Tagged: limesdr

LimeSDR First Batch Shipping Now

The LimeSDR is a RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and 61.44 MHz bandwidth. Back in June 2016 they surpassed their $500k goal, raising over $800k on the crowdfunding site Crowdsupply. 

We predict that the LimeSDR will essentially be seen as an improved HackRF SDR, perfect for experimenting with and reverse engineering RF devices without the 8-bit ADC, poor sensitivity and half-duplex limitations of the HackRF. They also seem to be active in promoting software for the device, writing that they will eventually have an app store like marketplace for various LimeSDR apps.

Recently the LimeSDR has completed manufacturing of its first batch, and is now ready to ship to backers. A single LimeSDR right now costs $289 USD to preorder, and early bird supporters were able to snag one for $199 USD. They write:

Shipping Will Start in 24 Hours
The first batch of LimeSDRs and accessories has arrived safely at the Crowd Supply warehouse.

Address Changes Must Be Processed Now

Shipping of the first batch of orders will commence within the next 24 hours. If you need to change your address, you should do it now by logging into your Crowd Supply account and viewing your order.

When Will My Order Ship?

The only way to know to know with certainty if your order is shipping within the next few days is if you receive a shipping confirmation email from Crowd Supply. The logistics of shipping hundreds of varied orders around the world is complex enough that it’s not possible to tell you your exact place in line. For example, Crowd Supply will likely send several test shipments to different countries to gauge how well they get through customs and the timing of future shipments to those countries may be affected by the results.

When Will My Order Arrive?

Once your order has shipped, you will receive a shipping confirmation email with a tracking number. For orders destined for outside the US, it is not uncommon for the tracking information to cease being updated after it leaves the US, though for some countries (e.g., UK, Germany, Australia) the packages can continue to be tracked using your national postal website and the same tracking number. If there is a delay in delivering your package, you should check with your local customs office to make sure they are not holding it and waiting for you to pick it up.

We look forward to beginning to use our own LimeSDR and will post reviews when it arrives.

Some of the LimeSDR's ready for shipping.
Some of the LimeSDR’s ready for shipping.

Simulating GPS with LimeSDR and Receiving it with an RTL-SDR

In previous posts we showed how Phillip Hahn had been trying to use his RTL-SDR as a GPS receiver on a high powered rocket in order to overcome the COCOM limits which prevent commercial GPS devices from operating when moving faster than 1,900 kmph/1,200 mph and/or higher than 18,000 m/59,000 ft.

In order to test future flights with the RTL-SDR GPS receiver, Phillip has been simulating GPS rocket trajectory signals and using his LimeSDR. The RTL-SDR then receives the simulated GPS signals which are then fed into SoftGNSS for decoding. The simulation simulates the Japanese SS-520-4 rocket which is a 32′ long, 2′ diameter small high powered rocket capable of putting loads like cubesats into orbit affordably. Using the simulated data Phillip is able to calculate the trajectory and see all the motor burns in the velocity profile.

While Phillip intends to use the RTL-SDR on a similar rocket in the future, he notes that the simulation does not take into account problems such as thermal noise, or RF interference, rocket jerk, satellite occlusion and vibration problems.

LimeSDR Simulated GPS Rocket Trajectory Received with RTL-SDR.
LimeSDR Simulated GPS Rocket Trajectory Received with RTL-SDR.

LimeSDR Production Progress

The LimeSDR is a RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and 61.44 MHz bandwidth. Back in June 2016 they reached their $500,000 goal on the crowdfunding site crowdsupply. They are now gearing up to enter mass production the final product. Recently they released  a production update which is quoted below.

Production Progress

Since the successful close of our funding campaign, We’ve been incredibly busy preparing to deliver LimeSDRs to all our backers. Just as we worked hard during the campaign – internally, with key partners, and with our fantastic beta testers in the community — creating a series of exciting demos, we continue to work to ensure backers will have a first-class experience upon receiving their hardware. In this update, we’ll review the state of the production schedule, hardware design, testing setup, documentation, app store, and more.

