Running LimeSDR on Win 10 using VirtualBox/Ubuntu - It's possible

#3

Finally, here is the ‘Full Up’ installation procedure…In this thread, I’ll provide the information how to set up the more simplified version of the Ubuntu 15.1 Environment for LimeSDR ‘from the ground up’ for either an HD install or into a VirtualBox session. That covered, here’s how that’s done:

Simplified Installation for LimeSDR on Ubuntu 15.1:

DISCLAIMER: This assumes that you either have a Ubuntu 15.1 DVD already prepared for loading, or that you have the Ubuntu 15.1 .iso file available for loading onto VirtualBox the same way.

1.) Start with a blank hardrive. Load the Ubuntu 15.1 (Wily) DVD into your PC, boot your PC and allow the DVD to load. Go through a normal installation of Ubuntu to load the OS onto your HD. If you’re doing this with VirtualBox, start with a blank VirtualBox Machine and perform the same steps to load the Ubuntu 15.1 OS. All the steps that follow will be the same for either installation.

2.) Once the OS is installed, proceed to install GQRX by adding the following repositories to your system. Left-click the desktop and click on ‘Open Terminal’ and then type in the following (individually adding each repository):

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:bladerf/bladerf

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:ettusresearch/uhd

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:myriadrf/drivers

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:myriadrf/gnuradio

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:gqrx/gqrx-sdr

sudo apt-get update

…And allow the system to update - this may take 8 or more minutes to accomplish.

3.) Once you have the repositories added, then in the Terminal window type the following at the command prompt:

sudo apt-get install gqrx-sdr

Answer ‘Y’ to installing the nearly 528MB of content. This will take awhile - about 20 mintues to download the and install GQRX.

4.) Once GQRX is installed, perform a check of it with any other SDR that you have available (RTL, SDRPlay, HackRF – NOT LIMESDR AT THIS POINT) and see if you can launch that SDR with GQRX. Connect the SDR and then type: gqrx at the command prompt and press Return/Enter. Allow GQRX to come up and then click on the little circuit board icon on the GQRX GUI. This will launch the device selector. Look for the driver in the list and then commit it by clicking ‘OK’. Press the 1/0 button on the GQRX GUI and ensure that your SDR plays on that app. Once you’ve confirmed that GQRX works, you can proceed to Step 5.

5.) At this point, install the remaining libraries needed by typing the following at the Terminal command prompt:

sudo apt-get install gnuradio-dev gr-osmosdr libsoapysdr-dev soapysdr libsqlite3-dev

and then press Return/Enter to allow those packages to be downloaded and installed.

6.) Now you can refer to the Ubuntu Software Center application within the OS (the icon looks like a little orange suitcase with the letter ‘A’ in the middle of it). Click on this application to launch it and allow it to come up.

7.) Once the Ubuntu Software Center GUI comes up, refer to the upper right corner and look for the search bar. For the first set of files to additionally load to your system, type ‘Lime’ (without the quote marks) into the search bar and then hit the Return/Enter key. Once you populate a list, you will want to install the following apps:

LimeSuite - USB rules for udev

LimeSuite - LibraryApplications

LimeSuite - development files

LimeSuite - shared library

LimeSuite - SoapySDR bindings

…It’s just a matter of clicking on each one and then clicking on the ‘INSTALL’ button on each to install that library or function. Do this for each one listed here.

8.) Now it’s time to go back to the search bar and type the following: ‘Soapy’ (without the quote marks). Allow the Software Center to search for the Soapy apps and the list should include:

Soapy BladeRF - BladeRF device support for SoapySDR

Soapy HackRF - HackRF device Support for SoapySDR

Soapy RedPitaya - RedPitaya device support for SoapySDR

Soapy Remote - Remote device support for SoapySDR

Soapy UHD - UHD Devices for SoapySDR

SoapyRTL-SDR - RTL-SDR device support for SoapySDR

Now, one could argue that these files don’t have a lot of bearing on LimeSDR and don’t need to be installed. I chose to install them all because I acually have a lot of these SDRs and may at some point use them with SoapySDR. Use your own judgement on this, but I chose to install them all - - it doesn’t hurt to have them along for the ride. Perform the same button presses for each of these if you install them.

