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PortableSDR

Fully stand-alone HF (Shortwave) Software Defined Transceiver & Vector Network Analyzer. Designed for rugged portable use. Highly hackable.

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This project was created on 06/20/2014 and last updated 6 days ago.

Description
The PSDR is a completely stand-alone (no computer needed), compact, Portable Software Defined Transceiver (hence the name, sorta). Originally designed for backpacking use by Ham Radio operators. It includes complete coverage up to about 30Mhz (plus 144Mhz), it has a 168Mhz ARM processor, color display, and an innovative interface.

Vector Network Analysis (which includes antenna analysis) and GPS functions are included.

The entire design is Open Source. The electronics are designed and laid out to be easy to understand and tinker with. In addition to source code, schematics, board layout and parts lists, articles and videos describing the theory of the design are being created.
Details

Semifinals Video:

The original video had some missing audio, this one has it corrected. For posterity, here is the link to the first video posted:

http://youtu.be/GRwAQqBgGAY


Old Project Overview View:

System Design Document / Block Diagram:

Click here for a PDF.

Source code and Design Files: All files (including the above diagram) are available on GitHub at https://github.com/MichaelRColton/PSDR

License Information: The project code is still very much in development. It currently uses the Adafruit GFX and ILI9340 libraries (both being adapted for this application) and is likely to use other libraries in the future. I will comply with any licenses for libraries I include, and plan to license the project itself under a permissive license (like MIT) or a copyleft license like GPL. I would very much appreciate suggests on this.

About the PSDR1: There were a lot of subcircuits that I had never tested for this project (and were hard to breadboard at the frequencies and sizes involved) so I built the PSDR1 board you see here to demonstrate all those parts. I left off the easy stuff (like a battery charger, the whole GPS sub system) and a few of the more advanced parts (like the RF switching, and phase and amplitude measurement IC) Also, while the LCD module was expedient, the next version will have it integrated directly.

Components
  • 1 × STM32F429 Microcontroller U21 - Digikey part number: 497-14052-ND
  • 1 × AD8302 Magnitude/Phase Detector U23 - Digikey part number: AD8302ARUZ-ND
  • 2 × AD9834 DDS Frequency Synthesizers U1, 8 - Digikey part number: AD9834CRUZ-ND
  • 1 × QVGA LCD ILI9340/ILI9341 LCD - Search ebay for "2.2 (ILI9340, ILI9341)"
  • 1 × GP39-1513 GPS Reciever U4 - http://www.adh-tech.com.tw/?36,gp39-1513
  • 2 × AT42QT1010 Capacitive Touch Sensors U19, 20 - Digikey part number: AT42QT1011-TSHRCT-ND
  • 30 × Other ICs and Semiconductors See Bill of Materials for details
  • 97 × Surface Mount Resistors See Bill of Materials for details
  • 174 × Surface Mount Capacitors See Bill of Materials for details (Do you see why I didn't want to list them all here?)
  • 23 × Connectors, Inductors and Other Parts See Bill of Materials for details

See all components

Project logs
  • Plastic's Fantastic, But Metal is Better

    6 days ago • 4 comments


    Hi everyone!

    I spent the last few days modifying the design of the case to simplify it (7 screws instead of 21, for example) and to make it millable. I had some great help from my friend Jacob, thanks Jacob! He also suggested a countersunk front cover and I think it's going to look awesome! I spent pretty much all of Saturday at work, generating toolpaths and "borrowing" the milling machine. I made a few mistakes, learned a bunch of stuff. It was pretty fun! I'm getting better! I'm probably going to sandblast it when it's done (you can see I need to hand finish a little bit, particular around the paddle area.) so it will have a soft, frosted look. At least for now. I might paint it after that. We'll see.

    I also want to share some small miracles. Those of you who are offended and/or not interested in religious things can skip the rest. Read more »

  • We need more RFs!

    9 days ago • 1 comment

    Hi everyone!

    Let me first say how blown away, honored, and delighted I am to be included in the final round of judging! The enthusiastic responses I've gotten from everyone have helped keep me motivated through the long hours of design and programming (honestly, this would have been a year long project or more otherwise). Thanks to everyone for your support! I've loved reading everyone's comments here on my project blog, on the final-five announcement page, youtube, and reddit.

    Now then! Where were we. It seems like many people have been anxious to see transmit support working. I realized that some of the other features I'm excited about, like the Vector Network Analyzer, require the PSDR to generate signals, and of course, I want to see if I can talk to people with it! So, as you saw in the last video, I got transmit support started, but I was a little disappointed that the power output was so low (I mean, I knew it would be low but...)

