Raw data recorder for RTL-SDR receivers.


Save RAW data from a frequency (specified in Hz) to a file

$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] [path/to/file]

Pipe data to another program
$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] - | [aplay]

Read a specified number of samples
$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] -n [20] -

Specify the sample rate in Hz (ranges 225001-300000 and 900001-3200000)
$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] -s [2400000] -

Specify the device by its index
$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] -d [0] -

Specify the gain
$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] -g [20] -

Specify the output block size
$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] -b [9999999] -

Use synchronous output
$ rtl_sdr -f [100000000] -S -


rtl_adsb [-f freq] [OPTIONS] [output file]


Uses a re-purposed DVB-T receiver as a software defined radio to receive signals in I/Q data form. Written for and incorporated in the osmocom rtl-sdr project.

In-Phase and Quadrature Phase data can faithfully represent all of the information in a band of frequencies centered on a carrier signal frequency.

Much software is available for the RTL2832. Most of the user-level packages rely on the librtlsdr library which comes as part of the rtl-sdr codebase. This codebase contains both the library itself and also a number of command line tools such as rtl_test, rtl_sdr, rtl_tcp, and rtl_fm. These command line tools use the library to test for the existence of RTL2832 devices and to perform basic data transfer functions to and from the device.

Because most of the RTL2832 devices are connected using USB, the librtlsdr library depends on the libusb library to communicate with the device.


This program captures information from a band of frequencies and outputs the data in a form useful to other software radio programs.


-f frequency_to_tune_to [Hz]
-s samplerate (default: 2048000 Hz)
-d device_index (default: 0)
-g gain (default: 0 for auto)
-p ppm_error (default: 0)
-b output_block_size (default: 16 * 16384)
-n number of samples to read (default: 0, infinite)
-S force sync output (default: async)

(a '-' dumps samples to stdout)


Example: To tune to 392.0 MHz, and set the sample-rate to 1.8 MS/s, use:

./rtl_sdr /tmp/capture.bin -s 1.8e6 -f 392e6

to record samples to a file or to forward the data to a fifo.

If the device can't be opened, make sure you have the appropriate rights to access the device (install udev-rules from the repository, or run it as root).


Copyright (c) 2013 A. Maitland Bottoms <>

This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.


gnuradio(1) RTL-SDR wiki documentation: Other rtl-sdr programs: rtl_adsb(1), rtl_eeprom(1), rtl_fm(1), rtl_power(1), rtl_tcp(1), rtl_test(1), rtl_biast(1)


This manual page was written by Maitland Bottoms for the Debian project (but may be used by others).

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