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

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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.

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

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.

  • 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 -,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

View all 16 components

  • Big in Germany

    Michael R Colton01/17/2015 at 19:15 0 comments

    So I get home yesterday to find an unexpected package. Inside is a Ham Radio magazine (The December 2014 issue of Funk Amateur, I like the name!) with a note.... all in German. Sweet! I flip through it and to my shock, I find the PSDR! WHAAAAT!? What a cool thing! (I'd scan the whole thing, but that might be verboten, copyright stuff, you know.) I googled to see if the article was online, didn't find it, but did find a mention of the PortableSDR here.

    The Kickstarter campaign is off to a great start! Last I looked it was almost to $12,000 (20% of the goal) at this rate it will be successful! Thank you so much everyone for your support!

    I am getting a lot of messages, and I am trying to get caught up on posts and things, I hope to get caught up soon.

  • KickStarter! Finally!

    Michael R Colton01/14/2015 at 06:01 2 comments

    PortableSDR on Kickstarter

    Now you guys can finally get it! Sorry it took so long! Thanks for your patience and support eveyone!

    For all of you who are itching to have one (bless your hearts) click here!

    The internal speaker works now, btw (not great, but it's a start). Also, I have some ideas for a pretty cool 4 band antenna that doesn't need a tuner.

  • Quick Update

    Michael R Colton12/12/2014 at 05:31 5 comments

    Hi fans!

    I just wanted to make a quick post here to let you know that I am still here. I wanted to have the Kickstarter live by now, but I really need to get some quotes back on PCB manufacturing, or I wont be able to set the prices with any confidence. I am so excited to get these out into the world, but I don't want to go broke doing it, you know?

    I have an initial quote on the metals (though I want to change the design a little bit) and have been meeting with a local PCB assembly house. I've worked with them (as well as many others) for other projects and have found their work to be absolutely amazing. They cost a little more, but I think it will be worth it in boards that will work well for a long time. Also, since they're local, I won't have to pay for shipping, wait for shipping, or, for example, fly to China (I'm dying to go, but not on my own dime, you see).

    I hope to have a quote back from them soon. When I've got everything figured out, you'll be the first to know!

View all 28 project logs

  • 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

View all 8 instructions

Enjoy this project?



kestrelview wrote 12/10/2015 at 15:40 point

Very cool!

  Are you sure? yes | no

Whjas Huanh wrote 05/11/2015 at 10:55 point

Great work! pcbway can provide you low-cost PCB service as well as free universal boards. It would be a good choice for your projects.

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Charles Lakins wrote 05/10/2015 at 06:03 point

are kits available, I'd love to build one :)

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Xun Han wrote 02/22/2015 at 09:57 point


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Anool Mahidharia wrote 02/13/2015 at 08:03 point

woot! I missed out on supporting the campaign, but I hope to snag one as soon as it is possible. And Today is WORLD RADIO DAY []! I'm attempting to revive (my long expired) Amateur Radio license, so the PSDR will definitely be on my shopping list.

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Aleksandar Bradic wrote 02/13/2015 at 05:03 point

Congrats on the successful Kickstarter!! Now the fun part begins ;)

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Joao Ribeiro wrote 01/28/2015 at 18:31 point

It would be nice to have some way do control the input signal with software controlled filters and similar tools specific for signal processing.

These can be for signal clearing, fine tuning, frequency shift/remodulation, gain, etc...

Also, a different set of features for digital communication instead of audio only, would be nice. By this I mean a set of features that enables wireless computer networking, preferably with mesh support but not mandatory, Ad-Hoc style on the other hand would be essential.

I know the speeds, specially at the lower frequency end, will not be anything mind boggling, but the inherent communication range for such a device should be very very appealing allowing the device to communicate with the other side of the planet without a big effort, or power for that matter.

Anyway, as is at the moment it's already a very nice piece of hardware :) Good Luck and keep up the good work :)

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vaclav_sal wrote 01/23/2015 at 18:00 point

Mike, I would like to remotely (QTH STX ) help, but Ido not wnat to post my CV here. Is you address on QRZ current? 73 AA7EJ

I'll send you snail mail if interested.

