Software Defined Radio

From March 17, 2014 to March 18, 2014

The two day Software Defined Radio (SDR) course 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?

There are no minimum processing power or memory requirements but signal processing is an intensive application, so more of both is always useful. Native Linux operation (not in a virtual machine) is strongly recommended. High-Speed USB 2.0 is required.

Required Software

A Pentoo Linux bootable USB flash drive supporting all class activities will be provided. If you choose to bring your own software environment, be prepared to boot to the Pentoo drive just in case.

We’ll be working primarily with GNU Radio, an open-source signal processing framework. We will also use libhackrf, hackrf-tools, and gr-osmosdr. Additionally, you should install Baudline, a visual signal analysis tool.


A prototype HackRF software defined radio peripheral from Great Scott Gadgets will be provided to each student for use during the class. The HackRF will be available for purchase at the end of the class, for a donation to the Troopers Fundraising Project.

Wireless Devices

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