A Book Series on Software Defined Radio

About the Field Expedient SDR Series

First some comments from fans of the series:


There is a whole world out there waiting for you.

A world not seen by many people. This book opens the world of SDR to the masses and makes it approachable, fun and useful. It is required reading for all Black Hills Information Security team members.

John Strand
Owner - Black Hills InfoSec
Senior Instructor for SANS


If you are looking for a practical, top down approach for GNURadio and SDR proficiency, this series is precisely what you’re looking for. The authors give you everything that you need, exactly when you need it. Personally, I found that whenever I would ask myself, “OK, but what about…”, the very next page was exactly the topic that I was expecting. Well written, clear, precise with wonderful hands-on examples that allow you to reproduce everything discussed in the book.

David Hoelzer
Dean of Faculty, sans.edu
Chief Research Officer, Cyber-Defense/EnclaveForensics


Software Defined Radios are revolutionizing wireless communications, but getting started can be a challenge. Much of the available SDR training veers either towards highly mathematical engineering classes or radio cookbooks with little explanation for the steps taken.

The Field Expedient SDR Series steers between these two extremes by leveraging knowledge you already have but didn’t know was applicable to radio technology. Our key philosophy is to learn by doing. These books do much, much more than simply describe how software defined radios work. They walk you through each concept with real projects, giving you concrete, practical experience.

The first three books in the series take you from beginner to intermediate capabilities. Future volumes will cover reverse engineering, amateur radio, and much more!

Because installing open-source tools can be a challenge, each book provides a step-by-step guide to installing gnuradio and the HackRF drivers in Linux. In the hopes of facilitating SDR adoption, we’ve provided this chapter to you free of charge here.

Volume 1 - Introduction to Software Defined Radio

The first volume in the series will take you from being a complete SDR novice to a capable user. There will still be much to learn, but you will be in a solid position to learn it. Through a series of hands-on exercises you will learn:

  • to use gnuradio, the leading SDR software tool

  • how analog signals are sampled

  • when and how to use decimation and interpolation

  • how filtering, tuning and demodulating work

  • how all the pieces of an SDR-based radio fit together

Volume 2 - Basic Analog SDR

With the foundation laid, volume 2 goes deeper into radio concepts, as well as providing a host of practical information on gnuradio, SDR architecture, and peripherals for your SDR. This volume teaches you:

  • to build and operate an FM radio using real SDR hardware

  • to use more powerful and complex gnuradio blocks

  • about SDR architecture and how it applies on a practical level

  • what kinds of antennas and peripherals you’ll need in your SDR toolkit

  • key SDR and radio terms and how they impact your radios

Volume 3 - Basic Digital SDR

Digital radios are at the heart of billions of systems worldwide, from wireless networking devices to garage door openers to the Internet of Things (IoT). In this third volume, we’ll cover the basic principles on which all of this is built, working through projects where you’ll construct a number of different digital radios. Volume 3 includes:

  • on-off keying (OOK) and frequency shift keying (FSK)

  • the most common variations of phase shift keying (PSK)

  • our deepest dive yet into complex numbers, and why they matter

  • the basic elements that make up a digital transmission

  • error checking algorithms such as CRCs