9.) Finally it’s time to go back to the search bar one last time and type the following: ‘SDR’ (without the quote marks). Allow the Software Center to search for the SDR apps and the list should include:

Soapy SDR - python bindings

SoapySDR - python3 bindings

SoapySDR - development files

Gnuradio blocks from the OsmoSDR project

GNU Software Defined Radio toolkit development

Again, install these to finalize the setup. There could be instances where there’s already some with a green checkmark. If that’s the case, you don’t need to install those - they’re already there.

10.) At this point you have your system fully configured to run GQRX with your LimeSDR and you didn’t need to download and compile anything - that’s the beauty of this version of the setup. You are now ready to try launching your LimeSDR with GQRX for the first time. If you have your LimeSDR at hand, connect it now to the USB 3.0 port and continue to step 11.

11.) With the LimeSDR connected, right-click on the Ubuntu window and select/click the ‘Open Terminal’ option to open a Terminal window. Type the following in the Terminal window at the prompt: SoapySDRUtil --find and then hit the Return/Enter key.

12.) In the Terminal window, you should see the following information (it may be slightly different with address, but all the other info must match):

Found device 0
addr = 241:1204
driver = lime
media = USB
module = STREAM
name = USB 3.0 (LimeSDR-USB)

If you have this readout, then you’re ready to launch GQRX…!

12.) At the Terminal window prompt, type the following: gqrx and then hit the Return/Enter key. Allow the app to load.

13.) When GQRX comes up for the first time, a GUI may pop up (the Configure I/O devices GUI) it may ask you to determine the device. If it does, there is a ‘Device string’ in the settings that will allow you to enter text. Please enter the following exactly has shown below:

soapy=0,driver=lime

…At the same time, in the ‘Input rate’ entry type the following:

1500000

…Click the ‘OK’ button to commit those changes.

14.) Click on the Input Controls tab on the GQRX GUI and then click on the ‘Antenna’ button. Set it to the place where you have your antenna connected to the LimeSDR (if I recall right, mine is set to the ‘LNAL’ antenna position).

15.) There are tabs that will configure the ‘Input Controls’, ‘Receiver Options’ and the ‘FFT Settings’. My guidance to you is to set the slider controls in the ‘Input Controls’ setting to the far right to start with the highest gains for each setting, ensure that you have the ‘WFM (stereo)’ demod selected, and then adjust the slider controls on the ‘FFT Settings’ to ALMOST the right for each one. You will HAVE to perform finer adjustments once you acutally use your LimeSDR with your system for optimal settings for display and audio quality.

16.) On the GQRX GUI, click the 1/0 button at the far upper left part of the GUI and then watch the spectrum display and listen to the audio. You may have to readjust the tuning for your own FM station, but once you do get it set up you will be running your LimeSDR on Ubuntu 15.1…!!

17.) Congratulations…You have installed everything and made it all work using the most painless method of getting your LimeSDR working with Ubuntu 15.1…!

Need some help installing LimeSuite and Pothos on Pentoo Linux
LimeSDR Transmits HF Voice on 20m Using SDRAngel
Can someone please test gr-ieee802-11 with limesdr?
#4

Another Milestone: The LimeSDR is now ported to an Lubuntu 16.04 (Xenial) VirtualBox VDI file and is perfectly working. It’s a moderately sized file (1.93GB Zip file) but I’m continuing to work on getting a MUCH smaller distro to work with the LimeSDR and I think I can achieve that with a future version of Lubuntu or a smaller Linux distro – thus far this is the best Xenial distro that works very well with the LimeSDR.

A similar video showing it operating can be viewed here ----> https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwKr15rQ-sXiWDdVN0ZJWWhfS00/view?usp=sharing

More to follow as I continue to hammer away and get a 2 - 4 GB VDI that can be more easily downloaded. I will post the location of this Xenial VDI tomorrow and it has a more generic username and password than my first VDI. So after tomorrow I will not support the older VDI - I will deactivate it so you’re always getting the freshest versions.

