Install Instructions for Intermediate SDR – Digital Communications

Hello Black Hat SDR Students!

Thanks so much for signing up for our SDR class. There are a few things you’ll need to do to get ready for the class, and this email will guide you through that process. If you get stuck at any point, or if you have questions about the setup process, please let me know at or via the Discord channel below.

Computer Requirements:
CPU: 4th generation Intel Core i5/i7 or better (or AMD equivalent)
RAM: 8GB or better
Free Drive Space: 30GB
Mouse: Must have clickable middle button
OS: Ubuntu 18.04LTS/20.04LTS or a VMWare installation on Windows/Linux

You have two options for obtaining the software we’ll be using in the class: you can install natively on an Ubuntu computer, or you can run Ubuntu in our virtual machine. The VM setup is quicker, but the native installation is preferable for your future SDR work.

Installation Instructions: Virtual Machine

NOTE: If you’ve enrolled in our introductory class as well as this one, please know that you only need to download a single VM. The VM referenced on this page contains the project files for both classes.

You can download and install VMWare Workstation Player for Windows/Linux at the following link:

After installing VMWare Workstation Player, you will need to download the VM from the following link (please unzip after installation):

You then can start up VMWare Workstation Player and open the VM. For more details, see the following:

After starting up the VM, you can log in with the following credentials:
user: flabs
pwd: snowball

To test that everything is working well, you can then execute the following steps:

  1. open a new terminal by right-clicking on the desktop and selecting “Open in Terminal”
  2. at the prompt, type “gnuradio-companion”
  3. the software will then come up with a bunch of blocks and connections – don’t worry about what any of that means, we’ll just run it by clicking Run->Execute from the menu.
  4. if all has gone well, you should hear a very short audio clip including the word expected (don’t worry if it sounds like it’s stuttering, the clip is just very short)

Congratulations! Your VM setup is working!

Installation Instructions: Native Installation

For option 2, I recommend following the procedure detailed here:

Note: You should also run the following script to install a few class-specific utilities:

sudo ./install_scripts/

You can then download the project files at the following link:

After download completes, you can unzip the archive with:

tar -xvf sdr_projects_digital.tar.gz

Discord Link

Finally, we’ll be using Discord to handle chat during class, so please join at the following link:

You made it through! Thanks again for enrolling the class, and please let me know if you have any questions.

Paul Clark