OS X port of the awesome gqrx SDR software [Update 07/01/2013]

A while ago I already managed to compile gqrx on OS X, but then Alexandru Csete decided to move on to a new audio backend called pulseaudio. Sadly there is no proper pulseaudio port for OS X. Thus I bring you my branch of gqrx 2.1 which runs quite well on OS X.

This release bundles all the rtl-sdr, gr-osmosdr, GNU Radio, libUSB, boost and Qt dependencies allowing it to work out of the box. Though feel free to contact me in case you encounter problems. It has been reported to run fine on Snow Leopard (10.6), OS X Lion (10.7), OS X Mountain Lion (10.8) and OS X Mavericks (10.9). Sadly Leopard (10.5) isn’t supported due to Apple breaking binary compatibility on 64bit binaries for some reason.

Download the ready to use DMG/APP here:
gqrx_8.dmg – (07/01/2013) Latest GIT. Some people are reporting FFT issues with this build, in case you encounter those try the one below and leave a comment. (shasum: 66b9f6952aff5cb0bc995556c633b3cc7f5d990e)

Old versions:
gqrx_7.dmg – (02/03/2013) Up to date with GIT. I’ve added a deadlock prevention feature in case your settings keep gqrx from starting up properly. After a crash/forced-close it asks you whether you want to reset all your settings to default. This should help you guys with invalid rtl_tcp settings and the like. I have also fixed rtl_fm to now properly work on OS X (It used to only output noise), as well as multimonNG which now supports umlauts for POCSAG decoding. So check out the bundled command-line utilities! 🙂 (e.g. /Applications/Gqrx.app/Contents/MacOS/rtl_test -t)

gqrx_6.dmg – Latest (01/16/2013) updates from GIT, yet again. This time I also packaged some command-line utilities (multimonNG rtl_adsb rtl_eeprom rtl_fm rtl_sdr rtl_tcp rtl_test) together with Gqrx. rtl_fm seems to be broken on OS X, yet we’re still triaging the bug. It would be great if you could try it and report whether it works for you. (http://kmkeen.com/rtl-demod-guide/index.html) I am considering packaging up the whole of gnuradio including the companion GUI if there is demand.
gqrx_5.dmg (Latest updates from GIT, supports adjusting the FFT resolution which should fix the pink curtain problem. The zoom slider has been removed from upstream, yet you can still zoom by using the mouse wheel on the axes.)
gqrx_4.dmg (GNU Radio component has now been compiled with “-DTRY_SHM_VMCIRCBUF=OFF”, this should hopefully fix the shared memory problem some of you have encountered. Please report whether it works now.)
gqrx_3.dmg (Rebased to the zoom branch. Credit goes to vpelletier for the awesome patch!)

Pan: left-click on X-axis labels & drag horizontally
Pan (alternative): Mouse wheel on X-axis labels, faster pan with Shift held and slower pan with Ctrl held.
Change central frequency: middle-click on X-axis labels & drag horizontally
Zoom: slider on FFT panel

gqrx_2.dmg (Updated gr-osmosdr and fixed a crash when disabling demod.)

The screenshot was taken in direct sampling mode, that’s why I was able to receive 0-2.4mhz. I’ll probably blog about my modded dongle soon.

Software licenses:
GNU Radio


  1. Thanks so much for packing up MultimonNG, etc.! Rtl_fm works fine on my Mac Mini running 10.6.8 — I was able to use it to capture APRS packets (albeit a lot fewer than expected based on the traffic I could see in Gqrx, but I haven’t really begun optimizing the tuning parameters)

    However, while Gqrx runs fine on it’s own, I haven’t been able to get Gqrx working with rtl_tcp yet — in the terminal window for rtl_tcp I’ll get: “ll+ now 234” etc, as it counts up to “ll+ now 502” and then hangs until a CTRL-C. I’ve gotten rtl_tcp to work with Cocao1090 for ADSB reception and demod.

    One other situation that can cause Gqrx to hang on start up is when it’s been set to use rtl_tcp. If you leave it configured in that mode, shut down the rtl_tcp server, and restart Gqrx, the icon will bounce forever. Force quit, launch rtl_tcp, get Gqrx up and set it file mode works to recover.

    But thanks for making life on OS X so much easier — last time I grappled with SDR on a Mac it was a 10-hour nightmare trying to get stuff compiled and running!

  2. I downloaded gqrx_6.dmg and for some reason on start up, the icon bounces for a good while and then the application ends up “Not Responding.” I am running Mac OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard. Any ideas?

  3. thanks for this great port!
    it’s my favorite SDR app for the Mac!
    my only problem is about the bundled rtl_adsb, it won’t recognize the -R parameter for the raw output that i’d like to pipe with netcat for use with virtualradar that i’m using via mono 🙂

    Use: rtl_adsb [-R] [-g gain] [-p ppm] [output file]
    ./rtl_adsb: illegal option — R

    are you kidding?? 🙂

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  5. I like seeing software for Mac…now if I can only get it to see my device. I have confirmed the device works on my old Asus laptop but it doesn’t show up on either USB3.0 port on my rMBP. Anyone else experienced this issue? I cannot load it into Gqrx, nor does it show up as a valid device for me to pass along to VMs either.

