We are just working on a project aiming at investigating the use of the
Ettus USRP device concerning RFID sniffing. According to the manuals,
purchasing the LFTX and the RFTX devices should be suitable for being
to talk to 125kHz and 13,56Mhz RFID devices. What kind of antennas do
recommend for this purpose? Will simple loops of copper suffice?

Are there any tutorials or papers available which concentrate on using
Gnuradio in terms of RFID? I know that OpenPCD & Co might offer an
way to go, but as I want to learn about the stuff I decided to go the
difficult way.

Thanks for your help any kind of comment,
Fabian Steiner


there is a project for Gen2 RFID chips, they have a reader
implementation for the USRP1 and a monitoring tool to eavesdrop on
reader-tag communication for the USRP2:

There are also papers on the design posted there. They had to tinker
with the USB driver as well because of timing issues with the reader.

I think Gen2 is only ~868MHz, I don’t know if the code can be adapted to
13.56MHz stuff. And for a (duplex) reader you will need a URSP1 there,
because two 900-daughterboards are required. It may be possible out of
the box to build a reader for 13.56MHz with the USRP2, as you have two

For the protocol implementation, you can take a look at
it seems that they have some Gen1 support and you only have to implement
the physical layer in gnuradio.

We are currently thinking to start a RFID project as well, so I’m
interested what you find out.


Am 25.08.2010 um 16:38 schrieb [email protected]:


Thanks a lot Matthias for your answer!
I had a close look at the Gen2 stuff and it sounds rather promising
although they are working with UHF tags.

As far as my project is concerned I will start with some basic
the next days: First of all, I just want see whether the general system
works as expected (using,, etc.) when
a continuous sine wave at 13.56Mhz and receiving the subcarrier signal
afterwards. If this yields the expected results, I will let you know and
take care of the modulation & demodulation thing then.