Orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) with index modulation (OFDM-IM) technique has been recently proposed to provide performance improvements over conventional OFDM. OFDM-IM includes a different data transmission mechanism, where additional data bits are transmitted over subcarrier patterns by specifically activating selected subcarriers and nulling the others. However, such a mechanism inherently causes some inefficiency due to the inactive subcarriers. To improve the spectral efficiency of the OFDM-IM technique, dual-mode OFDM with index modulation (DM-OFDM) is proposed, where nulled subcarriers are activated by using a second signal constellation. With DM-OFDM, a significant data rate improvement can be obtained. As an important missing issue in the literature, OFDM-IM and its effective variations, such as DM-OFDM, have only been studied in terms of computer simulations and theoretical analysis. Therefore, their real-time performance is not yet investigated to assess their potential for next-generation networks. Addressing this gap, in this paper, OFDM-IM and DM-OFDM techniques are implemented in real-time by using software defined radio technology. National Instruments USRP-2921 nodes are used in a single-input single-output configuration. With this implementation, detailed real-time results and performance observations are provided. Moreover, a hybrid OFDM-IM (H-OFDM-IM) scheme, which can be seen as the combination of OFDM-IM and DM-OFDM, is proposed by targeting the limitations of both OFDM-IM and DM-OFDM in terms of spectral containment and error performance. With H-OFDM-IM, noticeable improvements in spectral containment and error performance can be obtained, and these observations show its suitability for real-time use and next-generation networks. With comprehensive computer simulation and test results, these claims are verified.