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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