Production Schedule

To be upfront, our production schedule has slipped, but not by a lot. We discovered that some of the parts used in the original LimeSDR design have since entered end-of-life status, so we redesigned the board with replacement parts. In addition, we are still waiting on manufacturers for a few key components, such as the high-precision oscillators. We are in close contact with those manufacturers and our best guess right now is we will have all components by mid-November.

Once we have the components, our manufacturing partner in Taiwan can very quickly produce the entire lot of LimeSDRs. The assembled boards will then be sent to the UK for final quality assurance and packaging before heading off to Crowd Supply’s warehouse for delivery to all backers.

Given all this, we expect all LimeSDRs, including the Aluminum Kit version, to be delivered in December. Of course, we will update everyone as soon as have more information. In any case, we will post an update at least once a week between now and delivery.

Update Your Shipping Address

You will know your order has shipped when you receive a shipping confirmation email from Crowd Supply. The shipping confirmation email will contain a tracking number. If you need to change your shipping address, you can do so by logging into your Crowd Supply account. If you didn’t already have a Crowd Supply account, one was automatically created for you when you placed your order. We will post a separate update letting you know about the cutoff date for updating your shipping address.

Hardware and BoM

We have been contacting all the component suppliers and manufacturers and placing orders through our operation in Taiwan. As part of this work we wanted to make sure that no component will become end-of-life for at least 2 years. As a result, we have had to make minor changes to the board to replace some of the older parts. This was followed by another set of prototype runs to ensure that there is no impact on performance and manufacturability of the boards.

First batch of the Altera FPGA parts delivered to Lime headquarters yesterday.
First batch of the Altera FPGA parts delivered to Lime headquarters yesterday.

Production Testing

A rigorous testing programme is essential with an advanced technology platform such as the LimeSDR and this work has just been completed. The LMS7002 production test had already been verified and running on industry standard Teradyne testers with RF test configuration. The program for the LimeSDR boards runs on x86-based workstations and provides an optimised test time while exercising all the functions, including frequency and bandwidth sweep across the full range.

Driver and Software Updates

We have already shipped over 100 boards to our community of beta testers for their feedback, before, during, and after the campaign. This enabled us to provide so many truly exciting updates during the campaign and, more significantly, we have been getting excellent feedback from the community, who have been simply outstanding in sharing their ideas for improving the user experience. We are making significant updates to the driver and calibration algorithms as a result, these are largely complete and will be pushed to Github before the end of November.

Documentation

We will continue to invest heavily in this area and see this as being key to demonstrating our steadfast commitment to the community. Giving you the best support begins with well structured documentation. Obviously, we rely here on your input and feedback. Making the process as smooth as possible is key, we have already started to publish data sheets and supporting documentation on the Myriad-RF Wiki, and will continue to do so as we gather your comments and suggestions.

LimeNET App Store

One of the key activities which we believe will set LimeSDR apart from other software-defined radio solutions is the concept of app-enabled SDR. With this, developers can provide their solution as a incredibly simple to install app, complete with all the various dependencies — with optional support and certification etc. — and publish it via the LimeNET app store. We envisage a rich ecosystem of many applications, resulting in a fantastic out-of-the-box user experience as the maturity and sophistication of the algorithms and software routines improves over time.

We are working very closely with Canonical (the organisation behind the immensely popular Ubuntu Linux distribution) to put in place the app store infrastructure and plan to have a basic service running and populated with a few initial apps by the time the first boards go out.

We are currently in the process of setting out the criteria for publishing an app in the LimeNET store, along with the associated terms and conditions. This is another area where we plan to seek input from you, our backers, to encourage the widest participation and cater for a variety of business and revenue models for developers. There will be numerous posts and updates on this topic, with plenty of opportunity for your input, comments, and feedback.

Last but not least, we shall be posting regular updates as we get closer to the deadline. This will be similar to during the campaign and with plenty of details, including things such as component delivery status, manufacturing progress, and delivery dates for the pledges made by you in all the different categories.

