Tagged: limesdr

LimeNET SDR Based Wireless Networks Crowdfunding Campaign

Following the success of the LimeSDR, the Lime team have started work on their next SDR project called ‘LimeNET’ which will eventually be released for crowdfunding on CrowdSupply. To be notified when the campaign is released you can sign up here.

The LimeNET SDR is essentially a high-end computer combined together with a LimeSDR board, and all placed in a small box. The goal is to create self contained base stations for cellular and IoT applications. LimeNET devices come in two flavors, the LimeNET Mini and the standard LimeNET.

LimeNET Mini

A software defined radio (SDR) small cell network in a box for mobile and IoT applications, based on an Intel i7 processor and the open source LimeSDR board. This combination makes it an ideal implementation for high data rate communication applications such as to 2-5G radio access to IoT nodes and much more.

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7500U CPU 2-core 2.7/3.5 GHz
  • Memory: 32 GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Connectivity: 1 x USB 3.1 type C, 1 x USB 3.1, 2x USB 3.0, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Radio: LimeSDR USB Type-A

LimeNET

A software defined radio (SDR) high capacity network in a box for mobile and IoT applications, based on an Intel i7 processor and the open source LimeSDR PCIe card. It covers the same applications as the mini version for wide area networks.

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6950X CPU 10-core 2011-3 140 W 3.0 GHz 25 MB Cache
  • Memory: 64 GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD
  • Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.1, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Radio: LimeSDR PCIe
The LimeNET Mini.
The LimeNET Mini.

The LimeNET press release reads:

Confronted with flat revenues, spiralling infrastructure costs and massively escalating data demands, the telco industry is facing a crisis point. It needs exponentially more cost-effective solutions, as well as new revenue streams, and needs to find them quickly. Operators face a simple choice; either revise their business models, or lose market share to new incumbents.

Lime Micro and Canonical are looking to turn the mobile telephony business model on its head. Telco hardware is expensive, slow to develop, and has proven a ‘break’ to innovation in the industry. By ‘open sourcing’ Lime Microsystems’ 5G and IoT capable SDR base station design, Lime and Canonical are looking to effectively ‘commoditise’ network hardware and shift the value centre towards software.

LimeSDR-based base stations can not only run cellular standards from 2G or 5G, as well as IoT protocols like LoRa, Sigfox, NB-IoT, LTE-M, Weightless and others but any type of wireless protocol. Open source base stations allow R&D departments to try out new ideas around industrial IoT, content broadcasting and many more. Commoditised base stations allow any enterprise to run their own base station and get spectrum from their operators as a service. Base stations can have new form factors as well, like being embedded into vending machines or attached to drones.

“It’s clear that existing telco business models are quickly running out of steam,” commented Maarten Ectors, VP IoT, Next-Gen Networks & Edge Cloud, Canonical, “and that operators need to find new revenue streams. Together with Lime Microsystems, we’re looking to initiate a ‘herding’ behaviour that will usher in the age of the largely software-enabled telco network. Through its open sourced SDR design Lime will encourage a wide range of manufacturers to produce more cost-effective base stations. And, following enormous interest in our first crowdfunding initiative, we already have the critical mass of developers required to deliver the significant software innovation the industry requires.”

“This kind of model is, without a doubt, where the industry needs to go,” commented Ebrahim Bushehri, CEO, Lime Microsystems. “There are several reasons why Canonical’s heavy commitment in this project over the past couple of years has been so important. For one, Canonical shares our vision of an entirely software-enabled future for telco and IoT networks. Secondly, Canonical’s efficient, hyper-secure IoT OS Ubuntu Core is the perfect platform to enable this vision. Thirdly, this collaboration has helped us to gather the critical mass of developers required to kick-start the programme.”

Over 3,600 developers are currently involved in efforts to create apps, called Snaps, for LimeSDR, with several free and paid-for apps having already appeared on the open community LimeSDR App Store, as well as Lime’s invite-only app store, LimeNET.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suzuz_PkA54

LimeSDR Unboxing and Initial Review

A few days ago we received our early bird LimeSDR unit from CrowdSupply. The LimeSDR is advertised as an RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and up to 80 MHz of bandwidth. Back in June 2016 they surpassed their $500k goal, raising over $800k on the crowdfunding site Crowdsupply. Just recently some of the first crowdfunding backers began to receive their units in the mail. We paid $199 USD for an early bird unit, and currently a preorder unit costs $289 USD on Crowd Supply.