UPDATE 7/11/16: Here is the link to the new ‘LubuntuXenialLime’ VDI for your VirtualBox to have a ‘WORKING INSTANT LIME’ environment -----> https://drive.google.com/folderview?id=0BwKr15rQ-sXiR2tXZkhuVE1DcnM&usp=sharing

Be sure to note the ‘README’ file in this download - it has the Username and Password information for the Lubuntu Xenial session to be launched. This is a zipped archive and is only 1.93GB to download, but will unzip to 6.0GB.

Just move the entire folder to the same place as your VirtualBox has VDIs stored and then use VirtualBox to find this VDI. Once you have that imported into VirtualBox, just run as normal and be sure to use the Username and Password info as I mentioned above. Just for good practice, here is that information:

Username: limeuser

Password: LimeSDR

Have fun with it…!

73 de Marty, KN0CK

#5

August 30, 2016: New VirtualBox VDIs are up on my Google account and CAN be
pulled for your own use with the following links. These are PREFAB VDIs
that you can import into VirtualBox that will allow you to run native HF
to SHF tuning on the LimeSDR using GQRX and have been fully tested and
are KNOWN WORKING. Here are those links:

These Zip File archives are large - about 2.5GB per distro, but when
they expand on your HD where the VDIs are stored, they are capable of
8GB of drive space to allow more apps to be loaded on along with LimeSDR
and GQRX - those are PRE-INSTALLED AND KNOWN WORKING…!

Lubuntu (16.04): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwKr15rQ-sXiOGhpZGVxb3h4Ykk/view?usp=sharing1

Ubuntu Xenial (16.04): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwKr15rQ-sXiRDdMRGpQUE5ZdGM/view?usp=sharing

Again these are zipped VDIs. All you need to do is unzip the archive,
move the entire folder into the same subdirectory that VirtualBox
stores its VDIs and then use VirtualBox to import those VDIs and you’re
done. Just launch VirtualBox and double-click the appropriate distro
made for LimeSDR and then allow it to launch. The username is already
set for both, but the password for both is: LimeSDR Just type LimeSDR
into the password box when the distro launches. From there, find the
small USB symbol in the VirtualBox control panel, right click on it and
click on the LimeMicrosystems entry in the list. Open a terminal
session, type: SoapySDRUtil --find and then press the Enter key. Allow
the application to see if the LimeSDR is present, if it is, then type:
gqrx at the command line to launch GQRX. If it comes up with a pop-up
box, just enter 1500000 into the ‘Input Rate’ entry in the form and
click OK. From there, click the 1/0 button at the top left of the GQRX
window and watch your LimeSDR play on Ubuntu or Lubuntu Linux from a
Windows desktop…!

Again, there are RECENTLY updated VDIs for the LimeSDR that will NATIVELY TUNE HF to SHF.

I will continue to update these VDIs as more features are added - Stay tuned…!

Marty (KN0CK)

1 Like
#6

Marty, have you used any other programs besides gqrx ? like LauRadio or pothos —>soapysdr ?

#7

Dear martywittrock
Whether I must got limesdr if I want to do some experiment for SDR. Now Can I get the limesdr harware?

#8

Benku,

If you were a part of the original group of backers and purchased a LimeSDR during the ‘Early Bird’ or during the run of the funding campaign, then you’ll receive a LimeSDR in late November or early December. I believe you still can purchase LimeSDR boards from: https://www.crowdsupply.com/lime-micro/limesdr as a pre-order, but the price will be $289. During the funding campaign, the price was lower. Hope this helps, and thanks for writing.

#9

Mike,

Sorry for the incredibly long delay in getting back with you - I’ve been on vacation to Colorado, Utah, and New Mexico and just getting back yesterday night. I haven’t used any of the other apps that are out there other than Alex’s GQRX. However, now that I’m back home I would like to know more about LauRadio if you have any info on it (I can’t find anything on it with just a quick check on Google). I would like to use other apps under Linux to see the performance relative to GQRX, but I haven’t been playing with Pothos given that it’s very similar to GNURadio Companion - more for researchers than apps that can be used by Hams. Send me the links to info on LauRadio or other Soapy-enabled apps, I’d like to try them to compare them to GQRX.

