Everyone has a SDR but no one uses it

It seems when I chat with techie people there will always be a few who have heard of Software Defined Radio and some of them even have a RTL-SDR. One may have a more advanced SDR like a HackRFBladeRF, LimeSDR or more recently a LimeSDR Mini. Unfortunately, their journey into SDR seems to stop at the time of purchase or shortly thereafter.

Who can blame them, the SDR learning curve is long and steep. It also doesn’t help that most these crowd sourced products are marketed like a consumer good. Putting a pretty case around a piece of test equipment doesn’t make it user friendly. If you don’t have some experience with electronics and RF signals it doesn’t really matter that it’s “Software Defined” because that last word “Radio” is brutal!

There also aren’t really any mainstream applications for accomplishing specific tasks other than viewing spectrum. Just about every cool “application” that exists requires running linux and some fairly extensive setup process. I think this is why blog posts and videos about simply getting a SDR to do something useful seem to draw attention.

You no longer need to know much of anything to get on the internet and use a computer, just like you don’t need to be a mechanic to drive to the store. If a better job can be done packaging ready-to-use applications for SDR we will see a lot more people actually USING them.

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