By on September 14, 2016

Come out to Unallocated Space Tuesday, September 20th, 2016 at 7pm to 10pm for an introduction to radio frequency (RF) signal analysis. This 4 week class will cover locating, identifying, demodulating, and decoding common RF signal types.

Update: If you plan on attending the course, please take this survey:

Update: Please have everything set up ahead of time. Priority seating will be given to those with all the hardware and software install. Please try to arrive early. After the class ends in mid-October, please look out for another blog post with the course material.

Update: Thank You To Our  Signal Analysis Sponsors

Unallocated Space is proud to announce that the Intro to Signal Analysis Class and Capture The Flag (CTF) has received donations from some awesome companies. The generous donations from these companies will be used as prizes and to support the operation of the Signals CTF. A special thanks goes out to the following sponsors:

Thank you for the donation of two Airspy R2 devices and a Spyverter for CTF Prizes

RGS Specialists

RGS Specialists

Thank you for the cash donation for materials to run the CTF



Thank you for the donation of two TCXO improved V3 RTL-SDR dongles


Week 1: We will make sure everybody’s system is working. We will decode some basic signals just for test purposes. If you are sure your Linux system is working with the tools mentioned below you can skip this session.

Week 2: We will cover the various modulation types and digital encoding schemes. This will include learning to listen for digital signals, and visually identify them on the waterfall.

Week 3: We will practice decoding several different types of signals. We will also touch on how to use the GNU Radio Companion.

The 4th week, October 11th, will be a wireless capture the flag (CTF). You will use your newly learned skills to earn points. I encourage everyone to participate, even if you did not take the class, or if you took the class back in April.

Please bring the following hardware items:

  • An SDR capable of receiving between 50MHz and 1GHz (almost all RTL-SDRs cover this range, and any of the more expensive SDRs will cover this range as well, except for the BladeRF)
  • An omni-directional antenna
  • “Aux cable” (3.5mm “headphone” connector on both ends)
  • A fairly powerful laptop or desktop (At least 2 cores clocked over 2GHz, 4GB RAM) Sorry, that old laptop you got for $50 at the hamfest won’t cut it.

Please have the following software installed BEFORE class:

  • Your favorite Linux distro on a dedicated partition. NO virtual machines! Linux beginners, please install Ubuntu.
  • Any drivers necessary to run your SDR
  • GNU Radio
  • GQRX
  • fldigi
  • pulse audio volume control

There are resources for how to install all of the above software online. Please have it installed before class, the network cannot handle everyone downloading that stuff at once.

21 comments on “Introduction to Signal Analysis

  1. Hello,

    Very exciting, couple of questions. How much is the course, do I need to be a member, and is it safe to assume all the classes will be on Tuesday at the same time? I only see dates for the first and fourth week. Thanks!

    1. The course is free, but donations are encouraged to help cover overhead! You do not need to be a member. All four classes are on Tuesday from 7 to 10 pm

  2. Very interested but can’t attend! (I’m in Italy…)
    Can I have some material (scripts, charts, docs, …) for/from week 2?
    btw What about a webinar for the next time?

    1. I will email you some of the documentation after the event. Perhaps there is a community like Unallocated Space in Italy you can join!

      1. I’d also be interested in the material as I’m too far away for the class, but interested in setting up something similar


      2. Please include me for the documentation also.
        Any chance of doing a video of the sessions for those that can’t attend (I’m overseas too)

  3. I have registered in your survey, but i thought that Unallocated Space it is class in not real place but like webinar and after some time of checking your site, i see, that it is a specified place in USA and I cannot attend this classroom.
    Possible you can share this class via Internet? It would be great if anyone can connect to this class, or share it after class will be finished via youtube.
    I wish you have a great seminar

  4. Hi Corey,
    Just bumped on this course today. As Giovanni I’m very far away (unhappily for me) from you (Spain) guys. Would it be possible to get some info/manuals/video/whatsoever from your training ?. I would really appreciate it.

  5. Just completed the survey 9/8 @ 21:30 EST. How can I determine if I’ve been accepted for each week?

    Very interesting course.

  6. I am interested in learning more about SDRs and their applications before I decide what to buy. Is it okay to sit in on the classes and just watch and listen?

    1. Mike,
      It’s perfectly ok to sit in on the class. I am expecting a large turnout however. Since seats are limited, I am going to ask that space be reserved for people with a complete setup.

  7. Planning on a few of us carpooling from Northern VA for the classes / workshops. Want to make sure there is no chance of getting turned away after fighting the traffic. Looking forward to the classes and Practicals.

    1. I recommend making sure that everyone in the group has all the hardware and software ready to go. Priority for the seats will go to those with everything set up. Also, try to get there early, maybe around 6:30

  8. Just stumbled upon this via and would love to atend but I live in Canada, would love to see videos and info, I do have a sdr but with my android tablet and want to learn how to use it properly.

  9. Corey,

    Perhaps this could be rolled into a Udemy course and you could charge a nominal fee that could be used to fund the space. I have been toying with the idea of using Udemy to make a couple of courses. Thoughts?

    -Gary KC3BBQ

    1. I am not sure how that would work with UAS’s policies. We have always given free classes, but have never put any classes online. It might be a discussion for the next board meeting

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