How to use SDR radio – Things you can do with a software-designed radio

use SDR radio

SDR is becoming popular with each passing day. In simple words, it is a radio in which the physical layer functions are software-defined. This could refer to all the functions or just a few of them. 

How to use SDR radio

Most people associate it with receiving broadcast radio due to its name. While that’s a common function, that’s not all an SDR can do. Are you wondering what those other uses are? The radio communication system has multiple applications that make it useful in various ways. Keep reading to find out!

Things you can do with a software-designed radio

1. Radio astronomy

If you thought the name’s cool, you should dig deeper and find out more. Because the actual application is way cooler! You can use RTL-SDR hardware to build a radio telescope. It is one of the best ways to cut costs and get the job done. In fact, this has been done multiple times to collect real-time data.

2. GSM network

All you need is open source SDR, and you will be able to build your own GSM network. You can choose from two main options, which are OpenBTS and OsmoBTS, based on your preferences and requirements.

3. Tracking aircrafts

Through Mode S transmissions, you can use SDR to track aircraft. The SDR will help you receive the signals from Mode S and decode or read them. 

4. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS)

There’s a GNSS-SDR software program that focuses on signal processing. You can also control multiple processes inside the receiver. Through this, you can learn a lot about navigation systems, including the basics of developing them.

5. Amateur radio

Radio hams are embracing SDR. This is why we have numerous options to explore in this field. You can choose affordable and simple hardware, or you can choose highly flexible options! The RTL-SDR also helps with dynamic range, frequency coverage, receive-only, etc. applications.

6. Tracking shipments

AIS or Automatic Identification Systems are used by ships to find vessels. To decode the data sent by AIS, there are various options people can use. One of them is RTL-SDR. When used in conjugation with GNU radio-based receiver, the results can be marvelous.

7. DRM transmitter

DRM stands for Digital Radio Mondiale. It is a cluster of technologies that are used along with AM broadcasting. Using SDR, you can set up your own DRM transmitter that’s fully-integrated and ready-to-use.

8. Go wireless

Well, we live in a wireless world. So, we should definitely talk about it, right? SDR has a wide range of wireless applications that are either already implemented or are being tested. All you need along with the SDR is a GNU radio companion, and you are good to go. Is the future of SDR wireless then? Oh yes!

 While this is, in no way, a complete list, we are sure you get the idea of the power of SDR. It is super-powerful, affordable, and a delight to work with! 

If you have any doubts about software-defined radios or if you would like to give us suggestions, please feel free to comment.

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