Unboxing

Inside the shipping box is a smaller black and green box with the LimeSDR itself inside, and a short USB pigtail with extra power header. Note that no pigtails for the u.FL antenna connectors are provided, so you will need to source these yourself, but they can be found quite cheaply on Aliexpress.

The PCB itself is intricate and heavily populated with many components. You certainly to feel like you are getting your moneys worth of engineering effort with this SDR. An enclosure is probably highly recommended if you intend to take your LimeSDR out and about, as some of the SMD components look like they could be easily knocked off with a drop.

The parcel was declared at the full value, so this may be a problem for those in countries with low customs tax thresholds.

Driver and Software Installation

For this first initial review we decided to set the LimeSDR up in Windows, with SDR-Console V3, and try to get wideband reception and some simple transmit working.

Installation was a bit rocky. Firstly one criticism is that the online documentation is all over the place, and a lot of it seems to be out of date. It was very difficult to find the current USB drivers as many links redirected to the older drivers. Finally we found drivers that work on the Lime Suite page.

Secondly there have been some apparent changes with hardware revision 1.4 which is shipping to Crowd Supply backers.  This resulted in the current version of SDR-Console V3 being incompatible with the newly shipped boards, and throwing the error “Encountered an improper argument”. We had to search through the LimeSDR forums, and there we found a beta LimeSDR fix version of Console V3 released by Simon. This version worked with our board. 

Once we had the LimeSDR drivers and SDR-Console V3 installed we decided to update the firmware as we’d seen on the forums that the latest firmware supposedly improved a few things. Again, performing this task was quite confusing as there was several links to outdated documentation and software all over the place. Finally we found what we think is the latest instructions, which had us download Lime Suite which comes together with the PothosSDR software. In this version of Lime Suite there is an automatic firmware update option which downloaded and flashed the new firmware easily.

It’s clear that the LimeSDR is very much a development board made mainly for experimenters, but some decent up to date documentation and a quick start guide would help new users tremendously.

Problems with HF and reception below 700 MHz

By browsing the LimeSDR forums we came across a topic where several users had claimed that the LimeSDR v1.4 (the one shipped to CrowdSupply backers) has abysmal HF sensitivity, and poor sensitivity below 700 MHz. 

It seems that this lack of performance is due to the matching circuit which they have implemented. For better impedance matching at frequencies over 700 MHz they added a parallel 8.2 nH inductor. This unfortunately attenuates HF frequencies severely to the point of no reception, and also other frequencies below 700 MHz to some extent. This is a bit troubling as from the very beginning the LimeSDR has been advertised as working down to 100 kHz.

A hardware fix was found by forum user @sdr_research but this only works if you are comfortable taking a soldering iron to the board to remove that inductor. On this official blog post they also mention more fixes (EasyFix1 is the one recommended on the forums) to improve HF performance that include removing more components, and replacing some others. 

The HF fix for the LimeSDR. Remove this inductor.
The HF fix for the LimeSDR. Remove this inductor.

We performed the EasyFix1 mod, which involved removing one inductor on the PCB. Removal was very simple with a soldering iron. Even without a soldering iron it could probably be forcefully removed with some tweezers. After removing that inductor we saw HF spring back into life, with reception working all the way down to the MW broadcast AM band.

LF reception still seems to be a bit weak. We were able to receive an NDB down to about 300 kHz, but very weakly in comparison to other SDRs.

The image below shows the difference in HF reception before and after the mod.

Before and after the mod. Bottom waterfall shows signal levels before the mod, top waterfall shows signal levels after removing the inductor.
Before and after the mod. Bottom waterfall shows signal levels before the inductor mod, top waterfall shows signal levels after removing the inductor.

Fortunately it seems that LimeSDR is trying to make this right, and just today they issued an update that confirms the issue and offers a fix. They are offering an option for unshipped boards to be modified to improve HF performance before they ship out, and a replacement option for those who have already received boards. The deadline for applying for a modification is February 21, 2017.