Thanks for the info, Mike - 73,

de Marty (KN0CK)

#10

LuaRadio.Io , i miss spelled it (again)

think its close to gnuradio in function …

#11

Hey Marty,thanks for the post. Today i popped your vm into virtualbox here super easy but the ‘lime user’ account is password protected. Would you recommend i use the guest account here or something kind sir? Thanks!

#12

Hi Whiteboy,

This thread has the user information that I posted (what seems like forever ago) back on July 7th. For any of my USB images, VMs, or any of the ISOs I made for the LimeSDR the following account information works - and be sure to use the case that I used, too:

Username: limeuser

Password: LimeSDR

Once you get in, you can create your own user and password, or just change that one that’s there. Also, be sure to go back through this thread on how to launch some of the tools and the GQRX app itself with that VM. It’s not different than if you had it installed live under Linux, but you’ll need to know how to launch everything so you know that your LimeSDR is connected (or visible) on the system and then how to launch it. Here’s a good procedure to use:

1.) With the LimeSDR connected, right-click on the Ubuntu window and select/click the ‘Open Terminal’ option to open a Terminal window. Type the following in the Terminal window at the prompt: SoapySDRUtil --find and then hit the Return/Enter key.

2.) In the Terminal window, you should see the following information (it may be slightly different with address, but all the other info must match):

Found device 0
addr = 241:1204
driver = lime
media = USB
module = STREAM
name = USB 3.0 (LimeSDR-USB)

If you have this readout, then you’re ready to launch GQRX…!

3.) At the Terminal window prompt, type the following: gqrx and then hit the Return/Enter key. Allow the app to load.

4.) When GQRX comes up for the first time, a GUI may pop up (the Configure I/O devices GUI) it may ask you to determine the device. If it does, there is a ‘Device string’ in the settings that will allow you to enter text. Please enter the following exactly has shown below:

soapy=0,driver=lime

…At the same time, in the ‘Input rate’ entry type the following:

1500000

…Click the ‘OK’ button to commit those changes.

5.) Click on the Input Controls tab on the GQRX GUI and then click on the ‘Antenna’ button. Set it to the place where you have your antenna connected to the LimeSDR (if I recall right, mine is set to the ‘LNAL’ antenna position).

6.) There are tabs that will configure the ‘Input Controls’, ‘Receiver Options’ and the ‘FFT Settings’. My guidance to you is to set the slider controls in the ‘Input Controls’ setting to the far right to start with the highest gains for each setting, ensure that you have the ‘WFM (stereo)’ demod selected, and then adjust the slider controls on the ‘FFT Settings’ to ALMOST the right for each one. You will HAVE to perform finer adjustments once you acutally use your LimeSDR with your system for optimal settings for display and audio quality.

7.) On the GQRX GUI, click the 1/0 button at the far upper left part of the GUI and then watch the spectrum display and listen to the audio. You may have to readjust the tuning for your own FM station, but once you do get it set up you will be running your LimeSDR…!!

Thanks for the recent post and let me know how you get along with that USB, VM or ISO image.

Marty (KN0CK)

#13

Dear friend
I have ordered two limesdr in june. When can I get it ?

#14

Benku,

I’m not in charge for shipments, that’s CrowdSupply’s job and we’re all (including me) waiting for our boards. The latest post I saw from CrowdSupply said that the 500 boards were completed at the factory in Taiwan and that they would be shipped to the UK for final random checkout testing, then sent to the US for final shipments. That’s about all I know, but I’m not responsible for the shipments from CrowdSupply - thanks,

Marty

#15

After you do that … and lets say close gqrx,
Next time running gqrx is 1500000 still shown in the “input rate” box ?
do you not enter any thing in bandwidth ?

#16

Mike,

Right now (because of the SoapySDR settings currently) you HAVE to run the Bandwidth at 100 MHz (input as: 100000000). That’s the only way you can tune below 30 MHz, above 30 MHz you use zero (0) for the Bandwidth.

Let me know if there’s anything else, Mike, 73

de Marty, KN0CK

#17

Looks like i might be stuck with USB2 –
Im using an Odroid-C2 and had to shorten up my power cable from my SPS 5V.

