Running hackrf on MacOS

Today I decided to share few thoughts on running hackrf on Mac. There are some bits that might look scary to some folks so I'll try to shed some light. First the bad news - there is no natively compiled software that will work automagically for you so prepare for some packaging work. We are going to use brew. If you don't know what brew is check it out here:

It's a pretty easy to use software but you might have to workaround some problems.

File not found problems

Well, it happens. Files get misplaced and your build breaks. If that ever happens like it did in my case with numpy just do an edit and fix the URL:

brew edit numpy

The formula will look like that:

class Numpy < Formula homepage "" url "" sha256 "43b00f5d52b374a731444ba2724bfa1debdbc93312a1b9b28e99700498d169b6" head ""

Replace the URL and you should also generate a new sha256 if you don't have it. Use command such as this one:

shasum -a 256 numpy-1.10.0.tar.gz

Now that you are all set the formula should work.

Missing python modules

That might be a bit tricky to spot so if the brew build fails just do an edit on it to see what it does. See above for how to use edit. Now download the component that is not building and follow the formula to build it. That's how you should see where the problem is. In my case I was missing python module cheetah. I installed it with pip:

pip install cheetah

In the end I did this:

brew install gqrx

That's how I got:


And that's all. I'm about to run hackrf so I'll just connect the hardware to my Mac using the provided USB cable. I will check that it is recognized by the system using this command:

Kalins-Air:build kalin$ hackrf_info Found HackRF board 0:
Board ID Number: 2 (HackRF One)
Firmware Version: 2014.08.1
Part ID Number: 0xa000cb3c 0x0067435a
Serial Number: 0x00000000 0x00000000 0x406464c8 0x2387574b
Kalins-Air:build kalin$

You can see the board here with its ID, FW version, part and serial numbers.

Let's roll and start-up the hackrf already!

To keep it simple for now just go to the folder of the Gqrx that you installed and start the app there. In my case that is:


You should see something like that:

Happy listening :)


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