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RTLSDR Scanner

Copyright 2012 - 2015 Al Brown

al [at] eartoearoak.com

A cross platform Python frequency scanning GUI for the OsmoSDR rtl-sdr library.

More details can be found here.

A basic user manual is also available.

Tested on:

  • Windows 7 (x86 and x64)
  • Windows 8.1 (x64)
  • Windows XP (x86)
  • Ubuntu 12.04 (x86)
  • Ubuntu 12.10 (x64)
  • Ubuntu 13.04 (x64)
  • OS X Snow Leopard
  • OS X Mountain Lion


Installation instructions are found here.

Windows executables for x86 and amd64 platforms are available on GitHub.

A Windows installer can be found on SourceForge.


To test for missing libraries run rtlsdr_scan_diag.py

Windows 64 bit modules can be found here


rtlsdr_scan [file]

file - optional saved scan file to load

Main Window

  • Start - Scan start frequency
  • Stop - Scan stop frequency
  • Mode - Single or continuous scanning
  • Dwell - Sampling time spent on each step
  • FFT Size - FFT size, greater values result in higher analysis precision (with higher sizes dwell should be increased)
  • Live update - Update the display on each step (caution only use with small scans and low dwell times)
  • Grid - Show a grid on the scan

File Menu

  • Open... - Open a saved scan
  • Save As... - Save a scan
  • Export... - Export a scan to a CSV file
  • Properties.. - Scan information

Edit Menu

  • Preferences - Set dongle gain, calibration, Local Oscillator and the sample bands to use

Scan Menu

  • Start - Start a scan
  • Stop - Stop a scan

Tools Menu

  • Compare - Compare two previously saved scans
  • Auto Calibration - Perform a crude calibration of the dongle to a known signal (this should be a continuous, steady signal)


Add the environment variable 'rtlsdr_update_timestamp' to update the version time stamp.


This program is free software: you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, either version 3 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.

This program is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.

You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this program. If not, see http://www.gnu.org/licenses/.

Source: readme.md, updated 2015-08-13