Getting Started with SDR and HackRF One (Windows Based)

HackRF One From Great Scott Gadgets

Getting started with Software Defined Radio (SDR) has never been easier thanks to GNU Radio and the various SDRs available. I have decided to start learning about SDR using the ‘HackRF One’ from Great Scott Gadgets (link).

I am following along with the Great Scott Gadgets website tutorials put on by
Michael Ossmann. I have just completed the first set of code and instruction video. My particular notes are below on getting started with Windows, GNU Radio and my source code.

After the installation steps in the list above, it is as easy as opening up GNU Radio Companion and following the steps laid out by Michael to create your first FM Radio.

GNU Radio Companion
FM Tuner with Band Visualization GUI.

The only major hiccup that I found was that in the demonstration was that his sample rate was 20M s/sec, this was much too fast for my PC and had issues keeping up. Once I turned down the sampling rate down to 10M s/sec the tuner was crystal clear and worked great.

FM Tuner with Spectrum Visualization and Variable Tuning

More to come as I complete future lessons and eventually start listening to the ham radio bands and use this to modify my low cost radar project.


Hackerboxes.com Hackerbox #0020 Build

I have been a subscriber to hackerboxes.com for quite some time, however, I typically just get their boxes every month, review the contents and set it aside for another ‘not so busy day.’



Today I decided to pull out an older box, the ‘Summer Camp’ Badge box.  This box has you build an program an ESP32 connected to a TFT, 5 neopixels, cap touch buttons printed on the board, a lipo battery charger and a buzzer.  The board builds in about 30 minutes, and takes about 30 more to setup the IDE and test all of the functions.  A photo of my build running is below, it is scanning all of the SSIDs that it can see and displaying them to the TFT.

Hackerboxes Box 0020 Build

The notes from instructables do leave out a few key things that I will list below for anyone else working through this tutorial and having issues:

1.) You will need to get and install the following Arduino libraries from github (remember to restart the Arduino IDE after adding new libraries to the ./Arduino/libraries folder:




2.) When you install the ESP32 tool suite from github, you will need to select the ‘ESP32 Dev Module’ as your board.  The instructions are fairly straight forward, the biggest thing to remember to do after you clone the repository to your ./Arduino/hardware directory is to run the ‘get.exe’ command to install the ESP32 tools in the Arduino IDE.


Next Steps:

Next I will be adding the ability to do the following from a web interface:

1.) Change the text on the TFT

2.) Set the NeoPixels

3.) Play sounds on the Buzzer

The ultimate goal will be to use an ESP32 module on my own board to control above and under cabinet neopixel strings that can be controlled via a webapp.

*More to come!


1969 Firebird Tail Light Update

We have mounted the tail light PCBs into the enclosures using standoffs and stainless steel hardware.  We also used 16 AWG automotive grade wire using the original color code that the car used from the factory.  As can be seen in the photos below the new lights are incredibly bright and will serve the car well.

The only modification that we will be making to the lights is the driving light intensity.  It turns out that we are not dimming the LEDs enough when just the marker lights (or driving lights) are on.  We used a decade resistance box to try different values and found that 10 Ohms dimmed the lights sufficiently.  We will use a 10 Ohm high power resistor inline with the driving lights to dim them to the appropriate level.





First Project Post / Intentions

These posts are to place information about projects that I have completed or are in progress.  These are all projects that I am openly sharing information on and are *NOT* client and/or work related projects.

These posts will either be about projects that I have been working on, videos that I have posted on YouTube talking about and demonstrating projects, or they could even be reviews on products that are coming out.

Stay tuned to see what projects are up and coming.