Getting Started with a RTL based SDR Dongle

Currently RTL-SDR development in a BETA state across almost all projects.

Easiest way to get started with your new RTL based dongle is using a install package provided by

  1. Download and install Follow the instructions and remember where you installed it to. (YOU CAN SKIP THIS STEP IF YOU SELECT TO INSTALL HDSDR VIA THE SETUP PACKAGE IN STEP 2)
  2. Visit and download the  setup package. While there, grab the new (without updating it you will have a tough time and see many errors)
  3. Make sure your dongle is plugged in.
  4. Extract the first .ZIP you downloaded and run the installer contained within. Install to the same folder as HDSDR. During the install process, you will be asked to install the Zadig drivers. If your dongle doesn’t automatically show up, select Options then List all Devices. Select Bulk in Interface 0 (NOT 1 if that shows up) and click Install Drivers or Replace Drivers. Close the Zadig installer and complete the rest of the install.
  5. When completed, extract to the same folder as where you installed HDSDR (or ExtIO if you chose a different location). You may have to delete/rename the existing file before replacing it.
  6. Launch HDSDR
  7. Ignore errors you see on first launch. There should be two windows that open HDSDR and Device Control. Select the Device Control window and under “Device Hint” put “RTL readlen=8192 tuner=e4k” without the quotation marks. Click Create. Hopefully it should work and you can go back to the HDSDR window, click START (or hit F2) and begin tuning around.



Any questions, please ask and I will do my best to answer and clarify this post.

 Here is a video about the same process:

I did notice when I was following the above video I had a few different results than shown. For me a driver was automatically installed via Windows Update and it did not show up by default in the Zadig list (had to select List all Devices). Zadig showed I already had some sort of default RTL2832U driver installed not just (NONE). Replacing the driver worked  fine but it wasn’t until I used the “Device Hint” “RTL readlen=8192 tuner=e4k” that it worked properly.


Note: The above instructions require you have a basic knowledge of using computers and installing software. Be sure to read all instructions on your screen provided by the installers.


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  • Janos

    Embedded rtl-sdr setup
    I made a temporaly setup, realising my idea, to run the rtl-sdr software on a small linux box, and receive the data on ethernet, and process it on a remote desktop with gnuradio blocks.

  • admin

    Hey Janos,

    I’ve made a separate post for your embedded RTL-SDR setup. It would be great if you could keep us all updated.


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  • Mike

    Bought the
    Newsky DVB-T Stick Freeview DAB DAB+ FM USB RTL2832U / Elonics E4000
    Followed your instructions ok
    But the 2nd time I ran HDSDR it came back with the Device Control but when I repeated the hint command it came back with no valid driver found.
    I’m doing something wrong but I can’t see why.
    I had HDSDR showing signals on the waterfall but no FM decoding only noise when I ran it the first time.

    Any advice/tips would be apprieciated.

  • DaveNF2G

    The parenthetical comment at the end of Step 1 is confusing.

    What “setup package below” renders Step 1 unnecessary?

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  • Michel


    I have a software conlict between Perseus Microtelecom WINUSB drivers and RTL drivers.

    How i can resolve this.
    Thanks by advnce for your tips

  • Scan New England

    Thanks for the instructions. My new el-cheapo SDR worked the first time using them. Greatly appreciated!


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  • Arno

    I have bought the “TerraTec T-Stick+” with Realtek RTL2832U / Elonics E4000 chipset (I have opened it to check it).
    Than I have followed all your install steps, allso putting RTL readlen=8192 tuner=e4k in the device hint. But when I launched HDSDR Device Control and I click “Create”, it shows “could not find a compatible device” and so on.
    Please could you help me??
    Thank you!
    (Win XP SP 3)

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  • Joao

    For TerraTec T-Stick you need ti put
    RTL readlen=8129 vid=0x0CCD pid=0x00D3 tuner=e4
    on device hit

  • Redtank

    I was able to get HDSDR up and running fine on my Windows XP box by following your excellent instructions, thank you. I’d like to run the software on my Vista 64 laptop but am unable to install the driver supplied in instruction #4. Windows refuses the driver. On the other hand, Windows accepted the USB driver supplied with the Ezcap install CD. I’m not able to configure the Device Control without the correct driver….any suggestions or has anyone else had the same issues with installing on Vista?


