HackRF – Orange PI – GNURADIO Setup

HackRF One

Connection of the HackRF One SDR to an Orange Pi Pc2 or Orange PI One Plus running on ARMBIAN or a Radpberry PI.

HackRF Library

In console mode, update your system:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Install the library for hackrf:

sudo apt-get install hackrf

Connect the hackrf to an USB port and check it:

hackrf_info

If the installation is good, you will get a response “Found HackRF” etc … Sometimes with some USB cables that connect the HackRF, there is no response. Change the cable in this case.

Installation GNU Radio Companion

GNU Radio Companion is a graphical tool allowing you to build radio processing chains very easily without writing a line of code.

sudo apt-get install gnuradio

Installation Osmocom SDR and RTL-SDR Drivers

RTL-SDR and Orange PI One Plus

sudo apt-get update

Installation of the USB library:

sudo apt-get install cmake build-essential libusb-1.0-0-dev

We clone Osmocom in the user’s Downloads folder for example:

cd ~/Downloads

sudo git clone https://github.com/osmocom/rtl-sdr.git

Go to the folder rtl-sdr:  cd rtl-sdr

sudo mkdir build

cd build

sudo cmake ../ -DINSTALL_UDEV_RULES=ON -DDETACH_KERNEL_DRIVER=ON

At this point I sometimes got an error because the pkg-config package was not found. Make:

sudo apt-get install pkg-config

and relaunch the cmake from above.

sudo make
sudo make install
sudo ldconfig

Osmocom source module installation

sudo apt-get install gr-osmosdr

GNU Radio launch

You have to be in graphics mode to be able to use this superb signal processing design tool. Personally, I use my orange-pi or raspberry in remote mode. I connect to them by enabling VNC in setup and using the VNC extension in chrome on my PC. On a terminal in graphics mode type:

gnuradio-companion

A message “RANDR” missing … is not important.

Error Xterm executable is missing

If you have when launching a model in gnuradio companion a message of the type Xterm executable is missing and if you are on Armbian or Raspbian (raspberry) go to the configuration folder.

cd ~/.gnuradio

edit grc.conf

sudo nano grc.conf

and add at the end of the file:

[grc]
xterm_executable = /usr/bin/lxterminal

First of all, check that the terminal is installed on your machine. Otherwise installed it with:

sudo apt install lxterminal

Purchases

The HackRF being developed in Open Source can be bought in China at Aliexpress for a hundred Euros. To use it, the Orange Pi solution is very interesting. We forget the Orange Pi Zero which, following the treatment defined in GNU-RADIO, quickly risks running out of power. We are going to move towards 64-bit 4-core processors like the H5 or the H6. I have successfully tested Orange Pi PC2 H5 and Orange PI One Plus H6 for SSB reception and SSB transmission.

Orange PI PC2

The Orange PI PC2 has the following advantages:

  • several USB2 if you want to connect different SDRs
  • An audio output on headphone jack, useful for an HF receiver
Orane PI One Plus

The Orange PI One Plus has the following advantages:

  • The minimum required to control a Hack RF or a RTL-SDR from the network (USB, Ethernet 1Gb / s)
  • A very low price: less than 30 € with food and transport (Ebay or Aliexpress)

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