This is the HackRF One, a Software Defined Radio (SDR) peripheral capable of transmission or reception of radio signals from 1MHz to 6GHz. Designed to enable test and development of modern and next generation radio technologies, HackRF One is an open source hardware platform that can be used as a USB peripheral or programmed for stand-alone operation.
If you are wondering what a SDR actually is, it’s OK we can help. A Software Defined Radio is essentially a radio communication device that implements the use of software instead of the typically implemented hardware (these would include mixers, amps, and modulators for example). SDR is the application of Digital Signal Processing to radio waveforms. It is similar to the software-based digital audio techniques that became popular a couple of decades ago. Just as a sound card in a computer digitizes audio waveforms, a software radio peripheral digitizes radio waveforms. It’s like a very fast sound card with the speaker and microphone replaced by an antenna. The HackRF One acts in just this way, an all-in-one SDR in a small enclosure a little bigger than a cell phone.
Every HackRF One is protected by an injection molded plastic enclosure and ships with a micro USB cable.
Note: An antenna is not included. We recommend the ANT500 Telescopic Antenna as a starter for the HackRF One.
If you have a HackRF One and a Mac, there are tutorials on getting it working on your computer:
“HackRF One with Mac OS X” => http://machinaut.github.io/posts/hackrf/.
“I finally got my HackRF and I have a Mac… Now what?” => http://k1fm.us/2014/08/i-finally-got-my-hackrf-and-i-have-a-mac-now-what/
If you are experiencing issues with the HackRF One we recommend checking Great Scott Gadget’s Help Page found here
If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.
Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
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If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.
Skill Level: Noob - You don't need to reference a datasheet, but you will need to know basic power requirements.
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Based on 31 ratings:
9 of 9 found this helpful:
If you are looking for a “plug in and surf the RF spectrum” this might not be the best purchase. This device, used alone, is plagued with RF aliasing problems simply because it has almost no front end filtering. Strong signals tend to alias very easily. There is a strong problem with the LO (10 MHZ) polluting the signal as well. The LO doesn’t just show up as spikes every 10 MHZ. It causes aliasing problems with strong signals as well. For example, a very strong FM station near me is 94.9 MHZ. I can pick up that station very strong at 84.9 MHZ and also at 104.9 MHZ.
The HackRF benefits greatly from some front end filtering. I would almost give it positive praise if it weren’t for the aliasing problems.
I honestly considered returning it but decided against it since I plan on using it for Tx as well. If I were only interested in Rx, I would probably have returned it. Compared to the RTL-SDR, it certainly has much wider coverage but suffers from more aliasing. My favorite Rx-only SDR is the AirSpy. It does have some LO leakage but it is easy to ignore the 10 MHZ spikes. Of all the SDRs I own, it has the cleanest reception and has become my go-to hardware for SDR reception.
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Okay, so I have had it for only one week, but some initial comments:
1. Set up is real easy, download a driver (Zadig), download and install SDR#, select HackRF One in the SDR# menu and voila the RF One is receiving.
2. Also installed SDR-Console (receiver software) as it supports the HackRF One, works well, is a bit more option-enriched than SDR#. 3. Using an outdoor 43 foot vertical the HackRF One was tried on some of the SW bands and ham bands, so far am very pleased. 4. Tuned down to the AM broadcast band, pulls in stations fine. 5. On VHF tuned in the NOAA wx channels, received fine using a discone antenna on the roof. 6. Best results are from judicious use of the LNA slider and the internal amp. Did not use the VGA slider as am not sure of it’s role in receiving. 7. Also had an MFJ-956 antenna tuner in line on HF band to maximize reception.
Well, so far initial results on HF are fine, need to do more monitoring on VHF/UHF to determine how well it works.
I have 40+ years experience as a ham, SWL, scanner enthusiast, satellite enthusiast so I know what I am talking about.
Conclusion: So far am pleased with it’s operation!
2 of 2 found this helpful:
A small box, versatile as hack! Gnuradio companion ist the best way to start. You get a really cool introduction from the developer about this thing on https://greatscottgadgets.com/hackrf/ But hell, you need a powerful Machine!
1 of 1 found this helpful:
if you’re interested radio you need this
1 of 1 found this helpful:
Having had some time to play around with this, I’ve got to say I’m impressed with just how much of the spectrum this little guy can cover. It’s still got the SDR hallmark “center spike”, but that’s to be expected, and can easily be corrected for. The SMA can be a bit of a pain, especially if you want to use it on HF, VHF, and UHF frequencies, as antennas for those often won’t have SMA connectors on them. All on all though, great device!
4 of 4 found this helpful:
Its small form factor, is awesome. Having it plugged into a tablet for on the go
work is very handy. All round a good product for the price (read there are better but they cost twice the price). The fact an antenna isn’t shipped with this by default is IMHO a mistake which reduces the fun of the first hour after you get it while you search for that SMA antenna you had laying around someplace 5 years ago. Get the antenna! But really spark fun shouldn’t sell it without one. Import Duties into New Zealand were extreme (½ the price of the unit). I believe its because the declaration must have included the shipping cost.
