Software Defined Radio

From March 11, 2013 to March 12, 2013

The two day software defined radio (SDR) workshop is an introduction to digital signal processing, software radio, and the powerful tools that enable the growing array of SDR projects within the hacker community. This course takes a unique “software radio for hackers” approach, building on the participants’ knowledge of computer programming and introducing them to the forefront of digital radio technology. Participants will learn how to transmit, receive, and analyze radio signals and will be prepared to use this knowledge in the research of wireless communication security.

Who should attend? Anyone who has ever taken an interest wireless systems or signal processing. We teach a mixture of digital signal processing and RF theory, using the GNU Radio tools for demonstration and experimentation either individually or in groups. A background in software development and an interest in security are helpful but not required.


Introduction to Software Defined Radio

Exercise: Finding a Signal

Complex vs. Real Signals

Exercise: Working with Complex Signals (part 1)

Exercise: Working with Complex Signals (part 2)

Aliasing and Sampling Theory

Exercise: Transmission and Simulation

Exercise: Digital Filters


Exercise: Replay


Exercise: Modulation Identification

Reverse Engineering

Exercise: Reverse Engineering

Decoding Digital Signals

Exercise: Decoding

The Discrete Fourier Transform

What should I bring?

Laptop There are no minimum processing power or memory requirements but signal processing is an intensive application, so more of both is always useful. A native Linux installation is strongly recommended. High-Speed USB 2.0 is required.

Required Software

We’ll be working with the GNU Radio toolkit which is an open-source signal processing framework. In order to make the best use of workshop time, you should bring a working copy already installed. Detailed installation instructions and assistance will be provided by email prior to the workshop.

You should also install Baudline, a visual signal analysis tool.

Software Radio Peripheral

An rtl-sdr dongle will be provided to each student. This will be a unit that you can take home.


Anything with a radio that you think might be fun to work with or show off. Examples that people have brought in the past:

Michael Ossmann

Michael Ossmann is a wireless security researcher who makes hardware for hackers. He founded Great Scott Gadgets in an effort to put exciting, new tools into the hands of innovative people.

Twitter: @michaelossmann