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PortableSDR

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

This project was created on 06/20/2014 and last updated 12 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

Want a PortableSDR? Please take THIS SURVEY so I can make it happen!


Finals Video:


For previous project views, please see links to the left.

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
  • Schrödinger's Finalist

    12 days ago • 2 comments

    Today, in the interview post about the RamanPi, Brian says, "If you're wondering who the winner of The Hackaday Prize is, even I don't know. [Mike] and a few Hackaday overlords do," Thinking of it now, of course the results would be known before the announcement, but it hadn't really occurred to me until I read that. For some reason it seemed weird to me. Whether I have won first place or not is known, but not to me. So in a weird way, I am in the superposition of both having taken first, and not. That is, until Thursday morning (for me 5 am :/ ) when the wave function will collapse. I think it would be fun to be in their position, to know that you were about to change someone's life, and you knew it, but they didn't. Good luck to my fellow finalists! No matter the outcome, I'm happy to have made it so far.

    Pictured above is Girl Kitty, she's been our cat since I was a teenager (which makes her about 18 years old) but, unlike Schrödinger's cat, Girl Kitty is, thankfully, alive.

    In other news, the response to the survey has been MIND BLOWING! The PSDR has about 650 followers, not everyone is going to respond, I guess I expected about 100 responses. Right now I have 1,106! (Which is, by the way, probably enough) THANKS EVERYBODY! It's been amazing to see such an overwhelmingly positive response! I'm still going through the data and want to devote a proper post to it. Give me a few days. I'm really learning a lot by going through all of this.

  • Trying To Transmit

    17 days ago • 0 comments

    I shot this before the Final Overview Video, but didn't get around to posting it. Basically, it shows that my first attempt at an amplifier board for the PSDR2 was unsuccessful, also, I need filtering. I think that what I showed in the video might not have been that meaningful because I had already damaged the amp at that point. Nevertheless, it seems that filtering before the amplifier is going to be required. I have a circuit I want to try that would be a digitally variable low-pass filter. I think it will work, just not sure if will work at RF frequencies.

    I was also lucky to bump into a pretty seasoned RF engineer and picked his brain about designing this amplifier (I only picked the surface though, since I could only take about 5 minutes of his time) basically, it sounds like MMICs will probably only get me to 1 W. Which is not terrible. Beyond that, I'll probably have to design a discrete circuit. BUT he also suggested a trick I'd read about, where you use a power splitter, then, say, 5 MMIC amps, then a combiner, and there you go. I'm interested in trying that. That would also make it easy to step down power, and even provide some redundancy...

    THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR DOING THE SURVEYS! I've received over 600 responses! (500 today alone, thanks to being featured on the front page. Thanks Brian!) Next time I'll give a breakdown of the responses and what it will mean for the PSDR moving forward.

  • Want a PSDR? Take this Survey!

    21 days ago • 0 comments

    I'm trying to work out the details of making the PortableSDR available, but there are some things I need to figure out. Please please take a moment to fill out this survey so I can plan things out appropriately. It should only take a minute. Thank you so much!

View all 24 project logs

Build instructions
  • 1

    Obtain or produce the sub assemblies pictures above (See github for detailed assembly instructions, gerbers, and STLs): Polycarbonate front cover. Encoder PCB, Top housing, LCD, Knob, Main PCB, Paddles, Battery, Bottom Housing, screws and washers.


  • 2

    Connect battery to Main PCB, and set both into Bottom houssing

  • 3

    Connect LCD module to main PCB

See all instructions

Discussions

Bob wrote 2 days ago null point

Great work, and for those interested in discussion regarding this specific project, you can join the user group at https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/PortableSDR/info

Bob VE3UK

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Frank Amato wrote 5 days ago null point

This is certainly a game-changer for the Art of Amateur Radio! Something like this is what the average operator can make use of having limited antenna space for small dwellings and an integrated, stand-alone, ability without a PC to operate Weak Signal modes world-wide. Will be great to use in antenna experimentation and optimization. Getting an efficient antenna setup is key to QRP operation and the built-in VNA is just what is needed! Eventual WiFi and Bluetooth interface option, if possible, would also be cool! Hope there will be supporting Apps for the unit to follow. Great Work, Michael!

