Category: News

xMASS SDR – 8×8 MIMO Transceiver for 4G/5G Applications to be Crowd Funded

Thank you to creators Sergey and Andrew who have submitted news about their upcoming software defined radio called 'xMASS SDR'. xMASS will be a SDR with 8 RX and 8 TX channels, with a max sample rate of 60 MSPS per 8 channels, or 100 MSPS per 4 channels, and a frequency range of 30 - 3800 MHz.

The board comes in a modular PCIe form factor, with 4x FPGAs, and GPS/PPS clock sync input. The system is designed in mind for 4G/5G applications but should be useful for other applications too.

xMASS SDR will be crowd-funded on CrowdSupply, and they note that they expect to launch the campaign soon. So if you are interested, sign up for email updates on their CrowdSupply page.

Sergey and Andrew write:

We’re creators (Sergey Kostanbaev and Anrew Avtushenko) of the M.2 uSDR board that we successfully crowdsourced a year ago. Now we want to share our new invention called xMASS SDR, a modular, high-performance MIMO transceiver. It has 8 RX and 8 TX channels that can be synchronized for directional finding, beamforming and more applications. Each SDR module, called xSDR, is based on the LMS7002M chip and can deliver 2 RX and 2 TX channels. Like uSDR, xSDR shares the same form factor and M.2 pinout and both use the same open-source software and gateware stack.

xMASS SDR is ideal for 4G/5G but can be interesting among academic, industrial and advanced hobbyists. 

The xMASS SDR board connected via PCIe on a motherboard.
The xMASS SDR board connected via PCIe on a motherboard.
The xMASS SDR board with 4x uSDR modules by itself.
The xMASS SDR board with 4x modules by itself.

Airspy HF+ Ranger: A New Airspy Product Teased

Over on Twitter/X @lamdbaprog, creator of Airspy products and the SDRSharp software has teased his next upcoming software-defined radio hardware called the "Airspy HF+ Ranger". The Airspy HF+ Ranger prototype was also seen at the Dayton Hamvention through their local Airspy.us reseller.

The specifications appear to be very impressive, with a wide frequency range of 0.5 kHz to 1750 MHz and excellent sensitivity, linearity, and dynamic range figures. The Ranger is based on the same main RF chips used in the HF+ Discovery, so it will retain the relatively small maximum bandwidth capability of 710 kHz. However, for many use-cases this small bandwidth is more than sufficient.

Currently, there is no word on a release date or pricing but given the prototype status, it must be close. We expect this to be priced higher than the Airspy HF+ Discovery which sells for US$169.

Update: A page for the Airspy Ranger is now on the Airspy website. It shows a block diagram and further details. RTL-SDR.COM reader Ladislav has also sent us a PDF with the specs and a Dynamic Performance graph.

Over on Twitter/X, patrons of the Dayton Hamvention event have posted a few pictures of the display.

@lamdbaprog also demonstrates the incredible dynamic range of the Ranger when up against strong pager signals in Paris.

SDRplay RSPdx-R2 Released

SDRplay has announced the release of their latest product, the SDRplay RSPdx-R2. The RSPdx-R2 is advertised as an enhanced version of their RSPdx software-defined radio. The press release from SDRplay reads:

Jon Hudson, SDRplay Sales and Marketing Director said “Global supply chain support issues have prompted some redesign of existing products to ensure continued supply for our UK manufacturing partners. With each new member of the RSP family, SDRplay tries to include improvements. This has given us the opportunity to offer performance enhancements at the same time as assuring supply”.

  • The RSPdx-R2 provides up to 10MHz spectrum visibility anywhere from 1kHZ to 2GHz with no gaps. It features:
  • Improvements to the RSPdx for MF frequencies and below:
    • Improved noise performance below 1MHz
    • Improved dynamic range below 2MHz both in tuner mode and HDR mode
  • 3 Software selectable inputs, including a BNC input for up to 200MHz
  • A 500kHz LPF for LF/VLF
  • HDR mode for enhanced performance under 2MHz
  • Notch filters on all inputs
  • A rugged steel case

More details on https://www.sdrplay.com/rspdxR2/

The suggested retail price is £188.00 GBP (excluding VAT), $235.00 USD (excluding tax) or €225.60 EUR (excluding tax).

SDRplay recently launched their free multiplatform SDRconnect software which as well as running on Windows, will also run on MacOS and Linux/Raspberry Pi. As with their SDRuno windows software, the emphasis is on “plug and play” making the SDRplay receivers an easy-to-use and low-cost way to discover (or rediscover) the radio hobby for anyone who already uses a computer.

SDRplay has also provided the datasheet of the RSPdx-R2 which can be downloaded here.

The new RSPdx-R2
The new RSPdx-R2
Introducing the SDRplay RSPdxR2

DeepRad: Upcoming Modular RTL-SDR System to be CrowdFunded

The company "DeepSea Developments" have recently released news about their upcoming crowdfunding campaign for their 'DeepRad' modular RTL-SDR system. The goal of DeepRad appears to be a modular RTL-SDR that can easily be used as a module on a 'motherboard' PCB of your own design.

DeepRad is currently in the 'Coming Soon' stage on CrowdSupply, and will probably be released for crowdfunding in the next few months.

