Information from the Air: Software Defined Radio

Thanks to the mass manufacturing of digital video broadcast decoders, it’s possible to obtain a RealTek chipset USB dongle with an antenna (somewhat like a sound card) for $20-$50 that allows your computer to receive, record, and examine significant portions of the radio frequency spectrum, e.g. 25MHz - 1.7GHz. More expensive transceiver devices have a wider range (1MHz - 6GHz), and they allow you to transmit as well.

Examples -

In this session you will explore the radio frequency (RF) spectrum with one of these dongles (bring your own or use one provided) and open source software We’ll look at the GNU Public Radio project, gqfx and some interesting uses folks have put these systems to, including pulling scientific data from satellites, hacking internet of things communications devices, and recording FM broadcasts. For a project, by dragging and dropping filters, graphical controls, participabts will build a fully functioning FM tuner in a matter of minutes using GNU Public Radio. Note that these devices are fully programmable in Python, making all kinds of interesting custom applications possible.

Check it out: