SDR Without Windows?

15 Feb 2022

Meditating Gnu

As a person who is a bit of a fanatic about software defined radio (SDR), and a professional software engineer and open source software afficionado, one of the first things I check out in a new SDR is what systems the software runs on. Several notable SDRs at least superficially only seem to support Windows. I own an FDM-S2 and a HF+ Discovery and as a result I do not get to use them much as I only boot up my Windows computer a few times a year, usually under duress.

I occasionally wonder what the state of support for this SDR hardware is like on other platforms like Linux, MacOS, or FreeBSD. This is a brief summary of what kinds of non-Windows software supports these SDRs.

Microtelcom Perseus

Elad FDM-S2

AirSpy HF+ Discovery

SDR GQRX GNU Radio Soapy SDR Linrad SDR Angel Cubic SDR OpenWebRx
Perseus Y Y N Y Y N Y
Elad FDM-S2 Y Y N N N N N
AirSpy HF+ Discovery Y Y Y Y Y N Y
Software Version Last Release Contributors Linux MacOS BSD Notes
GQRX 2.15.8 2022/01/25 80 Y Y ? GNU Radio and Qt-based
GNU Radio 2022/02/01 286 Y Y Y  
Soapy SDR 0.8.1 2021/07/25 19 Y Y Y GNU Radio-based
Linrad 05.01 2021/05/03 2 Y N Y  
SDR Angel 6.19.0 2022/02/07 38 Y N N Qt-based
Cubic SDR 0.2.7 2022/02/05 21 Y Y N Soapy SDR-based
OpenWebRx 1.1.0 2021/08/03 1 Y N N Some HW is Soapy SDR-based
SDR++ 1.0.4 2021/10/17 33 Y Y Y Some HW is Soapy SDR-based

Based on a casual inspection of much of this software, it appears that one of the least “heavy” solutions might be OpenWebRx, as it offloads much of the graphics and audio processing to the end-user’s web browser. However, it does not support the Elad or the Perseus. I am pleased to see that it is now generally available, after being locked up and operating only at the original development site.

Notwithstanding that, the Soapy SDR software seems to be the “Rosetta Stone” of much of this software, mediating interfaces and protocols between dozens of types of SDR hardware and GNU Radio the does the heavy lifting.