Recently many different radio hacks (mousejack, drone hijacking) have hit the internet. This has spurred my interest in analogoue and digital radio. After some bindge shopping on the internet and a few days wait I have had some very nice toys show up. Once the new electronics smell and novelty of a new toy had worn off the frustration kicked in.
RTL-SDR is a dirt cheap way to start playing with radio using the RTL2832U chipset. I like to do things right when I start a project so I decided to purchase a nice SDR hardware transciever that would provide all the functionality needed without breaking the bank. Enter the HackRF One from Great Scott Gadgets https://greatscottgadgets.com/hackrf/.
Now wanting to get up and running with this device ASAP I followed the recommendation from Michael Ossmann (https://greatscottgadgets.com/sdr/1/) and downloaded Pentoo Linux. This distro with the disposable laptop that I had dedicated to radio caused ALL my frustration. First off new inexpensive laptops now all come with Windows 10 … I like to keep that around for convenience. So I shrunk the partition and started the install of Pentoo. Now this HP laptop has the WORST BIOS I have ever come across. The ability to enable legacy booting is there but it lacks the option to set priority between UEFI and Legacy. Solution: Troubleshooting reboot to UEFI device from Windows EVERY TIME, then crash the boot process with USB drive, then the BIOS will let you select an OS from the MBR … so bloody painful!
Finally I am logged into Pentoo … no network … and video keeps crapping out. I felt like I was working on a linux system back in 1999 hunting for drivers. Let’s make this part of the story short shall we? After about 5 hours of messing with this crap Gentoo distro and not being able to get openGL running right I almost chucked the laptop across the room. Why spend all this time trying to make a piece of junk like Gentoo working when the time could be spent building a proper box with support for HackRF?
ENTER Fedora 23, yes I would much rather run RedHat however I am too cheap to pay for a subscription. I could not believe how streamlined it is to get HackRF going in Fedora so I decided to write this to save others time and pain with a crappy ass Gentoo distro. Oh and did I mention that Fedora 23 has UEFI support? Makes everything so much nicer.
This is not the officially recommended way to install gnuradio. I encountered issues with PyBOMBS and version numbers. This supposedly was fixed (https://github.com/gnuradio/pybombs/pull/246) although it didn’t work for me. I decided to go with dnf and see what I could do with the repositories and was pleasantly surprised.
My recommendations for HackRF One:
* DON’T use Pentoo
* Screen shots and build done on a VM, don’t do this. Load onto your hardware so that you can take advantage of the high USB speeds of the HackRF One
* Install gqrx with Fedora. Not needed but very useful.
1. Perform a normal installation of Fedora 23 Workstation
2. Open the CLI and run the following:
The Hobbyist’s Guide to the RTL-SDR: Really Cheap Software Defined Radio
A Software-Defined Radio for the Masses, Part 1
ECE 4670 Spring 2014 Lab 6 Software Defined Radio and the RTL-SDR USB Dongle