I have a need for a quick and dirty UHF RFID reader. I'm very green when it comes to electronics and have a couple questions:

  1. Has someone already done (documented) this?
  2. Can a UHF antenna be connected to a Pi via a coax to USB adapter (or perhaps some other way)?

Ideally, I'd be able to connect an antenna directly to the Pi and then write a bit of code to log any hits the antenna captures. Can it even be as simple as this?

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3 Answers 3


Simple answer: no. It's not that simple.

You need an UHF RDIF reader, which is quite pricey. They can be found for +- $180, en then you still need a separate antenna, which can be about $100 for a 8dBi version if you really need 1m+ range. If 50cm is ok, a $8 5dBi antenna will do.

I'm myself looking for a UHF RFID sollution for the Raspberry pi, and I found some info here: http://changelog.complete.org/archives/7589-a-linux-based-rfid-thing-finder


I got some RFID stuff from CoolComponents a while back. RFID USB Reader, RFID-ID-? and some tags. It uses the FTDI chip to interface with USB, so there should be no problem using it with the RPi. I haven't tried it though. You can then use your fave read from serial method to get the data.

  • What is RFID-ID-?? And you're saying the reader is a separate component? My question is if the Pi could be the reader itself.
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 5, 2012 at 15:06

Can RPi be used as an RFID reader with the addition of only an antenna? No. At a minimum, you would require a transceiver capable of operating at the correct UHF frequencies and which can be modulated by the audio output of the RPi and which provides demodulated audio which can be fed to RPi's audio input. Then you'd need software to drive the audio output port to modulate the transceiver to produce an interrogation signal and to decode the received, demodulated signal from the RFID chips via the audio in port. All beyond the scope of your project, I suspect. Search for "USB RFID writer-reader" or some variant thereof and you'll find USB dongles that I suspect will serve your purpose, for around €30-40 or US$40-50.

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