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rtlsdr emulator: Running rtlsdr software with an SDRplay device
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rtlsdr emulator: Running rtlsdr-based software with an SDRplay device

There is no doubt that the (various) SDRplay RSP devices are technically superior to the common RTLSDR "dab" sticks. That being said, there is also no doubt that there is much more software written - and made available - for the RTLSDR sticks than for the SDRplay devices.

After adding SDRplay support to some rtlsdr-based software packages, i.e. dump1090 and acarsdec, it was felt that rewriting each piece of rtlsdr based software for SDRplay support was hardly an ideal approach.

Therefore an other approach was taken: create a library that shows itself as an RTLSDR library, and internally translates calls to appropriate calls to the SDRplay libary, bridging the gap between the API of the SDRplay devices.

Use is simple

The usage is simple: just replace the rtlsdr.dll (in case of windows), or the (and,x) (for linux and run "sudo ldconfig" ) with the newly generated one and the SDRplay will behave (to a large extend) as an RTLDSDR device.

There are quite some differences between the two API's, so there is not a 100% match. However, since in most cases only a subset of the rtlsdr API is used, it turns out that programs like acarsdec, dump1090, rtl_433, aiswatcher, dump978 run with the emulator.


The major "issue" - still being worked on - is the translation of the gain setting of the DAB sticks. It turns out - playing around with e.g. acarsdec that the result is pretty depending on the selection of the right lnaState and Gain Reduction for the SDRplay

The current "approacH' is - for the RSPII - for lower frequencies (< 420M) table driven, it works reasonably wel with the acarsdec software.

Creating the library under Linux

For simplicity reasons, the include files for both libraries are included. Assuming the library for the SDRplay RSP device is installed, execute

gcc -O2 -fPIC -shared  -I . -o librtlsdr.o rtlsdr-bridge.c -lmirsdrapi-rsp

and replace the* files in - most likely - /usr/local/lib by this new

If you want to see some of the parameters used for the SDRplay, add


to the command line.

Creating a DLL

For creating a DLL the mingw32 environment is used.

Under Windows, assuming you have msys2 installed (with gcc compiler),

gcc -O2 -fPIC -shared -I . -o rtlsdr.dll rtlsdr-bridge.c mir_sdr_api.dll.a

Under Linux, assuming mingw32 is installed

i686-w64-mingw32-gcc -O2 -fPIC -shared -I . -o rtlsdr.dll rtlsdr-bridge.c mir_sdr_api.dll.a

The command will generate a dll, "rtlsdr.dll" that can be used instead of the original one. A suggestion is to copy the original rtlsdr.dll to rtlsdr,dll-rtldevice

Note that for using the mingw32 compilers, one does need the ".dll.a" file, which for reasons of convenience is part of the distribution


This software:

  • Copyright (C) 2018 Jan van Katwijk, Lazy Chair Computing


  • Copyright (C) SDRplay inc.


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