Measuring Channel Frequency Response with GNU Radio, USRP N310, and Python

What will you learn?

In this tutorial, you will delve into the realm of measuring channel frequency responses using GNU Radio in conjunction with a USRP N310 device. By harnessing Python for visualization, you will uncover the intricate details of signal behavior across different transmission mediums.

Introduction to Problem and Solution

Unraveling the mysteries of channel frequency responses is essential for comprehending how signals evolve as they traverse through mediums like air or cables. This tutorial equips you with the prowess of GNU Radio to construct a robust signal processing flowgraph and leverages the USRP N310 hardware for transmitting and receiving radio signals.

By crafting a tailored flowgraph in GNU Radio that propels known signals through the channel via the USRP N310, we can capture these transmitted signals post their journey through the ‘channel’. Through a comparative analysis between transmitted and received signals, we can derive the channel’s frequency response.

The final phase involves migrating this data to Python, where libraries such as NumPy and Matplotlib come into play. These tools aid in processing the information further and visually representing our findings. This visualization offers profound insights into how our signal undergoes transformations during its interaction with the channel.


# Ensure numpy and matplotlib are installed.
# Use: pip install numpy matplotlib

import numpy as np
import matplotlib.pyplot as plt

def load_channel_measurement_data():
    # Placeholder function for loading data from GNU Radio/USRP operations.
    return np.random.randn(1024), np.linspace(-0.5e6, 0.5e6, 1024)  # Example data

def plot_frequency_response(frequencies_hz, frequency_response):
    plt.plot(frequencies_hz / 1e6, 20 * np.log10(abs(frequency_response)), label="Channel Frequency Response")
    plt.xlabel("Frequency (MHz)")
    plt.ylabel("Magnitude (dB)")
    plt.title("Channel Frequency Response Measurement")

if __name__ == "__main__":
    frequency_response_data,frequencies = load_channel_measurement_data()

     # Assuming `frequency_response_data` holds complex values representing magnitude & phase of each freq component,
     # And `frequencies` contains corresponding frequencies in Hz


# Copyright PHD


This code snippet illustrates a framework for visualizing channel frequency responses post-measurement: – Loading Data: Import necessary libraries (numpy, matplotlib). The function load_channel_measurement_data() serves as a placeholder for fetching real measurement data�comprising magnitudes (as complex numbers) of received signals across diverse frequencies alongside their respective Hertz values. – Plotting: The crux lies in plot_frequency_response(), which scales frequencies to MHz for clarity while plotting magnitude responses in decibels. This practice eases identification of variations over broad ranges.

  1. How do I install GNU Radio?

  2. GNU Radio installation varies based on platforms; Linux users can opt for package managers (sudo apt-get install gnuradio), while other platforms offer binaries/installers downloadable from

  3. What is USRP N310?

  4. The Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) N310 stands as a high-performance SDR platform catering to swift wireless communication system development.

  5. How do I connect my USRP N310 to my computer?

  6. Typically, an Ethernet link facilitates connectivity between your PC/Laptop and USRP devices; ensure proper network configurations are set up.

  7. Can I use another SDR instead of USRP N310?

  8. Indeed! While specifics may slightly differ concerning capabilities like bandwidth or supported frequencies, most SDRs capable of transmission/reception should function analogously within this context.

  9. How do I generate test signals in GNU Radio?

  10. Leverage built-in source blocks such as Signal Source or Noise Source within GNURadio Companion (GRC) interface tailored towards generating desired test patterns/signals.

  11. Why measure channel frequency response?

  12. Analyzing how channels influence transmitted signals aids in optimizing communication systems’ performance by identifying issues like fading or interference zones across operational bands.


The amalgamation of software-defined radio technology with potent digital processing tools available within Python’s ecosystem unveils profound insights into wireless communications’ physical layers. Exploring phenomena such as measuring and analyzing channels’ characteristics showcases modern engineering approaches’ versatility and flexibility�catering to enthusiasts and professionals alike seeking simplified solutions for traditionally intricate tasks.

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