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Frankamato679 wrote 01/14/2015 at 15:10 point

Congrats, Michael, with Kickstarter! Hope you get a huge response over there

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antennas wrote 01/03/2015 at 23:41 point

Great project. My question is, as of now can I buy all the parts and get boards made and build it? I think I will buy all the parts and have a go at it. But I suppose first I will build a reflow oven so I can solder it together.

What is the status as of right now to build this? Thanks so much for your work on this project!!

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Frankamato679 wrote 01/03/2015 at 17:42 point

This project, and all the others here on Hackaday, reflect unique and innovative individuals who want to share their creativity, regerdless of complexity or application. This project, in particular, I personally believe, reflects Michael to be contributing a great degree of effort at a cost of personal financial expense and family time as most. if not all, on Hackday.

This isn't a pacemaker, it is an evolving project that isn't necessarily final on PCB layout yet. Plus, it is an open project that anyone can build and modify if needed, including the mentioned blue points.

Great work, Michael!

Do what you can whenever you can.

  Are you sure? yes | no

asnieg wrote 01/02/2015 at 19:43 point

This is a bad design.
There is PCB Track
See the blue points.

This is the reason there is no email whose author of the project!

Artur SP3OSJ

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DainBramage wrote 01/02/2015 at 23:36 point

Care to explain? Care to fix it? Not all of us are EEs.

And maybe Michael doesn't want to have him email inundated with messages from people telling him his mistakes.

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iz3okw wrote 01/03/2015 at 09:17 point

What are you saying Asnieg? The pcb has 4 layers and the apparently dead pads on the external ones find their corresponding tracks in the internal layers.

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helge wrote 04/22/2016 at 07:30 point

1 year later... he expected blind / buried vias.

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K.C. Lee wrote 04/22/2016 at 11:27 point

More like he expects the internal planes are used straightly as reference planes and not for routing general signals. Breaking up planes are bad layout for RF.

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kd7wrc wrote 12/31/2014 at 00:22 point

Hello Michael

I have been looking at the HackRF, and today I found your project. I like that yours doesn't require a standalone PC, which could make my use simpler. I do have a come questions though. Does it by chance have any GPIO pins? It could be nice to change a channel using another remote device. Secondly, is there any way it could possibly support 70cm? What I have in mind for it would be using 70cm, and possibly on a couple different frequencies which I would like to be able to change remotely.

Also, you mention that you're waiting on quotes from some assembly houses. I work at a contract manufacturing place and would love to get a bid to you if you would be interested. Just let me know.

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Bob Bruno - K2KI wrote 12/29/2014 at 14:23 point

Hi Michael,

This project has my mouth watering. I would really love to have one of these and it would perhaps become my main rig. I hope one day that it will become affordable for me as I am disabled and on a fixed income. In the mean time, I will save my pennies and hope to one day purchase one of these.

I wish to thank you for all of the hard work, skill and love you have put into this project! I know that you are an inspiration to others that are or are maybe considering creating great things like the PSDR!

73... Bob de k2ki

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Artur Sniegocki wrote 12/18/2014 at 20:36 point
I have a PCB, case, and now put items
My psdr2:

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Artur Sniegocki wrote 12/18/2014 at 20:28 point
I build PSDR2 There are a few errors Michael email me at asnieg(at)

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Mike wrote 12/07/2014 at 01:50 point
Michael, this project is inspired! I NEED this radio. Well, I REALLY WANT this radio! I'm a new HAM and have very little experience working with electronics. How difficult would it be to learn how to solder in order to assemble a parts-only kit? Is that the kind of thing that takes a long time to develop the skill? I guess I'm saying that if it isn't too difficult to learn, and that would get me a radio faster, I'd be willing to learn!
Also, I voted for an aluminum case, but would be willing to take a plastic case if the metal one was a cost-deal-breaker.
In the survey it asked if a non-working speaker would be acceptable. Does the unit have a headphone jack?
Please, please, please be sure to notify me when even the most basic kits are available!
Thank you.

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Bob wrote 11/20/2014 at 17:44 point
Great work, and for those interested in discussion regarding this specific project, you can join the user group at


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Frank Amato wrote 11/18/2014 at 12:19 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 11/19/2014 at 05:08 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 11/17/2014 at 10:09 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!!

  Are you sure? yes | no

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