Making an SDR Server with the Pi Zero

Making an SDR Server with the Pi Zero

I wanted to find a way of having an SDR server without needing a computer on all the time. So I used a PI Zero W and a cheap SDR to have an always-on SDR server that I could use anytime I wanted to.


  • Raspberry Pi Zero
  • USB hub with ethernet
  • RTL-SDR (any should do)

Installing the drivers and software

The first thing we need to do is install the RTL drivers. Go to the terminal on your raspberry pi and type in the following command.

sudo apt-get install git cmake build-essential

Now we can install the RTL-SDR server on the Pi with these commands.

git clone git://

cd rtl-sdr/

mkdir build

cd build

cmake ../


sudo make install

sudo ldconfig

Now you want to plug in the SDR and the USB hub then run rtl_test -t in the terminal to make sure it works.

Running the server and connecting with SDR Sharp

Now that the SDR is running and using the right drivers you can run rtl_tcp -a 192.168.X.XXX and change the IP to the IP of your pi. It should start up with no error. Now you can open SDR Sharp and click on source. In the drop-down menu click RTL-SDR(TCP) and then click on the gear icon and enter the IP of your PI Zero. After that you should be able to click the play button and see incoming radio waves.