  6. Worked right off the bat on a MacBook Air 13-inch late 2010 running Lion 10.7.5 with a NooElec TV28T DVB-T USB stick. It’s a bit unstable; click the wrong thing at the wrong time and the data from the stick hangs up and weird noises ensue. FM reception is good although there is little stereo depth. I’ll report later on how it works on shortwave with an up-converter.

    • Works fine with the NooElec 100MHz upconverter. The display process is rather cranky, and the controls don’t always act properly. Right now I am having trouble setting the FFT values, although they worked in the past.

      • Also, it crashes on close every time and doesn’t save all the settings. Someday I’ll try gqrx under Ubuntu and see if it behaves better there. Meanwhile, for serious use I will go back to Windows and HDSDR.

  7. Thanks for the port. I am having an issue with it crashing on exit. I can provide a crash report if necessary. Mid 2011 27-inch iMac with 2.7 GHz intel Core i5, 12GB 1333 MHz DDR3, OS X version 10.8.2

  8. Im running the DVB-T+DAB+FM dogle on mac os 10.8.3 I have your latest version gqrx_7.dmg but the program can not seem to find the dogle .. under devices.. I did get working just for shor time with the previous version of gqrx. but not both version are not work working.. what happens is is I see my dogle in the pull down selection but when I select it the program does not respond.. please help

  9. Works really well – thank you for porting this! I’ve found that I can pipe output using Soundflower, selecting the 2ch device as a default output, and then using this in something like dl-fldigi. It’d be nice to be able to hear stuff too, but this works okay.

  10. Version 7 crashes for me and freezes my Logitech wireless mouse and my Griffin PowerMate application must be forced to quit. Once this happens, I have to force a re-boot. All Apple mice continue to work. I have not checked yet to see if both items are on the same USB hub as the SDR dongle. I am using an NooElectric R820T usb dongle.

    Have not tried version 6. Version 5 seems much more stable for me. I have a MacPro5,1.

    I would love to use the I/Q output but it does not seem to work. Is this a future demodulator option?

    Any way thanks for the work you have put in. I do appreciate it.


  11. Thanks for this! I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing with SDR yet, but I got a NooElec dongle and found your program via Google and within two minutes I’m listening to a local FM station. Better yet, I know the hardware works and I have somewhere to start from. Thank you!

  12. I tried using the latest release gqrx_7 and had the issue with it locking up and asking me to go back to the default settings. I clicked on the reset to default and it just becomes unresponsive and has to be forced closed. I have deleted it using appcleaner and reinstalled, but the same problem occurs again so Appcleaner must be missing a file hidden away in the system.

    Any ideas please?

    • Nevermind, got it working by starting it from the command line, which was a suggestion that someone else mentioned above. Working now with the RTL Dongle. Really need a better antenna, but at least I know it is working with the Mac.

  13. Many thanks for the port to OSX, I was glad to find it! For the most part, it seems to be working well with the Newsky USB module I recently purchased.


    Like a few of the other posts, the app does seem to “crash” on exit, I’ve posted some output below. There are a few other nits but nothing to keep me from using and enjoying the app. Thanks again….

    Process: Gqrx [5413]
    Path: /Users/USER/Desktop/Gqrx.app/Contents/MacOS/Gqrx
    Identifier: com.yourcompany.Gqrx
    Version: ??? (???)
    Code Type: X86-64 (Native)
    Parent Process: launchd [157]

    Date/Time: 2013-04-13 19:11:42.808 -0700
    OS Version: Mac OS X 10.7.5 (11G63)
    Report Version: 9

    Interval Since Last Report: 37454 sec
    Crashes Since Last Report: 8
    Per-App Interval Since Last Report: 8683 sec
    Per-App Crashes Since Last Report: 7
    Anonymous UUID: 123CAF70-6D36-4EC0-AF09-08121CCC4FB4

    Crashed Thread: 0 Dispatch queue: com.apple.main-thread

    Exception Type: EXC_CRASH (SIGABRT)
    Exception Codes: 0x0000000000000000, 0x0000000000000000

    Application Specific Information:
    terminate called throwing an exception
    abort() called
    objc[5413]: garbage collection is OFF

  14. Need help connecting a Nooelec R820T SDR it show as realtek RTL2828UIDIR in the I/O window. When selected the gqrx main window shows gqrx 0.0 with no apparent connection to the dongle? Any help would be appreciated.

  15. Thank you very much for the port. It’s very clean compared to the HDSDR OSX port.

    Can anyone direct me to a page that describes how to determine the short names for OSX’s audio devices? I’m trying to output audio on an interface besides the ‘Default’ from Gqrx.