    So, I decided to try my hand at putting together an amplifier to go in the PSDR2's amp board socket (those five holes in the upper left), and this is the result. PCBs should get here next week, hopefully in time for the final judging. If it works the way I think it will, it should get us somewhere close to 100-200mW. Still not a lot, but enough to get a signal out, and maybe drive another amplification stage in the future.

    It was fun to design. I'm trying some weird stuff here, for example, the two MMIC amplifiers are biased like a diode or transistor (well, that's what they are), where current is more important than voltage. Also, they like to be driven around 5-6v. So I needed a boost converter, ideally with a constant current output. Well. they make LED drivers that do exactly that. So that's what will be powering this little amp.

    I'm actually not totally confident it will work on the first try, but it will be a learning experience either way.

  • Transmit, Audio, Graphics, Oh my!

    13 days ago • 0 comments

    Sorry for the absence of posts! Time flies, but I am still working hard!

    I've made some rather nice improvements to the audio code. I've greatly sped up the graphics drawing code, which means everything runs faster and the radio feels more usable in general. And I've added the ability to transmit (very weakly, but still)

    The capacitive touch sensors work, and the GPS code is coming along.

    Still lots to do!

    I forgot to mention it in the video, but I took the PSDR to the swapmeet, set up a table, and showed if off. It seemed to be well received (get it?). Met some very nice folks and scored an amazing deal on that Kenwood radio (it was a gamble though, I honestly wasn't expecting it to even turn on without work).

    It's my understanding that the final 5 will be announced today! Wish me luck!

View all 20 project logs

Discussions

Shane wrote 2 hours ago null point

I may be way off here, but I would love to see something like this with a 1 to 5 watt output, and something like a docking station at home. This docking station would really be little more than a linear amplifier, desk mic, and tuner, but... well, yeah. No matter how this competition thing goes, please don't let this project die on the vine. This is great, and I know I can't wait to get one in complete or kit form. Build, buy, borrow, whatever. This is a must have.
73,
Shane
KG5DVC

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Chrisz wrote 3 hours ago null point

Very very interesting project! I'm looking forward to visiting the HackadayMunich and cross my fingers for the competition.

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GuW wrote 16 hours ago null point

I'm signing up only to follow this project, I also want to sign up for one :D
Keep up the good work 73 de SM2VJX

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sm6eqo wrote 3 days ago null point

Great project! Just what I have been looking for!
Please do a kit.

SM6EQO

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Apek wrote 4 days ago null point

Please do a kit - at least a partial with the PCB and hard to source parts
73
VA7ARI

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pedrocalixto80 wrote 6 days ago null point

What transistors are you going to use on the RF board ???
Great project and whaiting for the release of a kit !!!
73 from Portugal
Pedro Almeida
CT5JZX

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Michael R Colton wrote 6 days ago null point

This is the specific part I am using. Amplifier design is still something I'm learning, so I don't know how well it will work. Also, I'm going to need more power after these.

http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/HMC482ST89E/1127-1421-1-ND/3984978

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pedrocalixto80 wrote 5 days ago null point

Take a peak ;-)
http://www.phonestack.com/farhan/jbot.html

"In this design, the attempt is to apply these principles to higher power output from the 2N2218 variety of transistors to get 5 watts of clean, stable and linear output from a 1milliwatt signal."

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Michael R Colton wrote 5 days ago null point

Very interesting! I may have to build one. The trick is going to be how small can I make it. I don't have a lot of room. Thanks for the link!

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pedrocalixto80 wrote 5 days ago null point

Give me the dimensions in milimeters you have and maybe i can help you on something.
Here is my mail ct5jzx@nra.pt

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pedrocalixto80 wrote 8 hours ago null point

Here is a project from the same builder this one is multiband but because of the complexity it will bee bether to make external like a companion for an extra boost.
www.hfsignals.org/index.php/RF386

73

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skrankesvin wrote 8 days ago null point

Great project :)
About making kits: Maybe it would be an idea to make kits with the difficult
parts (the ones requiring hot air soldering) Pre-Soldered, and people could do
the rest themselves. I would certainly buy that - Then again, I would probably
buy a hot air station just to build this project....

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Michael R Colton wrote 6 days ago null point

That had occurred to me as well. I wish there was a poll feature on here, I'd like to get a clearer picture of what people are interested in. Maybe I'll start collecting addresses... If I do a kickstarter, I could just make a few reward levels and let it sort itself out that way. We'll see! I'll keep everyone updated here.