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UAV_LOC_TWEET wrote 4 days ago null point

Oh yea. If we can run PSK31 or that array of modes Contestia etc.. and perhaps JT-65 then it would be such icing on the cake of an already great idea.

External Serial In? Typical Engineer.. All I can think of is 'feature creep' and it's so easy when someone else has to implement (for a change)

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tomswift724 wrote 6 days ago null point

Michael, love your project, wish I could help out in some way but I don't really undrstand a lot of what's discussed, and couldn't donate a nickle but I can offer my encoutagement. I have no idea what this will eventually sell for but I want two for my sailboat, one to use and one to put in my emergency bag.. Good Luck!!

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blipton wrote 6 days ago null point

Can SDR like this, also be used to receive regular AM / FM broadcast or is that a different technology?

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Ron Liekens wrote 9 days ago null point

Like the aproach angle on this small SDR. Kind of a nice product. Can't wait for the public models. Kind of using it as a DAP with a small antenna and a couple of earplugs that do not draw a lot of power, like 20mW or so. Have a MobiBlu DAP-1900 that only needs charging every 153 hours on one Lithium battery. Just the tought of walking around with a PSDR in my pocket during outdoor escursions sounds great. 73' Ron - ON2RON

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mmmurf wrote 9 days ago null point

This is incredible. When I filled out the survey I didn't realize quite how awesome it was, so I'd actually be willing to pay more than what I filled out.

Not sure if you've seen this but it's got some clever design in it as well: http://www.fix.net/~jparker/wilderness/sst.htm

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Guzzi wrote 9 days ago null point

Hi Michael. Just back from Hackaday Price event. Congrats for 3rd place. I really would have seen Portable SDR number 1. For me it is. Keep on hacking. I'm sure we will see exiting things when Portable SDR get's into the hand of some Hacker OMs.

73 de Armin, DJ2AG

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DainBramage wrote 9 days ago null point

Hi Michael. It looks like your Portable SDR is getting attention outside of HAD: http://qrznow.com/portable-sdr/
I suspect you already know, but I figured I'd share the link for the benefit of others here.

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GuW wrote 10 days ago null point

I've been throwing cash at my computerscreen for weeks, trying to insert my creditcard in the CD-rom and it doesn't work.

Where's the Kickstarter for this project?

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copernic.web wrote 10 days ago null point

Hi Michael! First, congratulation for you great project and your acheivement! I beleive that a new step of DXing and exploring mobile SDR possibilities has been reached thanks to this project!Me and my radio amateur friends will be gad to assemble this kit if all the components and parts are available. I am not a great electronician but I'll really be happy and glade to build one of your kit so please let me know when and how I'll be able to order one full kit!
Cheers!

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Scott Gamble wrote 12 days ago null point

Hey Michael. Congratulations on a great project! I have been following your progress and look forward to snagging one of the first one of the PSDRs. 73 de W5BSG

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

Thanks so much for your support! I hope you like it!

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kostoel wrote 14 days ago null point

Considering power (future version); the end power amplifier is the most hungry unit , focusing on that, I would use a higher voltage battery and down-DC-convert for the low-power parts. Using a higher voltage with an amplifier makes it more efficient . Also it would be interesting to investigate dpwm (digital pulse width modulation) where you can go to 90% efficiency , thus doing away with most of the analog TX stuff.
pe1bfe

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

Thanks for the suggestion. I'll consider it. I wonder about finding higher voltage packs that are small enough. (Also, am I the only one that has found it hard to find a multi-cell balancing LiPo charge IC?)

The other thing, and maybe this is just how I operate, I spend WAY more time listening than transmitting, so most of my optimizations would probably focus on getting non-transmitting consumption down. Anyway, I am still working on all that.

I definitely like the idea of a PWM amp, but.... since I am pretty new to amplifier design, I think I'll have to start with a boring, inefficient linear amp. I would be very open to amp design assistance btw!

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Ricardo M. H. da Silva wrote 9 days ago null point

Have you had a look at the TI BQ40Z50? It's quite a neat little battery management IC, including up to 4S balancing. A dev board is available for it too if you want to experiment / 'borrow' layout.

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UAV_LOC_TWEET wrote 4 days ago null point

I'm an RC plane guy and a HAM. I was just reading that if you are discharging the LiPo at 1 to 2 C rates then you don't really need to balance the cells. It's when you start doing 20C discharge rates that it matters. Might make your charging circuit a lot simpler if it's just not an issue.