Continue reading

LimeNET SDR Based Wireless Networks Crowdfunding Campaign

Following the success of the LimeSDR, the Lime team have started work on their next SDR project called ‘LimeNET’ which will eventually be released for crowdfunding on CrowdSupply. To be notified when the campaign is released you can sign up here.

The LimeNET SDR is essentially a high-end computer combined together with a LimeSDR board, and all placed in a small box. The goal is to create self contained base stations for cellular and IoT applications. LimeNET devices come in two flavors, the LimeNET Mini and the standard LimeNET.

LimeNET Mini

A software defined radio (SDR) small cell network in a box for mobile and IoT applications, based on an Intel i7 processor and the open source LimeSDR board. This combination makes it an ideal implementation for high data rate communication applications such as to 2-5G radio access to IoT nodes and much more.

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-7500U CPU 2-core 2.7/3.5 GHz
  • Memory: 32 GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • Storage: 512 GB SSD
  • Connectivity: 1 x USB 3.1 type C, 1 x USB 3.1, 2x USB 3.0, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Radio: LimeSDR USB Type-A

LimeNET

A software defined radio (SDR) high capacity network in a box for mobile and IoT applications, based on an Intel i7 processor and the open source LimeSDR PCIe card. It covers the same applications as the mini version for wide area networks.

  • Processor: Intel Core i7-6950X CPU 10-core 2011-3 140 W 3.0 GHz 25 MB Cache
  • Memory: 64 GB DDR4 2133 MHz
  • Storage: 1 TB SSD
  • Connectivity: 2 x USB 3.1, 4 x USB 3.0, 1 x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Radio: LimeSDR PCIe
The LimeNET Mini.
The LimeNET Mini.

The LimeNET press release reads:

Confronted with flat revenues, spiralling infrastructure costs and massively escalating data demands, the telco industry is facing a crisis point. It needs exponentially more cost-effective solutions, as well as new revenue streams, and needs to find them quickly. Operators face a simple choice; either revise their business models, or lose market share to new incumbents.

Lime Micro and Canonical are looking to turn the mobile telephony business model on its head. Telco hardware is expensive, slow to develop, and has proven a ‘break’ to innovation in the industry. By ‘open sourcing’ Lime Microsystems’ 5G and IoT capable SDR base station design, Lime and Canonical are looking to effectively ‘commoditise’ network hardware and shift the value centre towards software.

LimeSDR-based base stations can not only run cellular standards from 2G or 5G, as well as IoT protocols like LoRa, Sigfox, NB-IoT, LTE-M, Weightless and others but any type of wireless protocol. Open source base stations allow R&D departments to try out new ideas around industrial IoT, content broadcasting and many more. Commoditised base stations allow any enterprise to run their own base station and get spectrum from their operators as a service. Base stations can have new form factors as well, like being embedded into vending machines or attached to drones.

“It’s clear that existing telco business models are quickly running out of steam,” commented Maarten Ectors, VP IoT, Next-Gen Networks & Edge Cloud, Canonical, “and that operators need to find new revenue streams. Together with Lime Microsystems, we’re looking to initiate a ‘herding’ behaviour that will usher in the age of the largely software-enabled telco network. Through its open sourced SDR design Lime will encourage a wide range of manufacturers to produce more cost-effective base stations. And, following enormous interest in our first crowdfunding initiative, we already have the critical mass of developers required to deliver the significant software innovation the industry requires.”

“This kind of model is, without a doubt, where the industry needs to go,” commented Ebrahim Bushehri, CEO, Lime Microsystems. “There are several reasons why Canonical’s heavy commitment in this project over the past couple of years has been so important. For one, Canonical shares our vision of an entirely software-enabled future for telco and IoT networks. Secondly, Canonical’s efficient, hyper-secure IoT OS Ubuntu Core is the perfect platform to enable this vision. Thirdly, this collaboration has helped us to gather the critical mass of developers required to kick-start the programme.”

Over 3,600 developers are currently involved in efforts to create apps, called Snaps, for LimeSDR, with several free and paid-for apps having already appeared on the open community LimeSDR App Store, as well as Lime’s invite-only app store, LimeNET.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suzuz_PkA54

LimeSDR Unboxing and Initial Review

A few days ago we received our early bird LimeSDR unit from CrowdSupply. The LimeSDR is advertised as an RX/TX capable SDR with a 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz frequency range, 12-bit ADC and up to 80 MHz of bandwidth. Back in June 2016 they surpassed their $500k goal, raising over $800k on the crowdfunding site Crowdsupply. Just recently some of the first crowdfunding backers began to receive their units in the mail. We paid $199 USD for an early bird unit, and currently a preorder unit costs $289 USD on Crowd Supply.