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k2ki wrote 6 days ago null point

Congrats on becoming one of the top finalists!
This is an amazing device you have built. i am an avid SDR and QRP operator.
I would be very interested in owning one of these devices!

73...
Bob de k2ki

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DainBramage1991 wrote 5 days ago null point

Certainly you've drummed up some interest here on your project! Nonetheless, a poll feature would be a welcome addition to the site.
By the way, I took a photos of your PortableSDR to my last ham club meeting, and there were quite a few people interested in it. You've got an awesome thing going, and I hope you are successful.

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Michael R Colton wrote 5 days ago null point

Awesome! That's great to hear! Its interesting to think that this thing I wanted to build for myself was something so many other people would also be interested in!

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DainBramage1991 wrote 4 days ago null point

You've struck upon a niche that no one else is covering. Who knows, maybe in 20 years we'll all have Colton transceivers next to our Yaesus and Ten-Tecs.

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Jabí wrote 8 days ago null point

I am be very interesed in your futurs kits or assembleds modules ¡¡
Congratulationes from EA.
73,s de Jabi, ea2aru.

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Michael R Colton wrote 8 days ago null point

Hi! Thanks for your interest! I will post more information here about kits or assembled units when I have it. Please see my reply to Adam, below, for some more information.

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Jabí wrote 8 days ago null point

I am be very ineteresed in your futurs kits or assembleds modules ¡¡
Congratulationes from EA.
73,s de Jabi, ea2aru.

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Jabí wrote 8 days ago null point

I am be very interesed in your futurs kits or assembleds modules ¡¡
Congratulationes from EA.
73,s de Jabi, ea2aru.

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Adam wrote 8 days ago null point

You replied to a comment below that you plan to sell the PSDR in some capacity. Do you have a time frame on this? I'm getting my Technician Class license soon, and would love one of these.

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Michael R Colton wrote 8 days ago null point

Not sure yet. If people are interested in the PSDR2 as it is currently designed, and are interested in doing some of the assembly themselves, I could start doing them right now. If you are interested in fully assembled units, or are interested in waiting for a later version, then... I'm not sure when. The problem is that they take me hours to assemble myself, so long that the cost would be prohibitive, but mass production requires a minimum order of, say, 100 units, so maybe $30,000. If I win the Hackaday prize, that might be an option, or I may do a kickstarter for it.

Consider studying up for your General, this radio will be more fun if you have good access to the HF bands! Good luck (or congratulations) on your Technician!

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Adam wrote 6 days ago null point

Thanks!
If you're making a list, I would be interested in assembling one myself, either this version or a future one.

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Mike Ashcraft wrote 12 days ago null point

Looks good what kind of power output are we talking about for TX?

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Michael R Colton wrote 9 days ago null point

Currently something like 10mW, I just finished an amp board that should get us somewhere closer to 100-200mW, wont know for about a week. The plan, eventually, is to have at least 1 Watt, ideally more like 5.

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

Thanks to everyone for your kind words, encouragement, and enthusiasm! I'm super excited to have made it this far! I really appreciate everyone's support! I'm going to do my best to keep pushing hard. Wish me luck!

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j0z0r pwn4tr0n wrote 12 days ago null point

Congratulations on making it to the final round of judging. I love what you have done and have thoroughly enjoyed watching the progression of this project. The finals look to be packed with good projects, here's to hoping that you get the chance to see this planet from orbit!!!

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antennas wrote 12 days ago null point

Yes what a fantastic project. I would love to build this. What is the cost of
all the parts? If it's here I missed it. I Just went to Digikey for the AD8302ARUZ-ND...WOW $30 for that 1 chip?? Is that right?
VE1FX

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

I think the total cost for parts is about $200, and assembly is not super easy (though it is doable, all of my boards have been hand soldered, by me) Yeah, the AD8302 is the most expensive chip on the board, more than the amazing STM32F4. But that chip is what makes the VNA functions possible. It also seems to be available for much cheaper on ebay, but..... that's not necessarily a good place to buy good parts.

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R3dmous3 wrote 12 days ago null point

Is it possible to run it with other bands?

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

It is designed to cover 0-30~MHz, with an optional mixer for 144MHz (that I haven't designed yet) I have done most of my testing on 40m (7MHz) because that's what my antenna is designed for.

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Colin Vallance wrote 12 days ago null point

This is some really exciting stuff! I have you agree with you, nobody is commercially making anything like this yet and it's also the radio *I* want. Keep up the great work and I know I'll be eagerly following.

