AirSpy – A New 12Bit, 20Msps SDR Dongle Prototype by the Author of SDRSHarp

AirSpy is a new SDR Dongle currently being prototyped by the author of the popular SDRSharp software receiver platform. The technical specifications are as follows

- 24 – 1750 MHz range
- 12bit ADC @ 20msps
- Cortex M4F @ 204 MHz
- 10 MHz panoramic spectrum view
- Highly programmable / customizable

AirSpy also uses the R820T tuner, which is commonly used in the RTL-SDR as well.

Compared to the RTL-SDRs 8bit ADC@3.2msps, this is a large improvement, but we hope it will not cost much more than the RTL-SDR or FunCube.

Currently, if you want more information on the dongle there is only an AirSpy Yahoo Group available.

AirSpy Prototype Front


  1. Alan

    I got bored waiting for this, and especially with the rudeness of the airspy creator so I bought a HackRF instead. It was delivered in under a week, goes up to 6GHz and down to 1 Mhz – yes not 10 MHz but 1 MHz, so this Airspy is looking a little out of date. Add 21MHz of bandwidth without losing samples, and I have a device I’m really enjoying. Take my advice, spend a few dollars more and own a HackRF by next week. Michael Ossmann is a LOT nicer to communicate with also.

  2. DG9BFC Sigi

    the r820t tuner can go above 1.8 gig!!! that is an info direct from the main chip designer (i found him in a newsgroup) … but i do not know the max value for upper frequency limit (something to find out)



    • Truth

      UISB 2.0 (which all cheap ARM chips have) is 480Mbps (raw), but through handshakes/overheads it is more like 280Mbps (real). Transferring both the I+Q channels 280/2/12 (packing the bytes and nibbles together) this would be about 11MiB/sec or 11MHz of bandwidth.

  3. rasz_pl

    I sure hope they wont make it 12bit mode only, I rather have 20MHz of BW than some more dynamic range.

    This is a stripped down half of HackRF. Shouldnt be more than $200.
    Definitely no contest with rtlsdr.

    • Truth

      The ADC’s can sample up to 80msps so (in theory) you could reprogram the device to drop the bottom 8 bits and only send the top 4 bits across.the USB to the host computer. So that would be 280/2/4 which is 35MSPS or about 35MHz of bandwidth..But looking at only the top 4 bits you would only be able to see the very strongest of radio signals. I personally would be more interested maxing the sample rate at 80msps and then decimating the samples within the ARM CPU to up the bit resolution. So decimating 80MSPS down to 2.5MSPS (/32) would give an extra 5 bits of resolution (17bits).

      • Truth

        I suspect that the ARM chip is the LPC4370 which has an inbuilt 80msps 6 channel (multiplexed) 12 bit ADC. So for I and Q the maximum sample rate (in theory) would be 40MSPS each :( On the good side this will reduce the chip count which should reduce the cost at a guess.

  4. Somer

    Pricing is the key factor nowadays and i really hope it won`t be too expensive, all these new devices are very promising, i wonder what will come in 2014 ?

  5. Alan

    With 20Msps, a basic LPF is all you need and you should pick up the AM stations, all the way up to at least 5MHz.
    Still some gaps in HF coverage, but better than nothing.

  6. Demian

    Great news! More innovation for SDR! Any chance of upping the upper receive range to 2200 MHZ? Just wondering why the cutoff at 1750 MHZ.

    • Truth

      The reason is the tuner chip.(Rafael Micro R820T). It has an official range from 42 to 1002 MHz according to the data sheet. So he is already pushing things out of spec (lower gain) to cover 24 – 1750 MHz.
      If there was a tuner chip with a bigger range (and cheap) I’m sure he would be using it.

  7. Pingback: AirSpy – A New 12Bit, 20Msps SDR Dongle Prototype by the Author of SDRSHarp | Keep America At Work
  8. DLBB

    Wow! This would be a real good deal if this dongle could do direct sampling, too. Like it’s discussed in Yahoo grp. And if the price is right, you have a customer for sure.

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