Unboxing

Inside the shipping box is a smaller black and green box with the LimeSDR itself inside, and a short USB pigtail with extra power header. Note that no pigtails for the u.FL antenna connectors are provided, so you will need to source these yourself, but they can be found quite cheaply on Aliexpress.

The PCB itself is intricate and heavily populated with many components. You certainly to feel like you are getting your moneys worth of engineering effort with this SDR. An enclosure is probably highly recommended if you intend to take your LimeSDR out and about, as some of the SMD components look like they could be easily knocked off with a drop.

The parcel was declared at the full value, so this may be a problem for those in countries with low customs tax thresholds.

Driver and Software Installation

For this first initial review we decided to set the LimeSDR up in Windows, with SDR-Console V3, and try to get wideband reception and some simple transmit working.

Installation was a bit rocky. Firstly one criticism is that the online documentation is all over the place, and a lot of it seems to be out of date. It was very difficult to find the current USB drivers as many links redirected to the older drivers. Finally we found drivers that work on the Lime Suite page.

Secondly there have been some apparent changes with hardware revision 1.4 which is shipping to Crowd Supply backers.  This resulted in the current version of SDR-Console V3 being incompatible with the newly shipped boards, and throwing the error “Encountered an improper argument”. We had to search through the LimeSDR forums, and there we found a beta LimeSDR fix version of Console V3 released by Simon. This version worked with our board. 

Once we had the LimeSDR drivers and SDR-Console V3 installed we decided to update the firmware as we’d seen on the forums that the latest firmware supposedly improved a few things. Again, performing this task was quite confusing as there was several links to outdated documentation and software all over the place. Finally we found what we think is the latest instructions, which had us download Lime Suite which comes together with the PothosSDR software. In this version of Lime Suite there is an automatic firmware update option which downloaded and flashed the new firmware easily.

It’s clear that the LimeSDR is very much a development board made mainly for experimenters, but some decent up to date documentation and a quick start guide would help new users tremendously.

Problems with HF and reception below 700 MHz

By browsing the LimeSDR forums we came across a topic where several users had claimed that the LimeSDR v1.4 (the one shipped to CrowdSupply backers) has abysmal HF sensitivity, and poor sensitivity below 700 MHz. 

It seems that this lack of performance is due to the matching circuit which they have implemented. For better impedance matching at frequencies over 700 MHz they added a parallel 8.2 nH inductor. This unfortunately attenuates HF frequencies severely to the point of no reception, and also other frequencies below 700 MHz to some extent. This is a bit troubling as from the very beginning the LimeSDR has been advertised as working down to 100 kHz.

A hardware fix was found by forum user @sdr_research but this only works if you are comfortable taking a soldering iron to the board to remove that inductor. On this official blog post they also mention more fixes (EasyFix1 is the one recommended on the forums) to improve HF performance that include removing more components, and replacing some others. 

The HF fix for the LimeSDR. Remove this inductor.
The HF fix for the LimeSDR. Remove this inductor.

We performed the EasyFix1 mod, which involved removing one inductor on the PCB. Removal was very simple with a soldering iron. Even without a soldering iron it could probably be forcefully removed with some tweezers. After removing that inductor we saw HF spring back into life, with reception working all the way down to the MW broadcast AM band.

LF reception still seems to be a bit weak. We were able to receive an NDB down to about 300 kHz, but very weakly in comparison to other SDRs.

The image below shows the difference in HF reception before and after the mod.

Before and after the mod. Bottom waterfall shows signal levels before the mod, top waterfall shows signal levels after removing the inductor.
Before and after the mod. Bottom waterfall shows signal levels before the inductor mod, top waterfall shows signal levels after removing the inductor.

Fortunately it seems that LimeSDR is trying to make this right, and just today they issued an update that confirms the issue and offers a fix. They are offering an option for unshipped boards to be modified to improve HF performance before they ship out, and a replacement option for those who have already received boards. The deadline for applying for a modification is February 21, 2017.

Continue reading

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.