5 of 5 found this helpful:
There’s not much serious development you can do with a box that doesn’t simultaneously transmit and receive. In order to switch between TX and RX modes you have to close the device context and reopen it. However, probably good as a learning platform.
Also, the TX and RX gains are all over the place. Depending on the band they can vary by 25dB. And lets not even discuss noise figure.
1 of 6 found this helpful:
Frustrating - Tried RF Analyzer from Google Play not even close.Said it was for HackRfOne well not lights looked like it was trying but that’s was it…Got my money back Minimal documentation included with the unit -actually basically zilch. Two nearly blank sheets of paper -that was it! Disappointed I expected more basic stuff to get you going My MIstake
Works as intended, but for $100 more I’d rather have full duplex (simultaneous rxtx) so it can respond to something quickly programmatically. Currently it requires firmware mod to switch (its only 100us but still annoying) quickly to Tx a packet. (ACK for example must be tx quickly)
I found lots of ways in which this toy can be useful, i found faulty meters etc….
With regards to SparkFun i must say that the service is flawless, the whole process took no time. From the moment i hit the purchase link till i had my tracking number i barely had time to finish dinner.
Good job guys!
Note I needed to update the firmware, it wasn’t a problem. This goes down to DC - I know a “ham-it-up” is recommended, but this still receives AM radio. The bandwidth is 20MHz so you can see the entire FM radio spectrum, or wide spread-spectrum chunks like digital. And it can transmit. It does everything, and even has clock in (navspark timer 10MHz exactly) and clock out (to sync another)
Affordable Dev tool with the all the features you need. Worked strait out of the box.
Very nice. Neat device. This is the Arduino of SDR. Next version should have full duplex TX+RX and a metal enclosure. Will benefit from a LNA4ALL preamp. +20dB noise compared to AirSpy, also has some artifacts that can be tuned around. Windows7 requires separate Zadig driver. Linux of course works straightaway.
This is a great device and I’ve loved playing around with it. To get the most out of it you will probably need to have decent Linux knowledge and patience while learning about SDR. It’s range is impressive and has been much better than the $25 usb dongle I had before.
Awesome piece of equipment.Best educational tool I have ever purchased.
Delivery from order to package-on-doorstep was lightning fast. I’ve had it up and receiving commercial FM stations with gqrx and run some of the homework examples in an excellent SDR course on greatscottgadgets.com Formal documentation in more detail than the Wiki would have been faster than the video course for me, but in two days, I did enough to know that it works as claimed. It will take some time to master, which I will invest as the needs arise.
Did I say …. awesome !!! You want to know more? Just buy it. Too long to explain and I do not have time since I’m playing (not working) with my HackRF :-)
Quickly gets you up to speed through great tutorials and great for debugging wireless communications. Sparkfun shipping is excellent.
Keep doing well guys! Thank you
I have to admit that I am a passionate for RF domain, so I don’t know if my opinion would be fair, but the hackRF is the device I was looking for, completely opensource to play around as far as I want, the capabilities are quite good,the frequency range is huge! I would rather a crystal enclosure but this one is not bad neither.
I am indeed very glad that I got the HackRF One. It certainly is a very well built SDR and coupled with the highly educational videos done by Michael Ossmann of GreatScottGadgets.com has been very useful.
I would highly recommend the HackRF One to anyone wanting to learn about SDRs and more importantly to be able to work in frequencies that are in the licensed bands. Since I am a licensed ham radio operator in Singapore (9V1HP), I can also do transmission of signals via this tool and GNU Radio Companion (all running on a Fedora system).
Tips for installation and use in Fedora: a) Run the following: “dnf install gr-osmosdr gnuradio hackrf* -y” b) These will set up everything you need to be able to run GNU Radio Companion and interact with HackRF One
Upgraded from a HackRF Jawbreaker and really have enjoyed this new device. The enclosure is nice to have - the reset and DFU buttons also welcomed change from the previous jumpers. Other notable additions from the HackRF are an external clock interface and improved expansion interface. This is a fun device and if your into poking around with RF and want to talk back as well as receive I highly recommend this device.
Solid SDR. Ability to transmit on most or all frequencies adds another layer of fun to the radio fun.
Full duplex would be nice. Still a fantastic radio.
Right now I haven’t been able to use it to its fullest, been mostly just listening to whats out there. So far ham radio traffic in my area seems sparse at best. But over all the device is really great, way more support for it on linux than on windows though just an FYI.
If you’re looking for a plug and play production radio, this is not the gadget for you. However, if you have a solid grasp of RF and are looking for a capable SDR that you can use for a multitude of projects, it quickly becomes one of those “how did I ever get along without it?” tools in your arsenal. A definite step up from the cheaper dongle type SDR units without being overly pricey.
Would most certainly like to see full-duplex become part of its feature set. It should come bundled with the telescoping antenna that is currently sold separately. Conveniently enough there’s a slot in the foam that appears to have been designed just for that antenna.
Great SDR for everyone who wants to play with RF technologies. Installed gnuradio on ArchLinux, plugged it in and after a few minutes I could already listen to my local FM radio station :) Probably the only flaw is that it uses USB 2.0 and not USB 3.0 but I knew that before I bought it, so that’s OK. Maybe with the next version of the HackRF?