Thank you once again for your support and here’s to the exciting weeks ahead!

Ebrahim and the LimeSDR Team

Two Videos Showing the LimeSDR on HF in SDR-Console V3

The LimeSDR is a RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and 61.44 MHz bandwidth. It costs $299 USD and we think it is going to be an excellent next generation upgrade to SDR’s with similar price and functionality like the HackRF and bladeRF. Back in August we posted how they had added HF functionality to their drivers, and posted some videos from LimeSDR beta tester Marty Wittrock who had gotten HF working well  in GQRX.

Now that SDR-Console has added support for the LimeSDR and HF reception, Marty has uploaded two new videos showing it in action. The first video shows some SSB reception on 40M and the second shows some CW reception on 20M. Marty runs SDR-Console on a MSI Core i5 Cube PC. Marty also writes:

Even with the ‘older’ LimeSDRs that I have that don’t have the proposed modified matching networks on them the performance at 20m and 40m was actually REALLY good for voice and CW. Obviously if the band conditions for 15m and 10m were better the days that I tested the LimeSDR it would have been even better since ‘as-designed’ matching networks seem to do better at 30 MHz and up. Checking the performance at 162.475 MHz (my local Cedar Rapids, Iowa NOAA Weather Station) the performance is excellent on a VHF antenna.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwozoUD4Whk
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2KK49sJ3L0

 

The LimeSDR can now tune to HF Frequencies

Back in June the LimeSDR completed its $500,000 crowd funding goal. The units are still in production and have not yet shipped, but the software is currently being worked on heavily. In a recent update they have enabled HF reception on the LimeSDR hardware. LimeSDR beta tester Marty Wittrock wrote in to let us know his review of the new update:

Another major step forward for the LimeSDR yesterday…

As a part of the continuing development of the PPAs for Ubuntu and other distros, the LimeSDR is now supported for native HF tuning – – no transverter required. Receive has been functionally tested from 7.0 MHz to 56 MHz and even with the matching networks as they are in the LimeSDR I have (which is not what will be delivered in November – the LimeSDRs the backers will receive in November will have modified matching networks to be more broadband and perform better than what I have right now) the receive quality was very good with my applied HF station antenna (ground mounted vertical for 80m – 6m). I shot two videos yesterday of the LimeSDR operating on the 20m band – one with USB voice and one with CW/RTTY on the contest weekend for RTTY (REAL active). I ran this completely from a USB 3.0 Flash Drive plugged into a Dell 3020 and booted from that Flash Drive to operate the LimeSDR. The Flash Drive is loaded with Ubuntu Xenial (16.04), all the applied support files (SoapySDR, GNURadio, OsmoSDR. etc) and the application GQRX to tune and demodulate the LimeSDR. The setup worked VERY well and the results can be viewed with the two videos provided here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0xIN8AyaFs&feature=youtu.be
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTWA3KRK_Rg&feature=youtu.be

Again, I was impressed with the quality of the direct, native, HF tuning of the recent updates to LimeSuite. Having this functionality in LimeSuite finalizes for receive, but I still need to check out the transmit. It’s my hope that Simon Brown’s SDR Console V3.0 will update with the new HF tuning improvements such that I can use his app on Windows to do a full checkout in receive/transmit with the LimeSDR and hopefully apply it to the WSPR app to have the LimeSDR operate HF digital modes on the HF band and Amateur Radio frequencies to have the first true LimeSDR operation benchmark.

I fully intend to have Flash Drive images available for download once I put the final touches on the Flash Drive I have. This will allow all Hams that want an instant solution for booting Ubuntu and running GQRX for receive to use their LimeSDRs right out of the chute without having to install ANYTHING provided that they have a PC that is decently fast (3.0 GHz, 8GB RAM) and has USB 3.0 ports on the PC. I’m looking for a reliable means to read/write the Flash Image and then take the image and ‘burn’ other USB 3.0 Flash Drives with the image. Once I have that reliably working, I’ll post the image and the Flash Drive app so ANYONE can make their own from a blank 32GB to 128GB Flash Drive.

