Beginner - Software

RTL-SDR Software Installation Guide


Step-by-step instuctions for setting up the RTL stick with SDRSharp Software, Virtual Audio Cable and System Audio Settings.

By the end of this guide you will be able to use your RTL stick with SDRSharp.
Installation takes about 15 minutes, maybe half an hour by following the steps in this guide.

Who is this guide written for?


- RTL stick users wishing to use the stick as soon as possible.
- Anyone who wants a single download with all the necessary files for smooth operation included.
- Anyone who found all the other guides a bit too complicated and/or a beginner with computers.
- Non-native English speakers, so Google translate can work better, e.g presume = think.

DO NOT CONNECT OR PUT THE RTL STICK NOW!
WAIT UNTIL THE TEXT HERE TELLS YOU!

Every step of the installation is covered here step-by step - instead of gathering the necessary software from different sources everything is in one file.
Read the text first, then see the pictures.
Double click means two quick push/press down of the left mouse button.
Right click means one click (pushing down) with the right mouse button.

Installation files for download are here

It is a collection of SDRSharp, Virtual Audio Cable, SDR Plugin for Frequency Entry.

Download files from the following:


When asked, press download, then Download anyway. Save the file to a folder, this will be the folder where all the necessary files will be stored.
You're best saving it to the Desktop.

Go to the folder you saved the installation pack.
All the necessary files are inside.
Double click on the downloaded sdr_for_mariners_software_install_pack.exe.
You will get the following screen:

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS
Press Extract with the mouse.
After Extraction you will get the following folders:



01 - Microsoft NET Install.

Open the folder - double click on the name or the small yellow folder icon.
When you go inside the folder, you fill find a file called dotnetfx.
Double click on dotnetfx.
When asked "Would you like to install.." press Yes.
Now you have to accept the license conditions. Press "I agree", so the Install button will turn black, then  press "Install"

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS
It will install components, takes 1-5 minutes.
Wait, don't press anything. (These files are necessary for the other software to work, like a foundation of a house).
When the installer finished it will give you this message, press OK.

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS

Now you have installed Microsoft .NET Framework 1.1.

PLUG IN YOUR RTL STICK NOW!

It is VERY important to use the same USB port for the RTL stick all the time, every time. 

REPEAT: DO NOT MOVE THE STICK TO AN ANOTHER PORT! USE THE SAME USB PLACE!



Your computer will make sounds and maybe give you messages, do not pay attention to them.


02 - SDRSharp Installed
Go to the folder you have saved the files, Windows Explorer looks like a small yellow book, and is at the bottom of your screen, normally next to the Start button in the bottom left corner.
Open 02 - SDRSharp Installed folder by double clicking on it.
Now you are inside the folder, and you will see this:

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, ZADIG
Right-click on the file called "zadig", then select the second from the top, "Run as administrator". There is a small shield next to it.

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, ZADIG



Maybe you will see a message asking for permission, press yes.
Now you will have "zadig" open.
"Options" is on the top, second from the left, click once on it, this will give you a list.
Move your mouse to the left side of the text "List all devices", and click once.
The white arrow in the picture below shows you where you should click.
RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, ZADIG
Now check that your selection was OK, go to Options again, click on it once. You should see a mark next to "List all devices".

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, ZADIG

Now you will see the following screen.

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, ZADIG
Click on the small arrow to select Bulk-in, Interface 0.
Press Install Driver.
Maybe you will get a red message, Press "Install Anyway".
Installation takes a few seconds.
You will get the installation successful message. Click Close to make the message disappear.
RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, ZADIG
Close the Zadig software by clicking on the red X in the top right corner.

Now you have installed the necessary driver for SDRSharp, so your computer will understand the RTL stick.

03 SDRSharp Plugins - Easy frequency entry and more

This plugin is good for entering the frequency directly, and many more.
Run the PluginsSetup file by double-clicking on it.

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, ZADIG

Press "Next" on the following screen. If you cannot see the "Next" icon, press Enter on your keyboard.

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, Zadig, Plugin
At the next screen select the middle plugin, Frequency Entry, by clicking in the small square next to it. You will see a small check mark appear when you press the square.

RTL-SDR, WinRAR, software defined radio, DIY, Guide, SDRSharp installation, AIS, Zadig, Plugin


You can also select the other plugins if you want - I recommend to do it.
Press next when you selected choosing what you want to install.
The following screen:

AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide
Here you will have to select the folder where you have SDRSharp installed and where you want the documentation.
If you installed the folders to the Desktop, you can find it under Computer - Local Disk (C) - Users - (Your Name) - Desktop.
Press Next when you finished, this will lead to a summary screen. Press Next, then Next, then Ok.
The computer might show you a message that the program not installed corretly. It did, ignore the message, click on "Program installed correctly".

Now you have Direct Frequency Entry Plugin installed.

04 - Virtual Audio Cable Installation


It is required to put the signal from the radio software (SDRSharp) to other software (for example, AISMonitor).

Go to the folder 04 - Virtual Audio Cable and find the setup file VBCABLE_Setup_x64, it is the sixth from the bottom. Double click on that - if you have a 64-bit system, it will work.
If your computer says it is not the right version, click on the other installation setup without the x64, called VBCABLE_Setup.

AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide


After starting the setup you will have the following screen, press Install Driver:

AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide
Your computer might ask you if you want to install, press "Install".
This installs an artificial cable so your computer thinks the microphone and speakers are connected with a physical cable.

Installation takes only a short time.
Now you have finished installing  Audio Virtual Cable.

Congratulations, only a small bit left.

Setting sampling rate


At the bottom right side of your screen you see a small speaker icon, next to the clock.
Right-click this speaker icon, a list will appear above your mouse, and left-click "Playback devices".

AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide

(An alternative way, if you do not have the speaker icon, is to go to Start Menu, then Control Panel, then Sound. If you can not see Sound under Control Panel search for "sound" at the top right corner of the window)

Now you will see your playback and recording devices. Do not touch the others.
Right click on Cable Input, and at the bottom of the list left-click on "Properties".

AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide
You will see the Properties for Cable Input. Go to the Advanced section by clicking on Advanced.

AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide

In the Advanced tab click on the small arrow pointing down to show the list, and select 16bit, 48000 Hz. Press Apply, Then OK.
AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide

Do the same for the Recording devices, you will find this to the right of Playback devices.
Set the Cable Output to 16bit, 48000Hz (DVD Quality) as well.

Now you have set up your computer to work with AIS or other software which uses SDRSharp as a source.

Running SDRSharp

Do NOT skip this step, SDRSharp goes crazy if you not running it in administrator mode.
Go to 02 - SDRSharp Installed, find sdrsharp.exe (its icon looks like a small mushroom).
Right-click on sdrsharp.exe, then left-click on Create Shortcut, this is the fourth (4th) from the bottom.
This will create a shortcut for running the main software.
Right-click on SDRSharp - Shortcut, the last on the list is Properties, left-click on this.
This will bring up the properties of the shortcut.
Click on Advanced.
Mark the box with left-click, one press next to "Run as administrator".
Press Ok everywhere.

AIS, antenna, RTL-SDR, Software Defined Radio, 820T, testing, review, DIY guide

This sets up SDRSharp to run each time in administrator mode.





Acknowledgements and references:





2 comments:

  1. I am installing on an XP machine instead of Win7... when I install NET, I do not get back any acknowledge. Ideas?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I followed this guide, and when I try to run SDSharpe.exe, if says it can't find the device. The driver install step works fine. I'm using Win7x64 and I do get one of those "didn't install properly?" warnings when I install the plugin. When I plug the dongle in, I get a "your device is ready to use" message. Any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete