RTL-SDR Support Package Hardware Setup

To implement features in the Communications Toolbox™ Support Package for RTL-SDR Radio, you must establish communication between the host and the radio hardware.

If you are connecting two radios to the same host, see Configure Multiple RTL-SDR Radios after installing the support package but before installing the USB driver.

Install USB Driver (Windows)

USB Driver Installation Preparation

The support package installer guides you through installing the drivers required for using the RTL-SDR device as a software-defined radio (SDR) receiver. Before you begin, remove all nonessential USB devices from your computer so that you do not accidentally replace the driver for a different device.

These instructions are for installing the USB driver for one RTL-SDR device. To install more than one RTL-SDR device for use with this support package, see Configure Multiple RTL-SDR Radios.

Insert RTL-SDR Radio into USB Port

  1. Insert the RTL-SDR radio into an available USB port on your computer. If your operating system (OS) automatically installs a driver for the device as a DVB-T receiver, wait until the OS finishes the installation before continuing.

    Note

    Some USB 3 ports do not recognize the RTL-SDR radio correctly and can result in a connection error. Your hardware configuration might require you to plug the RTL-SDR device into a USB 2 port.

  2. Click Next. The installer opens the Zadig software in a separate window.

Install USB Driver with Zadig Software

If the Zadig software displays a User Control Account prompt, then the software requires administrative privileges to install the USB driver. Click Yes to continue.

Follow the directions in the Support Package Installer window to install Zadig device drivers.

Caution

If the wrong device is selected when you install the driver, the selected device becomes unusable. For example, if the selected device is the keyboard, the keyboard will not be usable after the driver update.

Test Radio Connection (Windows)

On this page you can Confirm communication with your RTL-SDR radio and get information about the connected radio.

If test connection fails and the page does not update to show radio information:

  • Try putting the RTL-SDR radio in a different USB port.

  • Make sure the radio works by trying it in a different computer.

  • Check the Common Problems and Fixes, and topics that resolve your problem.

If you still cannot discern the problem, contact Tech Support at https://www.mathworks.com/support/.

Install USB Driver (Linux)

The support package installer guides you through installing the drivers required for using the RTL-SDR device as a software-defined radio (SDR) receiver. The installer uses the files you downloaded during setup to install the RTL-SDR library.

RTL-SDR Install Driver

If you see this page, the installer uses the files you downloaded during setup to install the RTL-SDR library. The installation process requires permission to copy files to system directories. You might be prompted for your sudo password before the installation can continue.

If you are prompted, enter your sudo password in the MATLAB® Command Window, and then return to the installer. If you do not have a sudo password, click Cancel and contact your network administrator to install this software.

Insert RTL-SDR Radio into USB Port

  1. Insert the RTL-SDR radio into an available USB port on your computer.

  2. Click Next.

Test Radio Connection (Linux)

On this page, you can confirm communication with your RTL-SDR radio and get information about the connected radio.

If test connection fails and the page does not update to show radio information:

  • Try putting the RTL-SDR radio in a different USB port.

  • Make sure the radio works by trying it in a different computer.

  • If you do not see any radios listed after the installation is completed, the digital TV (DVB) driver may be superseding the RTL-SDR driver. If the device is in use by the DVB driver, the installer cannot access it. You might need to unload or blacklist the kernel module. See Kernel driver is active, or device is claimed by second instance of librtlsdr.

  • Check Common Problems and Fixes for topics that resolve your problem.

If you still cannot discern the problem, contact Tech Support at https://www.mathworks.com/support/.

Install USB Driver (Mac)

The support package installer guides you through installing the drivers required for using the RTL-SDR device as a software-defined radio (SDR) receiver. The installer uses the files you downloaded during setup.

Insert RTL-SDR Radio into USB Port

  1. Insert the RTL-SDR radio into an available USB port on your computer.

  2. Click Next.

Test Radio Connection (Mac)

On this screen you can confirm communication with your RTL-SDR radio and get information about the connected radio.

If test connection fails and the page does not update to show radio information:

  • Try putting the RTL-SDR radio in a different USB port.

  • Make sure the radio works by trying it in a different computer.

  • Check Common Problems and Fixes for topics that resolve your problem.

If you still cannot discern the problem, contact Tech Support at https://www.mathworks.com/support/.

Verify Hardware Setup

This step helps you to verify that MATLAB can communicate with the RTL-SDR radio using the support package. If you get a successful status, it means that MATLAB can communicate with the radio and the radio is ready to be used.

  1. At the MATLAB command prompt, call the sdrsetup function.

    Note

    Each time you use the Communications Toolbox Support Package for RTL-SDR Radio with MATLAB, you must call sdrsetup. This function performs internal operations that enable you to use this support package cleanly every time.

  2. To get information for all radios connected to your computer, call the sdrinfo function:

    hwinfo = sdrinfo

    To get information on a specific radio, enter the function with this format:

    hwinfo = sdrinfo(Address)

    Address is the radio ID, for example:

    hwinfo = sdrinfo('0');
    • If sdrinfo is successful, MATLAB returns a hardware information structure. For example:

      hwinfo = 
      
                      RadioName: 'Generic RTL2832U OEM'
                   RadioAddress: '0'
                    RadioIsOpen: 0
                      TunerName: 'R820T'
                   Manufacturer: 'Realtek'
                        Product: 'RTL2838UHIDIR'
                     GainValues: [29×1 double]
            RTLCrystalFrequency: 28800000
          TunerCrystalFrequency: 28800000
                   SamplingMode: 'Quadrature'
                   OffsetTuning: 'Disabled'
    • If sdrinfo returns the message There was no response at address Address or it returns an empty cell array, then check for the following:

      • No radio connected

      • Radio ID not specified properly

      • USB driver not installed properly

  3. If the connection is successful, you can start designing your own radio interface.

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