We’ve all used walkie-talkies at one point or another, or seen a cop do it on some movie. Short-hand radio has been around forever, but creating your own radio to listen in can cost hundreds of dollars and require special radio licenses, depending on what you buy. But we’ve got a hookup. for just $30 and a little elbow grease, you can actually listen in to these radio frequencies using your Android device. You just need an RTL-SDR adapter and compatible antenna. The equipment can be used to not just listen into local radio, but can also receive weather alerts, track aircraft in the sky, and so much more — all from your Android phone or tablet.
Getting Started with RTL-SDR
This guide provides an overview of how SDR works, what you can do with it, and how to use RTL-SDR on your Android device. We’re not radio experts, so this guide glosses over a lot of the technology, but you can use this guide to get started with using RTL-SDR (which stands for a Realtek-based Software Defined Radio) on your Android device, even if you have no prior experience with radio equipment. You’ll also need only about $30 worth of equipment and software to get started.
Click on a link to jump to a section, or click to the next page:
- What is SDR and is it legal?
- What equipment and software do I need?
- How to use RTL-SDR on Android
- What else can I do with RTL-SDR?