Initial System Setup

Using Raspberry Pi Imager, set up a SD card with the current Raspberry Pi Bullseye 32-bit Desktop operating system. Steer clear of the “Lite” and “64-bit” versions…32-bit Desktop is what’s needed here. It’s recommended to set up system credentials and WiFi network (including country) ahead of time using the Advanced Options dialog (gear icon). Enable SSH if you’ll be logging in remotely over a network. Then write the card, move it to the Pi, and allow a minute or two for first boot.

Follow the 3.5" PiTFT guide to learn how to install and use the PiTFT (skip this part if using the official 7" Raspberry Pi Touch Display)…

  • You can disregard what it says about specific operating system versions, as we established above that this works with the current “Bullseye” release.
  • Download the installer script as shown there.
  • Scroll down to the “FBCP Install Commands” section (NOT the Console Mode install) and use the PiTFT 3.5" Resistive touchscreen setup command. After this runs, you’ll be prompted to reboot the system…that’s not strictly necessary yet, you can proceed with more installation below…but there’s no harm in rebooting here if you just want to test that the screen is working.
  • Skip ahead in the PiTFT guide to the “PiTFT PyGame Tips” page. Ignore the install steps, just scroll down to the “Running SDL 1.2” section and follow the steps there. This is required to make the PiTFT touchscreen work!

Finally plug in the RTL-SDR dongle to a USB port on the Raspberry Pi.  

That's it, your hardware is ready to go!


Before running the software you'll need to install a few depdendencies.  Make sure you're running the Raspbian operating system and it has been configured to work with the PiTFT as explained above.  You will also need to make sure the Pi has access to the internet through a wired or wireless networking connection.

Connect to a terminal on the Pi and execute the following commands to install the dependencies:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install git cmake build-essential python3-pip libusb-1.0-0-dev libsdl2-2.0-0 libatlas-base-dev librtlsdr0 pandoc
sudo pip3 install numpy pygame pyrtlsdr

Don't worry if you see warnings that certain packages are already installed, you can ignore those and move on.

At this point all the dependencies should be installed and you're ready to download and install the project software.


Installing the software for this project is as easy as downloading its Python source code.  At a terminal on the Pi run the following commands to download the source:

cd ~
git clone
cd FreqShow

If using the official 7" Raspberry Pi Touchscreen instead of a PiTFT, edit the file and comment out the following lines as shown (starting around line 73). Do NOT do this if using a PiTFT!

#os.putenv('SDL_VIDEODRIVER', 'fbcon')
#os.putenv('SDL_FBDEV'      , '/dev/fb1')
#os.putenv('SDL_MOUSEDRV'   , 'TSLIB')
#os.putenv('SDL_MOUSEDEV'   , '/dev/input/touchscreen')

That's it, at this point the software should be downloaded and ready to run!  Continue on to the next page to learn how to run the software.

This guide was first published on Oct 02, 2014. It was last updated on Jun 23, 2022.

This page (Installation) was last updated on Sep 30, 2014.

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