I read this in a comment from the guy that sells LiPo battery replacements for FT-817nd transceivers. They are 5 Watt radios. Something to explore anyway.

I'll be buying one of your radios first chance I get.

Best 73,

Chuck - WB8CEE

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mister35mm wrote 15 days ago null point

I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but you seem to have spent a great deal of effort on the computing side, but you cannot transmit. Here is my suggestion. Rather trying to build an super-duper open source SDR radio, why not use one of very many cheap android and windows phones as your computing platform. That way you could simplify the design and then all they would have to do is pair the RADIO with a suitable smartphone or table and the software can be downloaded from app store? in the UK, you can buy a quad-core smartphone with multiple cameras, wifi, bluetooth gps etc etc for under £50, say under $100 dollars US.

The would help keep the cost down as you would not to price in an ARM processor, colour display etc. I would keep the GPS RX as this makes a great frequency standard. It would be like using websdr.org or similar.

By doing this you do one as self contain radio, or as a raspberry PI shield. If it were a black brick, paired with smartphone you have the benefit of more processing power and storage, without adding to cost (reducing it, in fact!) And, remember, smartphones have cameras, so SSTV and FAX are a possibility, and even fast scan TV via transverter. Don't forget augmented reality / DX cluster etc etc

Satellite operation would probably be easier as the smartphone's magnetometer would help make sure that the antenna(s) are pointing in the right direction.

regards

Stephen G7VFY +44(0)7956-544202
EBAY seller and celebrity photographer (and occasional inventory)

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Michael R Colton wrote 12 days ago null point

Thanks for the feedback. I mentioned below most of my reasoning for going the route I did (mostly to keep it all in one) but there are other issues to using a smartphone too, like managing the connection between the two devices, bandwidth, non-realtime OS. On the other hand, some things would be SO much easier.

I've actually done work designing external IO hardware for android devices (if any of you hop in a taxi in Las Vegas, that advertizing thing on the ceiling? I made that) and it's okay. I'm not opposed to trying something like that in the future... We'll see.

It might not affect cost as much as you might think though. It will absolutely still need some sort of microcontroller (the chip in the PSDR2 has 100 lines and I used every single one!) I'd be able to use a less powerful chip if the phone did the DSP and display stuff, but the microcontroller only makes up about $20 of the cost of the PSDR and the display only adds about another $5.

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will.caruana wrote 16 days ago null point

I love the project I just wanted to touch on the licensing. If you don't care what happens to the code IE if it is sold when changed or just given away go with the MIT licences if you want to make it free for every one at all times go with the GPL licence. It really comes down to how you want to see the software evolve. I personally like the idea of GPL licence it is more complicated but it keeps all versions open and free to the public at all times. Please note that I am not a lawyer and this not meant to be taken as legal advice I would recommend sitting down with a copyright lawyer if you can.

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Michael R Colton wrote 16 days ago null point

Thank you for that clarification! I think I agree with you that I'd like future and derivative works to be open and contribute to the success of all versions. So maybe GPL it is? I don't have any copyright lawyers handy...

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Mark Grennan wrote 15 days ago null point

Good choise

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PointyOintment wrote 11 days ago null point

Some people dislike copyleft licenses such as GPL because of the requirement to release all derivatives. Just something to keep in mind. Of course, other people like them for the same reason. Also take a look at the Artistic License for a different take on copyleft.

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Steve Maietta wrote 16 days ago null point

You might consider adding the "real" transmitter parts (5w amp, antenna tuner, BNC connector, additional battery) in another identical enclosure that attaches to the bottom of the main pSdr unit. Make it optional. That way it can be designed more freely, be bought later by those who might be short on $$, and remain optional for those who don't want it. KD1JV uses BS170's as final drive transistors in many of his CW designs, and the good ol IRF510 is a classic low power final choice. There may be more efficient choices out there these days though! thanks for a greatroject!
73 de Steve, W2STV

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Michael R Colton wrote 16 days ago null point

I have thought about a backpack for the PSDR. Someone else mentioned a dock as well. One of my primary goals with the PSDR was that it be a single unit. So much of portable ham operating seems to be, for example, an FT817 + battery + tuner + key + microphone + antenna. If I can, I really want to get it all in one piece (if only I could fit the antenna inside. Fractals!). That said, I don't know if it's possible to make it small enough, particularly if I include something like a tuner. Actually, that's what the VNA is supposed to be for, so you can either adjust your antenna in the field, or identify frequencies that your antenna is already matched for and use those. We'll see. Even if it isn't really what I had in mind, I might at least put features on the case that a backpack or dock could connect to... We'll see. It just occurred to me, someday there might be 3rd party accessories for the PSDR. That would feel really weird.