DeepRad is a modular version of the RTL-SDR, a product beloved by radio enthusiasts. However, DeepRad offers distinct advantages. Its modularity makes integration far simpler, side-stepping the complexities of designing an RTL-SDR from scratch (such as RF considerations and chip stocking issues). DeepRad is a versatile option for integrating many different radio functions into whatever projects you’re working on today.

We want the community to create their own "motherboards" with 1, 3, or as many as 20 DeepRad modules to bring new applications to life. There are three versions of DeepRad we’ll be focusing on for this campaign:

  • DeepRad Module: The bare DeepRad module (no motherboard). The user has to develop a board to use it.
  • DeepRad Single: A single DeepRad module with a motherboard. It has USB Type-C and an antenna connection. It can be used as your regular RTL-SDR with USB.
  • DeepRad Quad: A motherboard with 4 DeepRad modules integrated via a USB hub with a USB Type-A connector.
The DeepRad Quad Motherboard with Four DeepRad Modules

Flipper Zero Starts a Petition To Fight Canada Ban

Back in early February we reported about how the Canadian government is making plans to completely ban the Flipper Zero, and popular pentesting tool. The wording from Dominic LeBlanc, Canada's Minister of Public Safety, also implies that software defined radio devices could also be banned.

The reason for the ban is because the Canadian government claims that Flipper Zero and 'consumer hacking devices' are commonly being used as tools for high tech vehicle theft. However, as mentioned in the previous post, this has been debunked.

The team behind Flipper Zero have recently started a petition on change.org to stop the ban. At the time of this post the petition has already reached over 8,000 signature. The team have also penned a comprehensive "Response to the Canadian government" blog post, explaining why the ban makes no sense. In the post they debunk the myth of Flipper Zero being used for car theft, and show the real way high tech car theft is being done.

Meteor M2-4 has not failed – it is still in the testing phase

Thank you to Robin OK9UWU who wanted to point out that the recently launched Russian Meteor M2-4 weather satellite has not failed. There have recently been rumors and videos being spread online claiming that the satellite has already failed as the LRPT and HRPT signals are currently offline.

However, the satellite is still in a testing phase and was only briefly transmitting images for a few days after launch. It is difficult to find official updates from Roskosmos, the Russian space agency, but Robin explains his thoughts on what is happening:

The satellite in question, Meteor-M N°2-4 did not fail. The reason for both the LRPT and HRPT transmitters to be off is that the primary instrument (MSU-MR) is currently undergoing a routine cleaning process to get the IR channels up and running correctly.

It's completely normal.

Other reason why it's off could be that they are testing the MeteoSAR instrument (2-4 is the first sat of this series to have this), hence why unnecessary radios might have been taken offline.

It's important to understand that these satellites are being used to do actual science, weather forecasting etc. They require careful testing and calibration which might take some time. It's not just for "cool imagery".

For example, it took months to get the VIIRS instrument running onboard of the NOAA-21 satellite.

Keep calm and nerdy!

spaceintel101.com's infographic about the Meteor M2-4 Launch
spaceintel101.com's infographic about the Meteor M2-4 Launch

Great Scott Gadgets URTI: Phase Two Progress Report

Over on their GitHub, Great Scott Gadgets, creators of the popular HackRF SDR, have created a phase two progress report for their upcoming URTI product. URTI (Universal Radio Test Instrument) is their next generation software defined radio which will work not only as a full-duplex SDR transceiver, but also as a vector network analyzer, spectrum analyzer and more.

In the phase two update they note that they have completed fabrication of an initial prototype board and have confirmed that all components on the board are functional. They note that much of phase four was already completed in parallel, which means the firmware and gateware development is also close to completion. So hopefully we will see more updates soon.

More information about URTI can be found at greatscottgadgets.com/urti.

URTI (Universal Radio Test Instrument) First Prototype Board

KiwiSDR 2 Now Available For Purchase

Back in August 2023 we posted about the pre-announcement of the KiwiSDR 2, an upgraded version of the original KiwiSDR. Most of the upgrades are minor or due to some chips becoming EOL. The main upgrades are an enhanced RF front end and the addition of a digital attenuator. One change is also the manufacturing country. Instead of being manufactured in China, the KiwiSDR 2 is now manufactured in New Zealand.

The new KiwiSDR 2 can be purchased from kiwisdr.nz. Pricing is $648 NZD ($395 USD) for the full KiwiSDR 2 cape + Beaglebone and enclosure set. The cape by itself is also available for $484 NZD ($295 USD). Currently the second production run is selling, and a third production run is in progress. 

Previously the original KiwiSDR sold for $299 USD. Considering inflation, component changes and additions, and the change to a more expensive country to manufacture in, the price increase seems reasonable. 

KiwiSDR is a 14-bit wideband RX only HF software defined radio created by John Seamons (ZL/KF6VO). The KiwiSDR has up to 32 MHz of bandwidth, so it can receive the entire 10 kHz - 30 MHz VLF/LF/MW/HF spectrum all at once. Other than the specifications, the main interesting feature about the KiwiSDR is that it is designed to be operated entirely as an online web based SDR which is accessed over a network connection. Owners can optionally share their KiwiSDRs online with anyone who wants to access it, which also allows for interesting distributed applications, such as TDoA direction finding, which allows users to pinpoint the location of unknown HF transmissions such as numbers stations.

KiwiSDR 2 with BeagleBone and Enclosure Set