The Odroid seemed to be ok with a bit of voltage drop but no so much the LimeSDR-USB.

After i finally got the setup working – i was thinking that – man – this thing is quite deaf (even after the easy fix). I goofed around with the gain settings and stuff for a bit … and as i was thinking , ok – time to bag it up and get others things done — standing up i realised that i didn’t actually hook up the antenna coax. I had a cable from the LimeSDR-USB to a VHF bandpass filter/AMP … but not into the power/SWR meter that was after the AMP. After a quick face-palm i checked again and Rx of my local repeater was no problem …

Hope that after i make a USB OTG cable for the Odroid-C2 that it connects at USB3 (kinda doubt it) – wishfull thinking since its not labelled as such…

2 Likes
#18

Hi Marty,

I am trying to use Ubuntu 18.04 on VirtualBox 5.2.22 as a guest on Windows 10. I carefully followed all the steps you outlined above (I also tried using the DVI files you had posted previously). However, I still cannot find the LimeSDR device when I run SoapySDRUtil --find.

On Windows, I can perfectly find and detect the LimeSDR device, but the library that I would like to work with does not have a Windows version. So I have to use Ubuntu. On the VirtualBox, I’ve made sure that USB 3.0 (xHCI) Controller is selected and then verified that LimeSDR-USB is marked on the lower right corner of the window. Despite all of the above, SoapySDRUtil cannot find the device. Ironically, I get the same output when I use the your DVI files.

Do you have any idea what I am missing? Thanks a lot!

UPDATE: I accidentally found the solution. Instead of running SoapySDRUtil --find, I ran sudo SoapySDRUtil --find. all of a sudden, I saw the info of the LimeSDR on the console!

#19

@LMSMigrant,

YEA!! I was going to go through a punch list of ideas to help, but it’s ALWAYS good when you can help yourself to the road to recovery - that’s a great way to be self-empowered running the Lime on a Client OS on Windows, you always know what’s on both sides of the Client/Host service to know how it will affect the Lime. Great work on that…! Have fun with it, it’s a great way to run the Lime and I’ve found if your machine keeps up (i5 or i7 processor) you’re going to be fine running it as a client and it seems a lot smoother with the apps that run in Linux, too.

73 de Marty, KN0CK

1 Like
#20

Hi,

this helped me with the same problem.

Unfortunately, I have to do this after every small update.

-Martin

1 Like
#21

I’ve been fighting to get my LimeSDR Mini working all weekend, just found this with the preconfigured VM. Figured I would use that to test my SDR and prove it works then compare to my Mint 18 install to see what’s different.

Unfortunately with the VM provided I’m not having any more success, it gives GQRX “No audio FFT data” and I can’t pick an antenna because the dropdown is empty.

It does detect it in the VM as a USB3.0 LimeSDR like posts suggest should work.

I’m now starting to wonder if the SDR needs some specific firmware…anyone know?

#22

@mmiller7 - Matt,

The VDI that I posted in 2016 is based on a very old version of Ubuntu (15.1) and an even older version of LimeSuite and LimeSDR drivers that will be incompatible with your LimeSDR. I will pull both of the VDIs I know about and remove them permanently - they just won’t work with your LimeSDR. However, here is what I use to set up a new VDI based on the latest installation of LimeSuite and all the latest LimeSDR drivers for the latest install Ubuntu once you get that installed into the VDI:

Set up the build environment:

sudo mkdir -p /opt/build
sudo chown user:users /opt/build
sudo mkdir -p /opt/install
sudo chown user:users /opt/install

Dependiencies for LimeSuite:

sudo add-apt-repository -y ppa:myriadrf/drivers
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install limesuite liblimesuite-dev limesuite-udev limesuite-images
sudo apt-get install soapysdr-tools soapysdr-module-lms7

#soapysdr-tools use to be called just soapysdr on older packages
sudo apt-get install soapysdr soapysdr-module-lms7

…From there you can install any application you want and you can also use the terminal commands for both SoapySDR and LimeUtil.

Hope this helps - let me know if there are any questions or comments -

73 de Marty, KN0CK