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  • Carey

    just got my rtl going. this thing is great. works like a dream, thanks for the tutorial

  • Dan

    Thanks for the guide! I followed your steps and my device gets detected and the program starts. I can see signal on the histogram, but all i ever hear is noise. Never do i get any clean signal at all. I’ve even replaced the craptastic antenna the unit ships with…any thoughts?

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  • Craig

    Been trying to get this working under windows 8 with no luck at all.

  • tony

    not working here.
    got Ezcap DVB-T with RTL chipset and e4k tuner (it says.)

    box say’s rev 8.0 ,so i guess i got some driver isue.
    can tune, i see spike, but no sound.
    soundcard is correct and wide enough in badwide.
    even local radio give no sound.
    local repeater (2 miles distance,) no sound..

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  • fri

    i have tried with my kworld ub405a with no luck. please any idea? ( i am still not sure the chipset in it)

  • tony

    hmm, took a trick from a m8, but it seems, the software isnt yet FM ready, hehe..that was most of problem.

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  • Iamfrankensteein

    Yeah, mine finally works. DO NOT PLUG IN A USB3 PORT!.

    I think it has something to do with addressing.

  • Diego Garcia Medina

    Hi all
    Can you please tell me if it is possible to build sdr radio using Encore analog tv dongle Encore Enutv-3
    Thanks in advance

  • Grant

    Hi there im doing this sdr project , but my dongle just wont connect to HDSDR , in the hint i get the message , could not find compatible device , im using a compro u650f , i pulled it apart and it using the required rtl chipset and tuner chipset , im lost any ideas

    Cheers Grant

  • Gogi

    Заебался я с установкой!! Ни хуя драйвер ебучий не поставить!!!


    This particular blog, “Getting Started with a RTL based SDR


    “Getting Started with a RTL based SDR Dongle

  • penguin

    The zadig installer tries to download and install visual C redistributable package, what a nightmare. The whole concept. Please put the package inside the installer, the download keeps failing. Or use C# for goodness sake. C is built on obsolete 8 bit dos libraries

  • Martin Brown

    Hi, and thanks for the easy getting started tips. It works like a dream on Win7 but on XP (which I tried first) there is a mismatch between the modern zadig installer and XP libraries that results in a failed/partial installation that doesn’t behave at all. Sadly it doesn’t give any error message but gives up quietly without doing anything useful.

    You have to get the zadig_XP release to make it install the USB drivers properly. This also seems to give an error but the driver and ExtIO DLL do behave afterwards.

    Minor niggle that others might find useful is that the front end gain was set to minimum by default and some people have reported no signal. It may be that they have improved its device hints too as my DVT-T+DAB+FM device worked OK with default hint “RTL”.
    (with the failed XP install I never got to see that window with Device Hint in)

    BTW VHF broadcast FM seems distorted but I am running it on an underpowered sacrificial netbook at the moment to figure out how to install it properly first.

    • nitroburn

      Try a lower sample rate, that may help with the distortion. If you try the max capable, I find it distorts.

  • genericid

    is it normal to only get FM stations with the telescopic antenna?

  • brice3010

    Hi, I notice this is an old thread but yet: I installed using your instructions on W7/64 pc, congratulations with the concise way you wrote the instructions!
    Some issues:
    1. installing the Zadig drivers works, but you must be carefull at which window is actually to be used, and VERY carefully follow your instructions!
    2. after install, I had to reinstall the DVB drivers (or I had forgotten them).
    EDIT: do not install DVB drivers shipped with dongle!!!
    3. restarting pc is mandatory.
    4. VERY good instruction at section 7 too.

  • etzel

    Hello everyone. I know this is an old post, but it semms like cannot be found anymore with the gieven link. Anyone knows where i could find the file?

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