Thanks for the suggestions on drive transistors, I'll look into those. Take care!

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sm6eqo wrote 16 days ago null point

No doubt you will get lots of suggestions of different features to be added. A very good way to determining if a person has been operating portable or not is if they ask for a tuner to be included in the box. Anyone who has been working portable a couple of times know that a separate tuner is way better, particularly if you are using an EFHW, so don´t fall for that! Ever!
SM6EQO

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Bill Johnson, k9yeq wrote 14 days ago null point

I would stay on your course. Your basic premise works for me. I like the single unit design. Your circuit layout indicates charging in the field, and I assume you could use a solar cell setup as well. The ability to read SWR from the unit is also a plus for those who carry pre built antennas to the field.

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k4ecd wrote 17 days ago null point

Bluetooth it!
You could reduce cost, and power needs (more available for TX?) if this was controlled via a Bluetooth smartphone. The on-board LCD is GREAT, but now that smartphones are ubiquitous - it may be worth thinking about as an optional control method. In other words you could buy the standalone LCD version or the Bluetooth version.

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Michael R Colton wrote 16 days ago null point

I've thought about bluetooth. As I mentioned to Steve Maietta above, I really wanted the PSDR to stand alone, so that model is the priority. But I have considered adding bluetooth, like you suggest, so that phones (or keyboards) can connect to it, particularly to make digital modes easier.

BUT! It had also occurred to me to make a completely blackbox model. You screw it onto an antenna and throw the whole thing in a tree, then operate it with your phone. No coax needed! I actually rather like that idea, I might pursue it when the PSDR is a little further along. (I'm also pondering a car version, but don't tell anybody)

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Bill Johnson, k9yeq wrote 14 days ago null point

I like that one a lot. You could also do both together or apart. If you could also make a touch screen model after the original is out... that would be cool.

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tomswift724 wrote 6 days ago null point

If you were to add bt, the gps could be linked from the phone tab ect.

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davehardy0101 wrote 17 days ago null point

Mini plugs for tx and rx so I can hook up to my sound card for psk ops on my laptop. Think about crowdsourcing on kickstarter. Great project.

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Michael R Colton wrote 16 days ago null point

How about PSK support built into the unit so you don't need a laptop? Or connect the PSDR over USB (so the laptop would really just be a terminal). Actually, I think the existing earphone connector could do what you are describing with an adapter.

I am working on a kickstarter campaign right now. That's partly why I did the survey. More details soon.

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Bill Johnson, k9yeq wrote 14 days ago null point

Add BT for connections for both speaker output and keyboard input as you get down the road.

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owen wrote 17 days ago null point

I don't know how much the GPS unit costs, but if it's more than $10 or so it might be nice to make it optional for those that aren't interested in that functionality. But your ideas about using it for JT65, emergency beacon, and APRS are all cool!

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Steven wrote 17 days ago null point

Not everyone is right handed. It wild be nice to see a "hand agnostic" design. As it is you've left out a portion of your potential customer base. Just sayin'.

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owen wrote 17 days ago null point

Or an option for an external key. I have a nice portable key that I might prefer to an integrated one.

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Michael R Colton wrote 16 days ago null point

I didn't really mean to exclude anyone, but I couldn't figure out hand agnostic design that I liked. (I'm open to suggestions) but what did occur to me recently is that the PSDR could be rotated so the key is on the left and the knob toward the operator. All we'd have to do is rotate and reformat the display. I'll get to that eventually.

The earphone connector will accommodate an external key.

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PointyOintment wrote 11 days ago null point

Tell that to the camera companies.

