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Spectral Analysis with RTL-SDR Radio

This example shows how to use the RTL-SDR radio, with MATLAB® and Simulink®, as a data source for downstream spectrum analysis. You can change the radio's center frequency to tune the radio to a band where a signal is present. You can then use the spectrum analyzer to view and make measurements on the received spectrum.

This example is implemented in two versions:

The following text describes the Simulink version, but both versions have the same functionality.


The model performs an FFT-based spectrum analysis at complex baseband, and provides the following graphical information:

  • A view of the spur-free dynamic range of the receiver

  • A view of the qualitative SNR level of the received signal

Structure of the Example

The following figure shows the receiver model:

Running the Example

When you run the example, you can measure signal characteristics such as peaks, occupied bandwidth, adjacent channel power ratio, harmonic and intermodulation levels, and spur-free dynamic range.