More to follow on the HF transmit as I have those apps and check that out – – Stay tuned..!

The LimeSDR is a RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and 61.44 MHz bandwidth. It costs $299 USD.

rx_tools: RTL-SDR Command Line Tools (rtl_power, rtl_fm, rtl_sdr) Now Compatible With Almost Any SDR

Developer R. X. Seger has recently released rx_tools which provides SDR independent ports for the popular command line RTL-SDR tools rtl_power, rtl_fm and rtl_sdr. This means that these tools can now be used on almost any SDR, such as the bladeRF, HackRF, SDRplay, Airspy and LimeSDR. If you don’t know what the tools do, then here is a quick break down:

rtl_fm / rx_fm: Allows you to decode and listen to FM/AM/SSB radio.
rtl_sdr / rx_sdr: Allows you to record raw samples for future processing.
rtl_power / rx_power: Allows you to do wideband scans over arbitrarily wide swaths of bandwidth by hopping over and recording signal power levels over multiple chunks of spectrum.

rx_tools is based on SoapySDR which is an SDR abstraction layer. If software is developed with SoapySDR, then the software can be more easily used with any SDR, assuming a Soapy plugin for that particular SDR is written. This stops the need for software to be re-written many times for different SDR’s as instead the plugin only needs to be written once.

rx_power scan with the HackRF at 5 GHz over 9 hours.
rx_power scan with the HackRF at 5 GHz over 9 hours.

Videos showing the LimeSDR in Action on HF with GQRX

Over on YouTube LimeSDR beta tester Marty Wittrock has uploaded several videos showing the LimeSDR receiving HF frequencies. In the first video Marty shows it receiving the USB voice on the 20m band during the 2016 ARRL field day. The second video shows reception of PSK31 signals. More videos are available on his channel if you are interested.

In the videos he uses GQRX and his own KN0CK HF upconverter. The LimeSDR should be able to receive HF on its own without an upconverter, but at the moment the HF capabilities have not been programmed into the drivers yet, so during this beta testing period an upconverter is required.

Marty also wrote in to us to make some comments on his experiences with the LimeSDR. He believes that the LimeSDR is amazing and writes:

The quality of the receive and audio [of the LimeSDR] is incredible against other SDRs I have in the house (Flex 5000A, RTL-SDR, HackRF, Red Pitaya – and soon SDRPlay).

Marty also writes that he will soon have more videos of the LimeSDR operating in Windows with SDRConsole in the near future, and we will post those videos too when they are ready.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTHNFSooRL4
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg2_b_zgVSY

Final Hours for LimeSDR CrowdFunding

The LimeSDR crowdfunding campaign is now in it’s final few hours (22 hours left at the time of this post), and funding is up to 95% or 473k out of its 500k goal. After a few unsure days it looks like the goal will be reached just in time. The LimeSDR is a RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and 61.44 MHz bandwidth. We’re not affiliated with LimeSDR in any way, but we think it is shaping up to be a much better version of the RX/TX experimenter radios that are on the market now, such as the HackRF and bladeRF. For a price lower than the HackRF you get a much better ADC, a larger bandwidth and full duplex TX/RX capabilities. The LimeSDR capabilities appear to be close to the Ettus Research B210, which usually sells for over $1000 USD. Also, one of the drawbacks of radios like the HackRF and bladeRF was the lack of decent ready to go software apps. LimeSDR have made promises to focus hard on developing a software “app” store for the device meaning that application software will be able to be downloaded very easily, not to mention that all their software and hardware is fully open source.

During the crowdfunding campaign the LimeSDR is available for an early bird price of $249 USD. After the campaign the price will be raised to $289 USD for preorders, and $299 USD once the device actually begins shipping.

In a recent update they show the LimeSDR being used to receive GPS satellites and decode the data in GNU Octave and also mention that the app store development will begin once crowdfunding is successful.

The LimeSDR with four antennas attached.
The LimeSDR with four antennas attached.
LimeSDR Goal Almost Reached.
LimeSDR Goal Almost Reached.