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n6ey wrote 17 days ago null point

Nice design. A couple questions:
1. Any ideas on adding 6m?
2. 2M FM is a good idea, though there might be more value for those using weak signal modes with this unit. Adding 432/436 would make it attractive to those running weak signal and satellite modes.
3. What kind of interface for external control is planned?
Looks like a fun project - I'm very interested in seeing how this evolves.
73.

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Michael R Colton wrote 16 days ago null point

Initially 6m was out, the DDSs couldn't go that high, and if I can only include one mixer, then I wanted 2m. BUT I am looking at a DDS chip that can hit 200MHz, which would give us 2m without a mixer (and weather, and FM broadcast, and 6m, etc) so I am going to try playing with one of those. I don't think I have it in me to do 70cm yet (or the foreseeable future) but we'll see how things evolve.

For external interfaces, we do have the USB port that can (in theory) act as a peripheral or a host, so keyboards, or even a pannel of knobs could be made. Or remote operation over the internet (the PSDR would need to be connected to a PC or RaspberrPi or something). Also, FYI, there are still pins on the PCB to connect the raw I/Q signals into and out of a computer, for use with things like SDR#. All of this is a ways off though.

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HamRadio wrote 18 days ago null point

Hi Michael. Congratulations!! It's really a great project!! I should read All the info you published. I am interested on the source code. Could you explain how should I read the files? What is the main? I need some little info to start. I would like to experiment with DRM or something like that. Thanks!!

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Michael R Colton wrote 16 days ago null point

I'm happy to help, but I am not sure I understand what you are asking. How much programming experience do you have? Also, please be warned that the code is a terrible mess right now.

When you said DRM I thought you meant Digital Rights Management and I thought, "No! Don't add DRM!" On second thought I realized you meant Digital Radio Mondale, and I thought, "awesome!"

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andresscrespo wrote 16 days ago null point

Hi Michael. Thanks for reply me! Yes, I have experience but just with small microcontrollers. It's the source code too big!! I should start to study it! I finally found the main.c! What I asked, is that you make a explanation of which are the principal functions, and a little scheme of the source.
DRM mean Digital Radio Mondiale, yes! My target is to programm and build a stand-alone Tx and Rx DRM....yes, not easy!!
Have you considered to add DRM system?

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Michael R Colton wrote 15 days ago null point

Yes, there is a lot of code, and I'm sorry to say that it really isn't well organized at all. I'm glad you found main.c though, most of the interesting stuff is in there.

I would love to support DRM, but I don't know how much work it will be to decode. I will probably have to leave that up to someone else. I don't think I can do it myself.

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Robo BA55 wrote 19 days ago null point

Good Job!!!

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Shane wrote 21 days ago null point

I just noticed that you have added 144 MHz into the mix here. For this to be useful it will require a means of programming split, tone, etc. It will probably also require a separate antenna connection. And, if 144 MHz is possible, why not 220 or 440? With that in mind, I'm beginning to think a separate model or version might be necessary for VHF/UHF. As a side note, I can't find a single multi-band/multi-mode (HF/VHF/UHF) radio on the market with 220 MHz transmit capability. Several can receive it, but none I have seen can transmit.
Shane
KG5DVC

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Michael R Colton wrote 21 days ago null point

Hi Shane. 144MHz is something I'd like to include, but currently almost nothing has been done on that part (other than including a socket for a mixer board and an RF switch to connect or bypass the mixer.)

I don't think a second antenna connector will be necessary, my plan is to simply switch a mixer into the RF path. Things like splits, tones, etc, could all be added in firmware. As for 220 and 440, there isn't any reason we couldn't use a mixer to get up to those frequencies instead, but including all of them would mean that the mixer would need to cover some very different ranges. Also, the wider the swath of frequencies I want to cover, the more complicated the filtering and amplification is going to need to be.

I am playing with the idea of using a newer DDS chip that can go up to 200MHz. If it works well, then no mixer would be needed for 144MHz (we'd also get weather and broadcast FM, among other things), but higher frequencies would still require a mixer. For size, cost, and simplicity, at that point I'd leave the mixer out entirely.

I'd point out that including 144MHz is mostly so that there is something available for repeater and simplex use in a pinch, but it wasn't really intended to be the focus of this radio.

