Open Web RX

If, like me you have an rtl dongle, there is another ‘thing’ you can do with them that I bet you never knew. Ok you did but I’ll bet all of you didn’t know. Its called OpenWebRX


You can also arm yourself with one of those old netbooks you’ve got loafing about in the corner and put it to use into the bargain.

To tell the truth I’d not heard about it until Daniel, 2E0DNX mentioned something in passing as I was driving him back from the club night last Monday. I can’t remember what started it but we got onto the subject of putting receivers on the web a la WebSDR and the well known Hack Green SDR. This time, as we are both cheapskates, it was around the use of the cheapo dongles.

So, after downloading a copy of Lubuntu (A lightweight ubuntu distro) I installed it onto an old netbook. I thought I followed the instructions on the website and but I hadn’t and after a false start with some rubbish spelling had a receiver running on the local host. I did get some pretty speedy support from the developer though who helped to narrow down my incompetence.

Getting it on line is a little more complicated and needs a bit of fettling. In order to get it listed on the site it needs a web presence. To get that you can pay for it and host it or you can be a cheapskate and use a service like N0-IP.  Guess which route I went? They provide a web address that you can use and some really handy instructions for linux installations, if, like me, its not a natural environment to work in but you can largely follow instructions.

After all instructions followed correctly (there are no spelling mistakes in your config file ? ) then the last thing to do is make sure your router lets the traffic through (port forwarding). This can be a pain if you’re on BT like me and can lead to no end of frustration that was eventually fixed with a new, non BT router. I’ve got my head round this and will now look to set up a more permanent installation, perhaps with a RPi2 if its got the right mojo.

All in all you’ve got to hand it to people who set out these environments as they are becoming a great way of distributing amateur radio to a wider audience. Thanks Andras, HA7ILM and well done!

Alex Hill, G7KSE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Cumbria, UK. Contact him at [email protected].

4 Responses to “Open Web RX”

  • Matt W1MST:

    In the next couple of weeks, we’re going to be announcing a worldwide giveaway of 30 (thirty!) RTL-SDR dongles on (shhh… don’t tell anyone!).

    What a great project to get started with! 🙂

  • Glenn W M6ODC:

    Hi Alex & all, yet another fantastic use for our cheapo RTL dongles… I first experimented with mine and was able with my zero technical knowledge to be able to read pages from vodaphone, BT etc then moving forward started tracking and plotting ADSB signals from aircraft. I’m now an official monitor for Flight24 and log all aircraft that pass my aerial.. Now I’m also able to use my dongle to make my Kenwood TS570 fully visualize all signals across the bands. I’m sure in time it will fully supercede my Signalink USB as I love the digital modes… Long live cheapo RTL dongles

  • Alex, g7kse:

    Every time you look away a new use pops up. All for a few quid. Probably the best thing to happen to amateur radio in years.

    Did you say 30 KX3’s? 😉

  • dg0opk:

    It works nice on Cubieboard2,BananaPi,Rpi2 with 1MHz bandwidth
    and with Odroid C1+ even with 2MHz!

    Info on my website…

    73 de dg0opk

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