73s,
KC8DHY

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DainBramage1991 wrote 12 days ago null point

Congratulations on being one of the five finalists!!!

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SkinnyMac wrote 12 days ago null point

I mess with micro controllers enough to get what's going on here but I'm years away from being able to build one of these. The ham inside me is dying for somebody to offer these for sale. "Shut up and take my money!"

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Fer Jackson wrote 12 days ago null point

As noted before, PortableSDR is one of the five finalist projects! Congrats!

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Luca wrote 24 days ago null point

I am considering your project Michael, very interesting. I am a radio amateur and I like the idea to integrate in a little portable rig an antenna analyzer to help setting up a non casual antennas even with on field random elements.
I like your engineering too.
Might you tell me the development software you use for STM32, in case I want to try the recompilation of your source code ?
Congrats again,
Luca

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

Hi Luca! Thanks for your interest in my little project! I designed the radio I wanted to have, it's cool that other people seem to feel the same way.

I am using Eclipse with the GNU Arm plugin. OpenOCD connects to an ST Link V2 for debugging. I need to make a video on how to set all that up. I'm no expert at it, though, I'm sure other people would do a better job explaining than I would.

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/dev/thrash wrote a month ago null point

Really cool project and nice work Michael!
I like the idea of having a portable emergency comms device that can also automatically transmit your location!

Cheers,
Elia

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

Thanks Thrash!

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Fer Jackson wrote a month ago null point

Congrats on the v2 board being released :D Do you have plans for a release of these boards for testing?

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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

Thanks! If you mean, do I plan to give away extra PCBs, then, yes (though I am not yet sure how many I'll get). If you mean, do I plan to make kits, or fully assembled units to sell, then yes.

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Andrew wrote a month ago null point

Hello, I am an amateur radio operator in the United States, and I was wondering if I could obtain one of your kits (or finished radios). In a couple of months, I will be on a humanitarian trip providing communications to a medical team, and I have been looking for a radio. It would love to try one of your systems, if that is possible.

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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

I have a lot of respect for people that volunteer their time to help others. Also, I imagine it's pretty exciting to do something like that. It certainly sounds like a good opportunity to field test a PSDR! Keep an eye on things here, if I have something ready in time, I'll help make it happen. I would hope, however, that the PSDR would be a backup to some more powerful, and proven radio?

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Benny wrote a month ago null point

I am ham radio operator from Israel, your work is marvelous, I do suggest that you go commercial with this - I am sure they will sell quite well, and give you nice profit.
I will be interested in buying pcb, kit or fully assembled one when available - Best 73 and good luck from the Holy Land

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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

Thanks! It is my intention to sell PSDRs in some form when they are far enough along (the PSDR2 may be, we'll see) I may sell PCBs, kits, or assembled units, like you said. I am looking into how much it would be to get them manufactured now.

Thanks again! I'd love to visit Israel someday!

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Darren wrote 2 months ago null point

In the readme it says that the sch and pcb files are for mentor pads. I downloaded their free viewer but it will not open the file. Any chance of posting files that viewed in Eagle or KiCad?

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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

What happens when you try to open the files?

I installed the PADS viewer on a second computer and was able to open both the schematic and the PCB layout file (though the viewers are not intuitive unless you've actually used PADS.) I'll make an updated PDF of the schematic at least, and the gerbers (including PNGs of the boards) are available.

Unfortunately, Eagle/KiCad is not going to happen any time soon. I am most proficient in PADS and there are some things it can do that Eagle can't (though I do like Eagle) not sure about KiCad, I don't have any experience with it. Anyway, converting would not be a good use of my time right now. Does anyone know if either program can import PADS files?

If there is enough demand, I might look into changing it over. I realize PADS is not ideal for many people here.

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Jean-Pierre wrote 2 months ago null point

Hello, I am a french amateur radio and would be much interested to build a PSDR transceiver. I am on the line to get circuit boards when they will be available. Congratulations and "Bravo" for your work.
Jean-Pierre F6AXC

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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

Thank you so much! I'm glad to know people are excited about my work. I may have extra PSDR2 boards soon, let me know if you want one, or if you were interested in waiting for a kit/assembled version.

My dad spends a lot of time near Tours (but I almost never get to go), where in France are you located?

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Jean-Pierre wrote a month ago null point

Hello Michael. I was born in Nantes (around 200 km from Tours the country of "Châteaux de la Loire". Now I'm lving in east of France. I'm interested in waiting a kit or assembled version. Thank you very much for your kind message.
Jean-Pierre F6AXC

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Reginald Beardsley wrote 2 months ago null point

"how do I build an arbitrary filter for FFT convolution with a known kernel length?"

