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Software Defined Radio

The CCI has a small number of Adafruit RTL-SDR software defined radios. These can be used to tune into AM and FM radio bands (like a normal radio), but also to decode other kinds of data sent over radio.

If you're a mac user, Adafruit has a useful guide to using CubicSDR (they also have one for windows users on SharpSDR which we haven't tested but also works). We recommend having a go getting the SDR set up with this first!

The important thing to note about the colourful SDR interface is that it's a time-domain plot of the frequencies received by the radio, around the band that you're interested in. What this means is, as you drag the black 'tuning' slider around (or zoom in and out) the plot will change in position: you don't zoom or slide on the plot itself.

Decoding signals

Probably the best bet for decoding (rather than just simply listening to) signals using SDR is gnuradio. This can be installed on mac using Homebrew (the macports install has some weird errors) but at present we've also not been able to get it to work with the CCI's RTL SDRs. Investigation continues...