We investigate, design, and develop a prototype real-time synchronous receiver for the second-generation quantum communicator recently developed at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center. This communication system exploits the temporal coincidences between simultaneously fired low-power laser sources to communicate at power levels several orders of magnitude less than what is currently achievable through classical means, with the ultimate goal of creating ultra-low-power microsize optical communications and sensing devices. The proposed receiver uses a unique adaptation of the early-late gate method for symbol synchronization and a newly identified 31-bit synchronization word for frame synchronization. This receiver, implemented in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA), also provides a number of significant additional features over the existing non-real-time experimental receiver, such as real-time bit error rate (BER) statistics collection and display, and recovery and display of embedded textual information. It also exhibits an indefinite run time and statistics collection.