Can you be a bit more specific about what you're trying to do? Zero phase is trivial, but it gets a bit harder if you require a causal filter. I'm a reflection seismic guy. We generally want a zero phase signal. So I've always been doing things the easy way. But I ought to be able to remember how to do whatever you want.

BTW I'm very interested in antialias filters for the STM32 ADC inputs. 1.8 MHz low pass seems pretty hard to find as COTS. I'm trying to avoid the problem of aligning high order filters w/o having test gear.

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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

Hi there, sorry for the late reply. I started to write a more detailed explanation of what I am doing, and what I am trying to do, but it started to get pretty unwieldy. I think I might make a video about it (in my ample spare time)

The short version is that I want to make a bandpass filter of any shape (really all I care about is the upper and lower cutoffs, though it would be nice to emphasize some frequencies over others as well) then run my samples through it (via FFT convolution) and get what I want out of the other side. I have that working, but I think the way I am constructing the filter is introducing effects that are extending past my padding and adding noise to the sample. I have set my oscilloscope to trigger at the begging/end of a sample block and there are discontinuities.

As for the anti-aliasing filters, I am just following some cookbook stuff to make low pass filters that cutoff before I hit the Nyquist frequency. I really don't know yet how well they'll work, but it would be hard for them to be worse than no filters, like the PSDR1 has.

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bibilukaa wrote 2 months ago null point

Thanks for info.
I will check local possibility for making PCB, and minimal quantity first. I will find solution.
I camming from metal industry (design of blades/vanes for compressors) unfortunately HI.
So, ham radio, homebrewing is my hoby and i really enjoy in it...
SMD kits or homebrew project with that small parts is no problem, but any programing i am not able to do.
Regarding extra knobs/buttons you are actually right.
Few additional knobs will increase tha size, but that is not the point of the project, i agree.
At least two encoders will be necessary especially for VNA, as well.
HC05 can make some additional possibilities in the future.
After reading of your PortableSDR Video Script.docx is clear what is the target.
Well, your project is my favorite and i will follow them...
Tino

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bibilukaa wrote 2 months ago null point

Thanks to you for answer...Yes i will check where to order PCB locally
If you will make a new PSDR with a lot of modification and improvements i will rather wait.
The concept is really powerful and not very expensive.
After study of existing available files provided from you, please consider some following points
if you will make any modification, and if you agree.
Frequency dial knob is better to be on the right side.
Some additional encoders and/or buttons will help for easier operation
(like Audio Gain, RF-Gain, RF- Attenuator, Keyer Speed or Filter selection no matter of touch screen etc.
Possible implementation HC-05 Wireless Bluetooth Transceiver module,
Physical layout and sketches are interesting, too.
If i can help somehow like Catia designer, let me know.
73 de 9a4bl

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Michael R Colton wrote 2 months ago null point

A few places you can try for PCBs include seeedstudio.com, iteadstudio.com (what I used for this one), oshpark.com, circuitboard.com (used them before), and dirtypcbs.com (who I think I'm going to try next because their four layer boards are so cheap!)

Yes, the controls will be on the right side, it was actually an accident that the PSDR1 has them on the left. Certainly extra knobs, encoders, buttons, etc will make for quicker operation, but in the size that I am going for, it really isn't possible. I MIGHT do two encoders (one for selecting an item, and the other for changing it.) Also, I am specifically avoiding touchscreens for this.

It has occurred to me to add bluetooth, but... I'm not sure I want to yet. How would you imagine using it? I kind of like the idea of a blackbox radio that has no knobs or display at all, it connects to your phone over bluetooth that acts as the interface. The reason that might be interesting is you could connect it to an antenna and throw the whole thing in a tree, no feedlines at all. I think that can wait until a little later though.

Thanks for the offer for help with Catia. I haven't used that before, though I am quite comfortable with SolidWorks. I would love to see what sort of industrial designs you come up with. Look at some of my older project updates for some sketches I've done. I've done some more since then.

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bibilukaa wrote 2 months ago null point

I just discovered your project …. It looks like a very interesting project.
Implementation of VNA is Your excellent idea which fascinate me.
As i can see main effort will be to add new features via software updates.
I really appreciate your effort regarding this project.
Actually, how i can order one PCB if is possible?
Vy 73 de 9A4BL, Tino

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Michael R Colton wrote 2 months ago null point

Thanks for the kind words!

