A recent firmware upgrade to bladeRF SDR devices has brought with it a feature that allows it to double it's instantaneous bandwidth from 61.44 MHz all the way up to 122.88 MHz. The trade off limitation is that the 122.88 MHz bandwidth mode runs at a lower 8-bit ADC bit depth.
This increase bandwidth comes from a discovery made on the AD9361 RF transceiver chip which allows it to essentially be overclocked. However, outputting 122.88 MHz of RF bandwidth at the original 16-bit ADC depth would be impossible due to USB 3.0 bandwidth limitations. So the data is reduced to 8-bits, and then packed into the 16-bit buffer.
One of the use cases of such a wide bandwidth is that now the entire 79 channels of the 2.4 GHz Bluetooth band can be viewed at once.
The new pricing is at quite a premium over the original LimeSDR Mini which released in 2017 for US$139, and the standard LimeSDR which released in 2016 for US$249. However we of course must to take into account the extreme inflation of electronic parts pricing that has occurred over the past few years.
Lime Micro have also noted that the standard LimeSDR has also now been discontinued due to the same supply shortages. The standard LimeSDR had 2x2 RX/TX channels and was capable of a bandwidth of up to 61.44 MHz. In comparison, both versions of the LimeSDR Mini are a 1x1 channel product with 40 MHz of bandwidth.
The LimeSDR Mini 2.0 is almost identical to the LimeSDR Mini 1.0, both still making use of the LMS7002 RF transceiver as the main chip and using the same overall design. The only change is an upgrade to the FPGA, which replaces the Intel MAX 10 16k logic gate FPGA with a significantly more capable Lattice ECP5 44k logic gate FPGA.
Given the new pricing, people on the lookout for a new hacker/research/experimenter SDR in this price range might want to consider this brief comparison to find the best suited SDR for your needs:
LimeSDR Mini 2.0- US$399
1x1 channels, 40 MHz bandwidth, 10 MHz to 3.5 GHz, 12-bits.
Since 2021 we've posted about Viol Tailor's "uSDR" (microSDR) software a couple of times. uSDR is a lightweight general purpose multimode program for Windows that supports the RTL-SDR, Airspy, BladeRF, HackRF and LimeSDR radios. The software can be downloaded from SourceForce.
Viol notes that recently the project has been updated to V1.5.0 which brings the following new features and changes.
lock device frequency on zoom option
keep waterfall history – the very great option, do not lose any rare signals
advanced passband IQ recorder
passband IQ TCP server for remote processing, C/C++ client source examples included
advanced audio player, auto selectable sample rate, separate left/right channels
markers import option convenient for merge markers
SDR++ is a general purpose receiver program compatible with almost any software defined radio including the RTL-SDR. Recent developments have seen the author release a beta of "SDR++ server" which is a program that allows users to access SDRs remotely, by connecting to them over a network connection. This is similar to existing server applications like rtl_tcp and Spyserver, however like SDR++ itself, SDR++ Server is compatible with almost any SDR and that is a major drawcard.
Today I'm happy to release the beta version of SDR++ Server! It works with all devices SDR++ supports. Since it's beta it's still missing compression and VFO+FFT mode.
As a demo, here is a LimeSDR being streamed over WiFi at 16MS/s
Get it here: https://t.co/DqvgHMZmm9#SDR#SDRPPpic.twitter.com/116JftzEOy
The server is still in development and the author notes that he is still working on adding new features like lossless compression techniques in order to reduce network bandwidth requirements. However, it has already seen to be running well in tests with a remote server positioned half way around the world, even without compression enabled.
Started working on adding lossless compression to SDR++ server. How well it works depends on what signals you're looking at and what SDR you're using. What I'm seeing with general purpose compression tables is 1.1 to 2.5 times compression (usually 1.5+). Custom tables should help pic.twitter.com/a1WRvxmdDs
Over on his blog Nils Schiffhauer (DK8OK) has recently uploaded a review of our RTL-SDR Blog Active L-Band Patch Antenna. This is a satellite patch antenna designed for experimenters who want to receive Inmarsat, Iridium, GPS and other GNSS signals. It covers 1525 - 1660 MHz. (Please note it does not cover GOES or other L-band weather satellites as these are much weaker signals that require a dish). The antenna comes as a set with mounting hardware and extension cable and can be purchased on our store for $49.95 including free worldwide shipping to most countries.
In his review Nils tests the patch antenna with his wideband BladeRF software defined radio showing a wide 60 MHz of bandwidth being received. He then goes on to show it being used to receive AERO, via the JAERO decoder, and STD-C via the Tekmanoid decoder.
We want to take this opportunity to pre-announce that due to rising shipping costs the price of this antenna set will be going up by $10 in early 2022. Before the price raise we will put out another post, but if you are interested in one we'd recommend picking one up soon.
SDRAngel is a general purpose software defined radio program that is compatible with most SDRs including the RTL-SDR. We've posted about it several times before on the blog, however we did not realize how much progress has occurred with developing various built in plugins and decoders for it.
Thanks to Jon for writing in and sharing with us a demonstration video that the SDRAngel team have released on their YouTube channel. From the video we can see that SDRAngel now comes stock with a whole host of built in decoders and apps for various radio applications making it close to an all-in-one SDR platform. The built in applications include:
ADS-B Decoder: Decodes aircraft ADS-B data and plots aircraft positions on a map
NOAA APT Decoder: Decodes NOAA weather satellite images (in black and white only)
DVB-S: Decodes and plays Digital TV DVB-S and DVB-S2 video
AIS: Decodes marine AIS data and plots vessel positions on a map
VOR: Decodes VOR aircraft navigational beacons, and plots bearing lines on a map, allowing you to determine your receivers position.
DAB+: Decodes and plays DAB digital audio signals
Radio Astronomy Hydrogen Line: With an appropriate radio telescope connected to the SDR, integrates and displays the Hydrogen Line FFT with various settings, and a map of the galaxy showing where your dish is pointing. Can also control a dish rotator.
Radio Astronomy Solar Observations: Similar to the Hydrogen line app, allows you to make solar measurements.
Broadcast FM: Decoding and playback. Includes RDS decoding.
Noise Figure Measurements: Together with a noise source you can measure the noise figure of a SDR.
Back in July we posted about the release of Viol Tailor's "uSDR" software, which is a lightweight general purpose multimode program for Windows which supports the RTL-SDR, Airspy, BladeRF, HackRF and LimeSDR radios. Recently Viol has updated the software to V1.4.0. The new release brings SDRplay support, and various performance and GUI improvements listed below.
The software is compatible with RTL-SDR, Airspy, BladeRF, HackRF and LimeSDR radios. It has features including demodulation, base band and pass band recording, playback, and spectrum and waterfall visualizations.