Revised: February 5, 2020

The very first step for a new user is to review the GNU Radio web portal for authoritative information: GNU Radio Wiki. The GNU Radio developers have published a rich source of detailed information to help the new user to get started using GNU Radio.  From that portal page one can link to installation instructions, tutorials, latest news, and in-depth information about the software development process.  Refer to it frequently, since the content changes with the ongoing software development.

Getting Started: GNU Radio Live SDR with Ubuntu OS

To get started with GNU Radio, a particularly appealing option is to use the GNU Radio Live SDR Environment: GNU Radio Live Environment. The Live Environment allows the user to implement GNU Radio without installing GNU Radio on the computer hard drive.  The latest versions of the Ubuntu operating system and GNU Radio software are downloaded from the Internet to a storage medium (e.g. DVD or USB memory stick) as an executable file.  Upon executing from the medium, the Live Environment opens in a complete Ubuntu operating system with GNU Radio application pre-installed.  GNU Radio can be immediately executed to run from the computer memory at essentially full capability.

Installing and Maintaining GNU Radio

To install GNU Radio directly to a computer hard drive, installation from the official Source, Installation of GNU Radio is the best single source of information.  This link provides all you need to know to install GNU Radio on Windows and Ubuntu operating systems.

Support for GNU Radio is available on-line via the ‘discuss-gnuradio’ message reflector:  GNU Radio message reflector.  Once you join the message reflector you can post questions on the reflector and the GNU Radio developers and users will respond via email.  The reflector is very active and a rich source of information.

Operating System Recommendations

The most efficient and user-friendly approach to get full benefit of what GNU Radio has to offer is to implement GNU Radio in the Linux Ubuntu operating system.  The GNU Radio developers develop and maintain GNU Radio in Ubuntu.  Potential cross platform bugs and incompatibilities are avoided by adopting the same Ubuntu operating system that the developers use.  GNU Radio is reported to operate on Windows and Mac OSX.  There are challenges obtaining full implementation of GNU Radio with these operating systems .

Computer users unfamiliar with Linux operating systems shouldn’t be intimidated by using Linux Ubuntu operating system.  Ubuntu has the look and feel and straight forward ease of use as MS Windows.  The Ubuntu operating system is open source, downloadable via the Internet and can easily be installed in a separate hard drive partition if necessary. Installing Ubuntu via the Internet is straight forward and quick.  The official Ubuntu website provides the latest downloadable Ubuntu versions and instructions for using Ubuntu:

GNU Radio is a dynamic application with version updates on an irregular but frequent basis.  It is important to keep abreast of the changes via the web portal and learn to update the application re-using the build-gnuradio script as necessary.  Follow the ‘Latest news’ for updates and other information:
GNU Radio home page.

Computer Hardware Recommendations

A capable computer is necessary to use GNU Radio to its full real-time DSP potential.  The developers recommend a dual-core CPU, preferably an i5 or i7 level.  The CPU requirement for simple simulation DSPs are less demanding.  The higher levels of CPU capacity are necessary for satisfying real time SDR oriented DSPs.Single core and early Core duo CPUs lack the speed and CPU capacity for many ham DSPs.  See GNU Radio work station  for additional information on GNU Radio operation, maintenance, and computer capability.

Link to Terms and Abbreviations: Terms and Abbreviations

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