I don't really have any more PCBs left, though I could probably produce another small batch if enough people want them (or you can send the gerbers off for production, it's pretty easy and all the files you need are on my GitHub repo). I do plan on producing more PSDRs when I have the design a little further along...

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Jasmine wrote 2 months ago null point

Hello Michael R Colton,

I just wanted to remind you that this is the checklist of what must be on Hackaday Projects by August 20th:
- A video less than 2 minutes long describing your project. Put it on YouTube (or Youku), and add a link to it on your project page. This is done by editing your project (edit link is at the top of your project page) and adding it as an "External Link"
- At least 4 Project Logs (you've got 10, so you're fine)
- A system design document. (I can see it in the photos section, but it would be great if you could highlight it in the project details)
- Links to code repositories, and remember to mention any licenses or permissions needed for your project. For example, if you are using software libraries you need to document that information in the project details.

Thanks for entering and good luck!

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Hans wrote 3 months ago null point

This is a nice project. I hope that the project will be availble for other people.
My compliments !!!

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Thanks! I do plan on making it available when the design is a little further along. Thanks again!

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DainBramage1991 wrote 3 months ago null point

Michael, amazing project! Please let us know when the completed project becomes available, I would very much be interested in purchasing one. I don't have the coordination or stamina to solder at this level, so I will be looking for one that you have already constructed. With any luck, I'll have some money in the ham budget to cover it. Maybe I'll have to skip NEARfest...

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Hi Mr. DainBramage. I do plan on selling them when I get the design a little further a long. The next revision may do it, but in my experience, it's usually my third board that really works right. This one is a little more ambitious than most boards I design though. Anyway, I'll try not to keep you waiting too long. I am anxious to get more hardware out there to see how it does!

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Christopher Story wrote 3 months ago null point

Any chance you have any boards still available? I have built several SoftRock RXTX's and I would love to try this out. - KC5HHQ

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Sounds like Mr. Pwn4tr0n wants to wait for a future revision, so you can have his. Send you address to me and I'll send you one. I'm waiting for a few other people's addresses as well. Don't forget everybody!

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replic8tor wrote 3 months ago null point

Michael:

This is a great project and something I am very much interested in. Can you offer advise on how someone might transition from the software world, and possibly knowing a bit about digital circuits, to designing analog RF circuits like this that function within the digital world still?

I recently got my extra ticket, and I can write software all day and futz with arduinos but. I want to get to the point where I can design some of my own RF devices like you have, lay down the pcb design, put it together, and get something actually useful.

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

That's a broad question. Maybe I should make a video about that one! I learned pretty much everything I know from google and books. It's taken me a few years, but I didn't go to school for it or anything (probably should have, I seem to have "the knack": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CmYDgncMhXw )

Here are a few resources that have been helpful to me:

RF: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCiqd3GLTluk2s_IBt7p_LjA
RF: www.arrl.org/shop/Experimental-Methods-in-RF-Design
PCB Layout: https://www.sparkfun.com/tutorials/category/1 (sounds like you can skip the first few)
SDR: https://sites.google.com/site/thesdrinstitute/A-Software-Defined-Radio-for-the-Masses

It was helpful to me to recognize that RF circuits can be compartmentalized, and really reduced to only a few blocks: Amplifiers, Mixers, Oscillators and Filters.

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eresonance wrote 3 months ago null point

Holy crap, this project is kinda similar to the one I'm going to put up. I also noticed that there was a severe lack of portable HF SDR radios and thought of making something of my own. Good work so far, definitely a motivator to get mine up here too!

One thing to note, I'm not sure if it's my PDF reader (sumatra) but your schematics have a lot of notes that are cut-off on the edges.

My approach is a bit different from yours. I'm wanting to keep it super-simple for the first iteration since I'm fairly new to radio design so I figure I would start with the Rx, and base it off of the softrock. But the cool bit is removing (or not populating) the audio/line out jacks and throwing in a decent-speed ADC in there. Then pulling the data off of the ADC into a beaglebone via one of its high-speed DSP blocks. Processing can be somewhat limited and definitely hampered by a non-RTOS (linux), but it should have enough processing power to get waterfall displays going for each amateur band.

Now I just need to put it all together on here...

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Ah! You are right about the schematics! I'll fix that shortly.

Good luck on your project! Basing it off a SoftRock is a good idea, it seems to be a solid, proven design. Really, I did the same thing, check out the SDR-1000, there was a series of articles about its design. I studied that thing until I understood every part of it. My design has a lot in common with it (plenty of things that had to change too, to get size, and power consumption down, etc.)

