SDR Touch Android app for RTL-SDR

Posted on Sunday, March 31st, 2013 in Android, RF, SDR by the machinegeek

Here’s an app which purports to turn your radio equipped Android device into a SDR. It called SDR Touch and is available for free download from the developer’s website. According to the developers, its designed to work with the familiar RTL-SDR dongles, and Android 3.1 and up. According to the developer Martin Marinov the app:

Turns your mobile phone or tablet into an affordable and portable software defined radio scanner. Allows you to listen to live on air FM radio stations, weather reports, police, fire department and emergency stations, taxi traffic, airplane communications, audio of analogue TV broadcasts, HAM radio amateurs, digital broadcasts and many more! Depending on the hardware used, its radio frequency coverage could span between 50 MHz and 2.2 GHz. It currently demodulates WFM, AM, NFM, USB, LSB, DSB, CWU and CLW signals. You can get a compatible USB receiver for under $20 online from eBay. Just plug in your rtl-sdr compatible USB DVB-T tuner into your Android device using a USB OTG Cable and turn on SDR Touch. For list of supported Realtek RTL2832U based dongles, please see the end of the description. Those features are supported via a driver that you will need to download from Google Play.”

REVIEW: we downloaded the free version of the app and installed on a cheap Craig CMP741E tablet running Android 4.0.3. We started up the app and plugged in our RTL2832U dongle via a USB female to mini-USB male adapter. The app started with the standard FM broadcast band view shown in the video. We could find no instructions on the website or with the app, but after pushing a few buttons it prompted us to download a driver from Google play. We OKd this, but no driver was found. Turns out our Craig table is not an “accepted Google device” so it cannot access Google apps for the driver needed. This temporarily prevented further evaluation of the app, until we learned that Martin has made the driver available for the “rest of us” with non-Google approved devices! You can download the .apk from his GitHub page.

Once the RTL2832U driver .apk was downloaded and installed it “saw” our USB device and SDR Touch began working, receiving nearby FM broadcast stations. We were not, however, able to receive an aero weather beacon on 118.375 MHz AM located two miles away. So your mileage may vary, which is true with any RTL-SDR dongle endeavor. Nevertheless this is an interesting app, and is in ongoing development. We suggest you try the free version first, and if it works on your device you may want to purchase Martin’s Pro version (which unlocks a number of expanded features for around 5.99 British Pounds.)

This entry was posted on Sunday, March 31st, 2013 at 6:12 pm and is filed under Android, RF, SDR. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

15 Responses to “SDR Touch Android app for RTL-SDR”

  1. FrankSansC says:

    We started up the app and plugged in our RTL2632U dongle

    It’s RTL2832, not RTL2632.

  2. Nick says:

    This is awesome! Does anyone know where I can find some information about open-source RF stuff? Like being able to listen to all sorts of radio signals on my PC? I think I saw a link of that but I totally forgot. I hope someone here can help me!

  3. Killy says:

    App is almost useless without pro key. So “free download” is a kind of a bad joke.

    SDR Touch was kicked out from Google Play. Rtl_tcp implementation was separated from app to fulfill rtl-sdr license, but that is not helped so far.
    The sad thing is that now we have open source driver for rtl dongles, and no open source apps to use it. I wonder if glSDR will use it (or its own rtl_tcp port) someday.

  4. Cyk says:

    I couldn’t resist to buy it, and it is really cool.
    Sure, there are lots of things missing, but I always wanted to have this on a tablet.
    Makes a nice portable scanner for RF development.
    As soon as there’s a waterfall diagram, this will be really usable.

    Now I need a DVB-T and DAB App for this stick.

    • Tom says:

      Which tablet are you using? I coundn’t get the SDR doggle to be recognized with SDR Touch on my Verizon Ellipse7 Android Tablet.

  5. Dave says:

    That project’s sole objective is to monetize all the work that has been done by RTL-SDR and SDRSharp teams. That’s why it’s no longer available on Google Play!

    • Andyj says:

      The fact its back in Googles play store proves the accusation was baseless. Apparently anyone who wrote similar programs have been maliciously accused. I’d of monetized this by suing the SDR authors for losses if they cannot prove any code has been stolen.

  6. Walter-K5WH says:

    Do you have to power the dongle separately with a USB hub or something ?

    I get nothing when just connected to my devices directly..

  7. Mikko says:

    ” We were not, however, able to receive an aero weather beacon on 118.375 MHz AM located two miles away. So your mileage may vary, which is true with any RTL-SDR dongle endeavor. ”

    #1 use or build proper antenna as with in all rtlsdr projects. dvb-t antenna which comes with the stick is quite useless unless a) you plan to watch tv b) want to test some bc-stations.

  8. Joe - W2DSN says:

    It is great to see an initiative like this that exploits the computing power of handheld devices.

    I did something similar to this 2 years ago on a second gen Droid running Android 2.3; basically a port of GNU Radio plus my own custom sdr hardware supporting both transmit and receive. I may revisit my project this winter now that a higher perf wifi module is available.

    SDR on Android


  9. Brian says:

    Hello All MERRY XMAS ..
    I use this app SDR Touch on my ACER TAB 10.1 ..It works fine 24/7 USE Upconverter as well
    Had no truble with it ..

  10. natalie says:

    hello i have a project to make an application that supports sdr just like this one , where can i find information , (open-source) kind of things

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