  16. Wouldn’t run for me. Tried gqrx_6.dmg and gqrx_7.dmg From gqrx_6.dmg I got these:

    /Applications/Gqrx.app/Contents/MacOS/rtl_sdr ; exit;
    -bash: /Applications/Gqrx.app/Contents/MacOS/rtl_sdr: Bad CPU type in executable


    /Applications/Gqrx.app/Contents/MacOS/Gqrx ; exit;
    -bash: /Applications/Gqrx.app/Contents/MacOS/Gqrx: Bad CPU type in executable

    Get Info says file type is Unix executable (Intel)

    Mac Mini running OSX 10.6.8

  17. I have a DVB-T Mini Dongle (http://dx.com/p/dvb-t-mini-digital-tv-usb-stick-dongle-with-remote-controller-black-108359) and am trying to get gqrx to work with it, but no joy. The Mac doesn’t even recognize that I’ve plugged it in, and when I run rtl_tcp, I get the message, “No supported devices found.”

    When I plugged it in to a PC that I have, it did recognize the dongle and it even found a driver for it. The PC thinks it’s a “Winfast DTV Dongle.”

    Any suggestions? Thanks, Dan

  18. This is an awesome port! Actually it’s even more than a port to get it to work natively with OS/X.
    I really appreciate this. I got myself a Nooelec TV28T for $21.00.. wow. First the local rock FM radio station.. then NOAA weather radio. next I was able to see the cell phone towers on the spectrum analyzer. Now I’m going to get a rf upconverter, LNA, and outdoor antenna. This is really cool!
    Thanks for hard work and effort you put into this.

  19. That combination works on my MacBook Pro Retina (2012) running Mountain Lion 10.8.4. There are definitely a few glitches with the app running on my Mac (such as saving a configuration) but considering it is easier to setup than on Windows with having to use Zadig, it is worth it. It works fine with both an E4000 and R820T based dongle.

  20. I just updated to version 8 from version 7 on my MacBook Pro running OS X 10.7.5. I had the same FFT resolution issue the previous poster had, but I also see nothing in the pandapter, even though everything appears to be running properly. I was just listening in on the local airport on AM on version 7, but version 8 has gone dead on me. I’m using rtl_tcp= Is there anything I can do?

      • Good afternoon, Elias. I appreciate all your hard work on this project and responding to posts.

        I attempted to launch gqrz V8 on my Macbook Pro, circa late 2012, Mountain Lion. While it was attempting to launch, the processor temp rose rapidly to just over 200 degrees F with the spinning beach ball. I had to force quit for fear the thing might overheat. Have you heard anyone else experience this? Thanks.

          • Very rapid response, my friend. I’ll plead some indefensible ignorance here:

            I downloaded the .dmg and launched.
            All that appears is the gprx app icon which I double-clicked. That’s when the trouble began.

            You refer to your “bundle” which I am apparently not seeing in this page nor in the download. I’m not seeing the command-line bundle to which you are referring. Sorry.

  21. I am using a Mackbook Air with OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion) and GQRX. It was working correctly but I had to reinstall operating system and now when I plug the dongle (R820T) OS X wont recognise the dongle is plugged in the USB port. What am I missing here?

    I tried passing the USB into vmware to use it with sdrsharp in windows, but the vmware does not recognise it either.

    Could anyone help me here, I am sure I am missing something obvious here but ….

  22. Thanks a lot for the port, works like a charm. But since I use my Raspberry Pi as the receiver and put a stream to my Macbook Pro Mountain Lion via a smaller DSL (less than 1 Mbit/s Upstream) via Internet I wanted to change the sample rate from 250000 to e.g. 96000. The rtl_tcp also shows this new sample rate but what I hear ist in slow motion. So probably there is a problem in changing sample rates or is there a different way to get lower rates?

    best regards and thanks for the port

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  24. What I’m running into is saving and loading configurations. It appears that the first time you save a configuration, it reverts back to 144.5MHz, narrow, etc (presumably the default.conf values). When I try to load a file, it warns me that Gqrx has detected problems with the current configuration.

    Other than that, it appears to be working fine for me.

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  29. Elias,
    I have a Macbook Pro with osx ver 1.6.8. I’m using NooElec NESDR Mini SDR & DVB-T USB Stick (R820T). This does have the RTL 2832U chip. I tried version 7 of GQRX but I’m still not able to get any signal. What are the settings that I need for configuring GQRX with this device?

    • Some additional info re: my problem. When I run rtl_test, it recognizes the device but it starts putting 0’s on the terminal page. Then it states:
      cb transfer status 1, cancelling
      Library error 0, exiting
      Segmentation fault
      Also, when I run rtl_tcp I get the following:
      usb_claim_interface error -3
      Failed to open rtlsdr device #0

      Any suggestions?

  30. When I run rtl_test, the dongle is recognized as ezcap USB 2.0 DVB-T/DAB/FM dongle with Rafael Micro R820T tuner. Then, it showed supported gain values. It also said “reading samples in async mode” Then, I saw it placing 0’s on the screen below the text. When it was done with that it said:
    cb transfer status: 1, canceling…
    Library error, 0, exiting…
    Segmentation fault

    When I run rtl_tcp, I get
    usb_claim_interface error -3
    Failed to open rtlsdr device #0

    Any suggestions? Thanks

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