There are plenty of great SDR packages for Linux, if I'm not mistaken, so I don't think a non RTOS would hold you back that much. A nice SDR shield (it's, or is it cape) for the BeagleBone would be pretty sweet! I look forward to seeing what you put together.

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Mike Ashcraft wrote 3 months ago null point

Very cool project. So whats the cost breakdown like?

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Hard to say for certain. I had some of the parts already. In low volumes, if you source everything yourself, I imagine parts cost will be in the realm of $150. Checkout the BOM on github, it includes the costs for almost all the parts (except for the PCB and LCD, I think)

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Looks like we have our seven PCB recipients! Nricciar, Nicholas TenBrink, Will Rea, Chris Northcott, John Laur, Paul Warren, and Jason Hersey. If you would all send me your shipping addresses, I'll get those sent out. My email is michaelrcolton@gmail.com . It's awesome that you guys are interested! Thanks for the encouragement, everyone!

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Jason Hersey wrote 3 months ago null point

I'd love a board if you still have any left. This is a fantastic project! Kudos on the work and great ideas.

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

In the comments to my most recent update, Mr. Pwn4tr0n mentioned building his own PSDR. I'm probably going to start working on the next version of the board soon, and I have several of the current PCBs I'm not likely to ever use. If anyone is interested, let me know and I'll send you one for free (unless shipping is more than $4-5USD, in which case, a contribution might be nice). That would be for a bare PCB. If you want one assembled, that would probably be more like $200 for the parts and assembly time (I'm not yet setup for mass production.) I would love for other people to start testing it and developing code for it.

I have 7 PCBs (I thought I had more?) First 7 replies to this comment win!

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nricciar wrote 3 months ago null point

If you still have boards availiable I would like to build one.

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

You're the first to reply, so yes, I do. When enough people have responded, I'll get everyone's addresses and send them out. Thanks for your interest :D

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Angus wrote 3 months ago null point

I'd love to take a PCB, but I think I'll hold off until the project is more complete. Would you consider offering them as a kit, or partially assembled in the future?

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Yes, I may do that. I think I will sell fully assembled units too.

I'd be interested to know how many people would be comfortable soldering a board like this, probably a fair number on hackaday, but most Ham kits are far less complicated.

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Nicholas TenBrink wrote 3 months ago null point

Michael, if there are still boards available I would love the chance to build one up.
Let me know how to get mailing info and such to you.
Thanks!

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Will Rea wrote 3 months ago null point

I'm in for one if they're still available

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Chris Northcott wrote 3 months ago null point

I've been following your project for a little while and am in the process of building something similar. You might have replied to me on Reddit once ;)

I'd love a board, I'm even willing to pay shipping to the UK!

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John Laur wrote 3 months ago null point

Michael, I would be very interested in populating and experimenting with a board if you still have one available. The STM32F is a good choice, but I fear that it is memory limited for DSP applications even though the processor has floating point and is relatively powerful. Still I think there are some interesting applications for such a platform!

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Looks like we've got two left (Angus, you're holding off for now, no?) they are going more quickly than I had expected!

Hi Chris, small world! I hope your project is going well. Any news?

John, so far, I haven't run into any memory issues (and I am not yet making any efforts to be careful with my memory usage) I think the next rev will use an even bigger version of the F4 (mostly so I can get a high performance LCD controller) but it will also increase the RAM and Flash that I have available. I'd be interested to know what other ideas you have for the platform. In addition to it working as a very flexible transceiver, I want to build in VNA and spectrum analyzer functions (though they'll be fairly limited in frequency) I also thought about a sort of mixing oscilloscope... media player, ebook reader, video game system, feature creep detector, stuff like that.

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Paul Warren wrote 3 months ago null point

I'd love to help test by populating a board! I'll go and research the BoM now :)

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

I'll have to make a few notes as to what is different on the PCB. There were two corrections made and a few places that jumpers need to be placed. The board was designed so that the different sub circuits could be disconnected from each other for testing, you see.

Also, speaking of the BOM, I formatted it so the DigiKey BOM importer function works, so you can use that to save yourself tons of time when ordering. There is a balun that you can't get from DigiKey, MiniCircuits sells them, but you have to buy 10 at $3+ a piece, plus shipping, so I think I'll just toss one in for you guys. The LCD was from ebay, but is easy and cheap to get.

