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Instant GNU Radio

A customizable, programmatically generated VM and live environment for GNU Radio. Download the VM and get started!



  • Requires VirtualBox 7.X to build.

Main Features

  • OVA VM appliance can be imported in all main virtualization solutions or dded on a USB drive.
  • Based on Ubuntu 22.04.1 w/ GNOME 3.
  • Two step build process: first create a base image, then extend it with SDR stuff.
  • Easy to brand for your own courses/workshops. Just replace the wallpaper in the assets folder, for example.
  • Software: GNU Radio, GQRX, ...
  • Fosphor support!
  • Hardware: HackRF, RTL-SDR, BladeRF, Pluto, UHD; properly setup with udev rules and downloaded images.
  • Productivity: Git, Meld, VIM, ...
  • Favorite applications (in the sidebar) are set to GNU Radio Companion, GQRX, GNU Radio Wiki, ...
  • Sane VM defaults (USB, 3D acceleration, audio, shared clipboard, etc.).
  • Ready for offline use.
  • CPU governors are set to performance.
  • No annoying crash reports dialogs.
  • No screen blanking.
  • No sudo password.


user: gnuradio
password: gnuradio

SSH Login

ssh -p2222 gnuradio@localhost

Password is gnuradio.

You might want to add something like this to your SSH config (~/.ssh/config):

Host vm
	Hostname localhost
	User gnuradio
	Port 2222
	UserKnownHostsFile /dev/null
	StrictHostKeyChecking no

With this config, you can login with ssh vm and your password.


VirtualBox and VMWare use different network interfaces, which results in different names for the Ethernet controller. If the network is not automatically configured use ip link show to figure out the device name of the interface and adapt the ethernets section of /etc/netplan/01-netcfg.yaml accordingly.


If you want to rebuild and customize the environment, read on...


Instant GNU Radio requires packer and VirtualBox including the Extension Pack.

On Debian-like systems, the following packets will do the trick:

sudo apt install packer
sudo apt install virtualbox virtualbox-ext-pack

On Ubuntu, your user should be in the vboxusers group.

sudo usermod -a -G vboxusers <your username>

You have to logout and login again for the changes to take effect.

Create Image

Note: You have to be online to build the image.

Then, just run:


to check if all dependencies are satisfied. Once configure has successfully run, type


to build the virtual machine. The output will be in the vms/ directory.

Note that there is a base file and a gnuradio file. If you make changes to your gnuradio.json you can save time by only rebuilding the latter by running make gnuradio.

Customizing the Virtual Machines

VM configurations are defined in the packer configuration files base.json and gnuradio.json.

More information on how to customize the virtual machines can be found on the packer website.

Live Image

TBD. See the and script.

More Screenshots

Screenshot Screenshot Screenshot


Customizable GNU Radio Environment for Live Images and VMs







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