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Shane wrote 21 days ago null point

In that case, it's simpler to just stick with HF. Quite a few handhelds will do VHF/UHF reasonably well, and some even receive broadcast FM. But nobody makes a handheld, multi-band, multi-mode stand alone SDR for HF. The most comparable portable HF rig I have seen is massive by comparison, and rather expensive. What you're doing here is truly impressive.

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DainBramage wrote 21 days ago null point

In case you're curious why 220 MHz is seldom included in Transceivers, it's because ITU region 2, where the US is, is the only region that has an amateur radio allocation on that band.
The nearest equivalent would be an American radio builder including the 4 meter band (70 MHz).
Speaking of which, Michael, you might consider covering that band for our friends across the pond. As if you don't already have enough to do. :)

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sm6eqo wrote 20 days ago null point

Agree. Stick with HF. There are cheap small VHF handhelds made in China out there perfect for emergencies and the like. VHF/UHF coverage would not add much to the basic concept of the PSDR.

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pedrocalixto80 wrote 22 days ago null point

I have dowloaded you files from github but can't see anythink on eagle what software did you use to generate the boards ?
73

Pedro Almeida
CT5JZX

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iz3okw wrote 22 days ago null point

Hi Pedro, I would like to tell you my attempt of importing schematic and pcb files in my cad, waiting for Michael maybe add something.
The source files are "Mentorgraphics PADS" native (as you read in Github PSDR/Hardware/README.txt).
I am trying to import the PSDR in "Altium Designer" (winter 2009 version) with the help of a friend who converted for me the sources Mentorgraphics to "ASCII 2005.2" for schematics and to "PowerPCB V5" for board layout.
I'm still working to remove a number of errors inevitably generated in the conversion process.
Maybe Michael in the future can export, and publish, files in any format that can be imported in other more popular CAD.
Ciao

Luca, iz3okw

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Michael R Colton wrote 21 days ago null point

IZ3OKW is correct, the files are for Mentorgraphics PADS. Click here to get the free viewer: http://www.pads.com/downloads/pads-pcb-viewer/ There are images of the boards in the gerber folders on github, so you can get a preview of what you're working with, and there are PDFs of the schematics too.

I don't have any experience importing the files into Altium or anything else (though I've thought about trying Altium, so I'm curious about how well the conversion works.) As for making files available in other formats, unfortunately, it doesn't seem like compatibility (even between versions of the same software) is not a priority for Mentorgraphics (and, I think, for many other PCB layout developers as well) so there is no real way for me to make the files more broadly available.

As for doing the layout in something like Eagle or KiCad, I might consider it, but PADS is what I have and what I am good at.

Out of curiosity, what changes do you have in mind to make?

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iz3okw wrote 21 days ago null point

Hi Michael,
conversion from a cad to another involves two stages, exporting from starting cad to a format recognizable by the target software and importing in this one. Each phase is generally assisted by the respective cad that generates some kind of error list. Having the possibility to manage these errors immediately the conversion process should easily go through. Unfortunately, in my attempt I had control only in the second stage because the first was made for me remotely by a friend (since I have not Mentorgraphics PADS); now I can only try a late-remedy...
I'm not going to make special modifications to your project, for me importing hardware design in Altium was necessary when it was not clear whether you would be made available to the PCBs and/or kits. If I wanted to replicate PSDR being able to work on the hardware would be easier to use some components already I have, then you know "one thing leads... ".
Good luck for Hackaday contest,
ciao

Luca

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pedrocalixto80 wrote 15 days ago null point

My laptop hd died last week i only have an old pentium 3 whid ubuntu and can't install PADS . hope I can find some software for linux.

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XDjackieXD wrote 22 days ago null point

Cool Project & congrats for beeing a finalist!
I'm very interested in building one and I know a few people who are also interested.
I like the look of the metal case and the acrylic frontpanel.

Good luck for the contest!
73, Jakob OE1JMW

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Thomas wrote 23 days ago null point

Very interesting project!

How can I get the PCBs? I am strongly interested in building one. Milling enclosures out of HDPE/Acryl is no problem here.

If you plan to offer a kit version via kickstarter, do it!

The time is now! ;)

Please take me on the list, or please give me a hint how to get a PCB.

VY73
Thomas
DK1EY
.-.-.

