Questions on firing up BladeRF and YateBTS

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goodboytower
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:32 pm

Questions on firing up BladeRF and YateBTS

Post by goodboytower » Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:44 pm

Hello! I just got a BladeRF for a class project for use with my Raspberry Pi. I want to ethically broadcast as a BTS to make a call from my phone to my partner's phone (and nobody else, nor use it as an IMSI catcher). I'm in America and going to use Band 8 900MHZ so I don't trip over actual American phone frequencies.

My questions are these: Does anyone have a comparison on the ease of use and documentation between yateBTS and OpenBTS? I'm using yate right now but having a few problems with it.

Does anyone have an explanation of the LEDs on the BladeRF? I can't find any documentation besides that when the 2nd LED is blinking, BladeRF is initialized.

Finally, when I run yate -s, it hangs up on the "Yate engine is initialized and starting up on raspberrypi". It doesn't freeze or crash, it just stops until I Ctrl+C out of it. I'm assuming RTNETLINK has something to do with it since that's what comes next on all the documentation I've read. Any ideas on what's going wrong with it?

My BladeRF version is 1.4.0, libbladerf is 1.7.2-0, firmware is 2.2.0 and fpga is 0.6.0. I'm also using the SubversiveBTS install from github.

Thanks in advance for any tips or guidance!

bglod
Posts: 179
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:10 pm

Re: Questions on firing up BladeRF and YateBTS

Post by bglod » Mon Oct 29, 2018 12:20 pm

Glad to hear you will be using this software responsibly :) I don't have any personal experience with OpenBTS or YateBTS, but I have heard that YateBTS has better out-of-box support for bladeRF x40/x115 devices. Note that YateBTS requires a specific FPGA version. Take a look at the EvilSocket guide on getting YateBTS running -- it lists the "known working" versions of everything. YateBTS is working on a large overhaul that, when released, will use our libbladeRF API so this requirement will eventually go away.

For the LEDs, take a look at the HDL and schematic to see how the LEDs are connected. The over/underflow LEDs are normally "on" (no over/underflows). When they turn off, an over/underflow has occurred (bad) and you may need to reduce sample rates, especially if operating in USB 2.0 or with a slow host processor. Unfortunately, there was a mistake in the the bladeRF x40 and x115 layout in which LED1 and LED2 are in the wrong order .. so just something to be aware of when looking at the LEDs. (This could be fixed in the HDL, but it hasn't officially been done, I assume, because it would cause mismatch/confusion between the schematic and HDL).
Electrical Engineer
Nuand, LLC.

goodboytower
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:32 pm

Re: Questions on firing up BladeRF and YateBTS

Post by goodboytower » Tue Oct 30, 2018 7:14 pm

Thanks for the tips! They're greatly appreciated.

I changed the firmware and FPGA to the specific versions listed in the EvilSocket guide, but I'm still not getting anything past the "Yate engine is initialized...".

At this point I'm suspecting I missed something silly, like putting certain folders in the wrong place. Is there any advice you have for dumb/simple mistakes for installing and configuring the BladeRF on a RaspberryPi? I run bladeRF-cli -i and get solid lights on TX/RX and blinking in the middle, so I don't suspect anything wrong there, at least.

bglod
Posts: 179
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:10 pm

Re: Questions on firing up BladeRF and YateBTS

Post by bglod » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:40 am

When you start YateBTS, try increasing the verbosity by adding -v, -vv, or -vvv (increasing levels of verbosity) and see if it gives you better granularity on where it's hanging up.

The bladeRF wiki has an entry on getting YateBTS working in general, maybe you can look through the steps there to see if there's anything you missed by chance? It hasn't been updated in a while and it may not work, but it might have some helpful information.

https://github.com/Nuand/bladeRF/wiki/S ... he-bladeRF

The only other thing I can suggest is to ask the YateBTS folks through one of their support channels. :(
Electrical Engineer
Nuand, LLC.

goodboytower
Posts: 6
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 4:32 pm

Re: Questions on firing up BladeRF and YateBTS

Post by goodboytower » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:29 pm

Thank you! Okay, final questions. In my original topic post I mentioned using Band 8 in order to not use real American frequencies inside America, is this the correct and ethical way of using the BladeRF or are there additional steps I should take? Any specific EARFCN numbers that you recommend?

Also, if I use a min/max attenuation power of 40, how far is that going to broadcast?

After researching sample rates, I'm still having some trouble understanding it. What is the purpose of it and what's your recommendation on its settings when I only want to broadcast inside of a single room from two phones I own?

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