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Chris Northcott wrote 3 months ago null point

@Michael - I'm caffeinep0wered who you replied to on /r/stm32f4, although you have probably figured that out by now. :)

I'm still trying to figure out my way around the STM32F4, struggling a bit with DMA but learning slowly but surely. I've settled on a 100Mbit Ethernet PHY via full MII (TI/National PHYter), ADC (AD7356), HF/VHF VFOs (AD9850/MAX2606), VHF tuner (R820T) and output amp (IRF510). I can get a carrier across the house (woohoo!) but it's still early days. I ordered the same screen you have but it was DOA, yay for eBay...

I suggest keeping yours SDR, heh... an idea of mine was to load "modules" off a MicroSD card so different configurations can be tested easily.

The VNA is a brilliant idea, I'd buy one for that feature alone. ;)

I shall have a look through the BOM now - I think I probably have most of the parts on hand...

@John Laur : The STM32F4x7/9 (IIRC) has a flexible memory controller interface for adding SDRAM, so as long as enough free IOs are available, it's easy to expand the memory if needs be. Generally it's only feasible on the LQFP144/178 and higher pin count BGA parts. I'm going to assume this project processes samples on the fly though. These things are surprisingly capable.

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John Laur wrote 3 months ago null point

Michael, Well David Rowe is building the FreeDV SmartMic using the same family of micro, so there is more or less ready to go codec2 and an fdmdv 1600bps modem. But his project is the one where there were memory issues, and he is using the STM32F4 variant with more memory than the F1 you are using (I think the variant he uses has 192KB). For simple mod/demod there may not be an issue, but there definitely will be issues in implementing more complex modems via DSP. I would like to see an SDR that implements digital modems as standard native demodulations instead of going through the SSB or FM intermediary which will require some memory.

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Michael R Colton wrote 3 months ago null point

Yes! I had in mind to include some of the HF digital modes (especially the ones that can transience way below the noise floor with tiny power levels, ideal for portable, power constrained operation), but I had forgotten about these new voice codecs. Ideally, this little guy will be able to support stuff like that, it would be cool to have things like PSK31, Morse decoding, maybe even SSTV.

Imagine being out on a hike, grabbing SSTV weather data, and being able to get messages out reliably on digital on tiny power levels. Know where you are and be able to communicate, no mater what.

Speaking of which, I know there are digital spotting programs (that listen in and report that they heard you on the internet) I think it would be interesting to extend those to pass messages. So I could send something like "I'm here, and safe" and whatever radio hears it, passes it through the internet to the right person.

Like I said, I think I am going to be moving up to a larger F4 (it's only a few extra bucks to get 256k/2M ) and I guess I could look into external RAM, probably not on the next rev though.

Thanks for the input!

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Adam Fabio wrote 4 months ago null point

I am loving all the RF an SDR hacks that have started popping up on here! Thanks for entering PortableSDR in The Hackaday Prize, Michael! Don't worry about folder organization to start - the hardest part is clicking "Submit" that first time. That LCD waterfall display looks like it will really come in handy out in the field.
Have you tested out the transmitter circuits yet? I saw they were unpopulated in your images.

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Michael R Colton wrote 4 months ago null point

Thanks Adam! This is a project I've been wanting to do for a long time and the HaD prize helped push me a long. The waterfall is really cool and already working well. I leave the PSDR running on my desk when I am not using it, and it's cool to glance at it to see if there is any activity. I haven't tested the transmitter yet, I had ordered the wrong size part for the two ICs in the transmit section. I've been busy with the receive stuff so I haven't been in a hurry to order the correct parts.

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Michael R Colton wrote 4 months ago null point

I might be mistaken, but some of the stuff that's going on in slow HF digital modes is state of the art stuff, probably newer than APRS. But it feels weird to say that a mode that sends 16 characters per minute (or less!) on a shortwave radio is "cutting edge".

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j0z0r pwn4tr0n wrote 4 months ago null point

Very nice, I'm gonna have to do some reading on these older digital modes. Is there a link to the Github repository you mention in the project? I'm sure it's around, I just can't find it

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Michael R Colton wrote 4 months ago null point

Yes, it should be capable of APRS, the software will just need to be written. There is this project, which is APRS for the STM32 ( http://michaldemin.wordpress.com/2012/02/27/cheap-afsk-tnc/ ) that might be able to be integrated.

There are some other digital modes (like JT65) that send very slowly, but can transmit effectively at very low power (thousands of miles on less than a watt doesn't seem that unrealistic) that I want to support. That's one of the reasons for including GPS, as accurate timing is important for some of these modes. I'm really excited about the idea of this radio working as an emergency beacon if needed.

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j0z0r pwn4tr0n wrote 4 months ago null point

APRS functionality? Even sending texts at 12000 baud while backpacking would be great.

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