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w8tow wrote 24 days ago null point

Very interested in evaluating the PSDR and demonstrating it in my Applied Electronics Class in January I teach! Any possibility I might get one Michael? 73 w8tow

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albatross579 wrote 24 days ago null point

Hi there Michael 2E0GGO Gareth hereVery nice project...please tell me when you have a kit or assembled version for sale ??
Good luck and keep up with your wonderful idea!!
ttfn 2E0GGO U.K.

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chamoko2 wrote 24 days ago null point

When will you have these SDR radios available. I am anxious to try it out.

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robert.ehresman wrote 25 days ago null point

I'd love to see you follow through on that kit. And I think I am going to hold off on getting that MFJ-259C and KX3 I've been wanting.... :-)

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Michael R Colton wrote 21 days ago null point

Wow! Thanks, I've heard nothing but excellent things about both of those, so that's saying something!

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Mark Grennan wrote 15 days ago null point

Robert is right on. My work with the, more generic, HackRF has done a lot for my bench. Being able to both produce and receive RF signals has replace lots of things on my bench. It's fantastic to product a band of noise, feed it through a filter and see the results.

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henrique wrote 25 days ago null point

Very nice project...please tell me when you have a kit or assembled version for sale. PU5HLU

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Ruben EA5BZ wrote 25 days ago null point

Very very interesting project my friend !
Of course... tell me when assembled version is available!
EA5BZ Ruben from Spain.

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Josh Walton wrote a month ago null point

Michael,
I'm fairly new to amateur radio, but dived in quick. I have been on a quest to find a portable and capable radio just like this project. I am super excited to see the work you are doing. I can't wait to get the kit!

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sm6eqo wrote a month ago null point

Nice new video you have put up!
Also glad to hear you confirming that a kit, or assembled unit, is planned.
As for possible market for these “micro-tranceivers”; KD1JD´s last batch of 150 MTR-tranceivers was sold out within 24 hours of its release. You should probably expect something of the same or more.
Finally: I think 5 watts output is a must to be relevant.
SM6EQO
http://hem.bredband.net/b101180/In%20the%20field.html

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Michael R Colton wrote 21 days ago null point

I noticed how quickly those MTRs sold too. It gives me hope that the PSDR might do alright. Yes, I want to get to 5 watts if possible, I'm working on it.

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Peter wrote a month ago null point

Nice project,
I have read your comments on the schematic. I think you will need external ram. Also think about a cpu with a lcd controller. A STM32F429 will give you a lcd controller. You can use cheap passive lcd's. The bigger one. The SD-Ram will help to handle the data streams. Have a look on the stm32f429 disco board.
ST has licensed the segger emWin graphic library. You can use this lib for free with a cpu from ST.

73,
Peter
DC2PD

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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

I don't think I've updated the schematics yet. The PSDR2 uses exactly the CPU you suggested, the STM32F429 (I also have the dev board for it). That chip has an LCD controller, but to use it (and use the DAC) you need to us a very large 144 pin package (which I may do). So far I haven't run into any issues with the amount of RAM available, but that may change in the future, particularly if I need to store a frame buffer for the display. I'm trying hard to keep the PSDR as small as possible, so it's a balancing act to get the features I want but keep it small.

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Shane wrote a month 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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Michael R Colton wrote a month ago null point

You aren't way off. 1-5 watts is exactly what I am aiming for. The idea of a docking station is new. I'll have to think about that.

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Chrisz wrote a month 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 a month 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 a month ago null point

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

SM6EQO

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Apek wrote a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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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DainBramage wrote a month 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 a month 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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DainBramage wrote a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month ago null point

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

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Michael R Colton wrote a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month 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 a month ago null point

Is it possible to run it with other bands?

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Michael R Colton wrote a month 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 a month 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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DainBramage wrote a month ago null point

Congratulations on being one of the five finalists!!!

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SkinnyMac wrote a month 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 a month ago null point

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

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Luca wrote 2 months 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 a month 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 2 months 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 a month ago null point

Thanks Thrash!

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Fer Jackson wrote 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 3 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 2 months 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 3 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 2 months 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 2 months 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 3 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 2 months 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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 3 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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DainBramage wrote 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 months ago null point

Very cool project. So whats the cost breakdown like?

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Michael R Colton wrote 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 months ago null point

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

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Michael R Colton wrote 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 months ago null point

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

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Chris Northcott wrote 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 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 5 months ago null point

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

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