://github.com/chgans/gr-ais.git  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd gr-ais  and press [ENTER]. 
  • mkdir build  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd build  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cmake ../  and press [ENTER]. 
  • make && sudo make install  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd ..  and press [ENTER]. 
  • cd ..  and press [ENTER]. 
  • Start decoder witht ais_rx.py -d -e-130. Note: the -e value has to be researched with SDR# (dongle window / PPM value). Type ais_rx.py --help for help.


Now it is possible to compile most of the RTL-SDR software.

Good luck