HackRF is an open source hardware project to build a Software Defined Radio (SDR) peripheral. Transmit or receive any radio signal from 30 MHz to 6000 MHz on USB power with HackRF. Michael Ossmann is launching the HackRF, an inordinately cheap, exceedingly capable software defined radio tool that’s small enough to lose in your laptop bag.

SDR is the application of Digital Signal Processing to radio waveforms. It is similar to the software-based digital audio techniques that became popular a couple of decades ago. Just as a sound card in a computer digitizes audio waveforms, a software radio peripheral digitizes radio waveforms. It’s like a very fast sound card with the speaker and microphone replaced by an antenna. A single software radio platform can be used to implement virtually any wireless technology (Bluetooth, ZigBee, cellular technologies, FM radio, etc.).


Eventually, the HackRF project may result in multiple hardware designs, but the initial goal is to build a single wideband transceiver peripheral that can be attached to a general purpose computer for software radio functions.

Primary goals:

  • half-duplex transceiver

  • operating freq: 100 MHz to 6 GHz

  • maximum sample rate: 20 Msps

  • resolution: 8 bits

  • interface: High Speed USB

  • power supply: USB bus power

  • portable

  • open source

Wish list:

  • full-duplex (at reduced max sample rate)

  • external clock reference

  • dithering

  • parallel interface for external FPGA, etc.

If there is a primary goal we miss, it will probably be the operating frequency range. The wideband front end is the part of the design furthest from completion. At an absolute minimum, the board should do 900 MHz and 2.4 GHz.

The design is FPGA-less. There will be a tiny bit of DSP capability (ARM Cortex-M4), but mostly we’re just trying to get samples to and from a host computer.

We are trading resolution and DSP capability for cost, portability, and frequency range. Considering that we’ll be able to support oversampling for many applications and that we should be able to implement AGC, it should be a pretty good trade.

If you would like to donate to the project kickstart is taking donations.