Getting started with RTL2832 EZcap USB SDR receiver in Ubuntu

Note: If you have MATLAB, you can also check out the RTL-SDR support in Matlab:


You do NOT need the install CD that comes with your EZcap RTL2382 USB stick.

You do need to install libusb-1.0-0-dev, git and cmake as in Step 0.

Step 0.1: Open a Terminal window, and type:
sudo apt-get install libusb-1.0-0-dev
Step 0.2: Type: sudo apt-get install git
Step 0.3: type: sudo apt-get install cmake

Now install the rtl-sdr software in Step 1.
Step 1.1: Open a Terminal window, and type:
cd ~
mkdir rtl-sdr

Step 1.2: Get the rtl-sdr software:
git clone git://
mkdir build
cd build

Step 1.3: Install the rtl-sdr software:
sudo cmake ../
sudo make
sudo make install

Before plugging in your EZcap receiver, checkout the USB devices installed by typing lsusb. Then plugin your RTL2832 into a USB port and type lsusb again. You should see it as “Realtek Semiconductor Corp.” or something like that. The USB ID may be listed as 0bda:2838.

Test your RTL2832 PLL range:

Step 2.1: type:
chmod +x rtl*
cd ~/rtl-sdr/build/src
sudo ./rtl_test -t

This test will take a few minutes. Output should be something like:
Found 1 device(s):
0: ezcap USB 2.0 DVB-T/DAB/FM dongle

Using device 0: ezcap USB 2.0 DVB-T/DAB/FM dongle
Found Elonics E4000 tuner
Supported gain values (18): -1.0 1.5 4.0 6.5 9.0 11.5 14.0 16.5 19.0 21.5 24.0 29.0 34.0 42.0 43.0 45.0 47.0 49.0
Benchmarking E4000 PLL...
[E4K] PLL not locked for 53000000 Hz!
[E4K] PLL not locked for 2217000000 Hz!
[E4K] PLL not locked for 1109000000 Hz!
[E4K] PLL not locked for 1248000000 Hz!
E4K range: 54 to 2216 MHz
E4K L-band gap: 1109 to 1248 MHz

Now you’re ready to run the SDR!

Step 3.1) type:
cd ~/rtl-sdr/build/src
sudo ./rtl_sdr /tmp/cap.bin -s 1.8e6 -f 90.1e6

Note: replace the 90.1e6 with some frequency used locally by an FM radio station–90.1e6 corresponds to an FM broadcast station at 90.1MHz.

Press Ctrl+C to stop recording after several seconds so that your hard drive doesn’t fill up. Future article will discuss how to read this cap.bin file in MATLAB/Octave.