If you’ve tried to install GNU Radio from binaries without success, this video from NeedSec is for you. He demonstrates how to intall GNU Radio on Kali Linux from source, and confirms operation of the RTL-SDR dongle using GQRX radio receiver software.
WE GAVE IT A TRY: We’ve tried installing GNU Radio on various flavors of Linux, along with the associated libraries and dependencies needed for using the RTL-SDR dongle, with varying degrees of success. Usually the GNU Radio install goes OK, but the RTL-SDR dongle source does not appear among the list of available blocks in Gnuradio-Companion. The same goes for the OP25 decoder block for receiving APCO25 digital transmissions. The hangups usually relate to the lack of integration between 1the Linux distro, GNU Radio and the dependencies needed for the dongle and OP25 libraries.
We followed the steps outlined in this video on a fresh install of Kali and are pleased to report that IT WORKS! GQRX and GNU Radio both recognized several different RTL-SDR dongles, a Funcube dongle and a USRP1 SDR without a problem. Note that as stated in the video, the install process is very lengthy. The on-screen prompt warns “This will take a long time.” Note it says “will”, not might. Our install took over three hours, but this just proves that good things come to those who wait. (The Kali graphical install option which we used was also one of the most user friendly Linux installs we’ve experienced. For novices, it should be noted that you’ll need to know the actual drive designator for the HD on which Kali is being installed (i.e., “/dev/sda” or “/dev/sdb”, etc.) as you’ll be asked to type this in when the Grub bootloader is being installed. Failure to do so will give you a non-bootable install!)
THE BOTTOM LINE: If you want to get up and running with GNU Radio and the RTL-SDR dongle, this is the route to go. Painless, flawless. It just works. And since Kali is from the creators of the BackTrack pen testing distro, you also get a cool Linux distro with security tools preinstalled.