Today, I gave a talk about RDS/TMC with GNU Radio at FOSDEM’15. FOSDEM is a really fun annual meeting of Open Source developers in Brussels. Besides the main track with a very diverse spectrum of talks, there are so called Developer Rooms where people talk about a certain project or topic. Since 2014 Tom Rondeau, Philip Balister and Sylvain Munaut organize a Software Defined Radio Developer Room. This year I tried to advertise the GNU Radio RDS implementation a bit, hoping to motivate some people to experiment with it and maybe contribute some lines of code.

Following is the abstract of my talk:

First Steps in Receiving Digital Information with RDS/TMC

The Radio Data System (RDS) is a digital subcarrier on ordinary FM radio broadcasts that is used to convey a bunch of information including station name, time, alternate frequencies, and optionally traffic information with the Traffic Message Channel (TMC) protocol. Given its ubiquity, narrow bandwidth demands, and frequency band, RDS might be a good first digital project for SDR newcomers, extending the 'Hello World' of SDR, i.e., the FM receiver. RDS can be received with very cheap hardware like the RTL-SDR and simple antennas making the technology accessible for everybody.

In this talk, I will give a short introduction in RDS / TMC and present the current state of the GNU Radio RDS project. Besides the receiving part, we will also have a brief look in the transmit side that allows you to create your own small radio station including RDS and TMC messages. The information is hopefully just enough to whet your appetite and helps to get you started.

You can find the slides, a video recording, and further information on the website of the talk.

I really enjoyed FOSDEM and can just recommend going there. Make sure that you don’t miss the Friday beer event.