Category: Other

Artemis 4 Released: Offline Signal Identification Database

Back in 2019 we posted about the release of Artemis 3, an open-source multi-platform program that makes searching through the Signal Identification Wiki offline possible and easy to do.

Recently Artemis 4 has been released which is an entire rewrite of the code, resulting in some substantial improvements, and paving the way for future features like machine learning based identification. Author Marco Dalla Tiezza writes:

  • Artemis was initially designed to provide an offline solution for consulting the library of signals provided by the community on sigidwiki, but the database was formerly a simple .csv with all its limitations. Now the database is a proper relational sqlite which is much easier handled and offers many other possibilities like: additional fields (for example, each frequency of a signal can contain a description and this is true for every single parameter), faster db operations (for example, filtering signals is done by a simple query), increased extensibility due to the fact that new fields/parameters can be introduced in the future or by the user itself.
  • The only searchable database with Artemis 3 was the Sigid wiki database.Now, with Artemis 4, users can create their own custom databases, enter an arbitrary number of signals and parameters, attach documents or any useful information, and export it by sharing it with their friends.
  • The documentation has been completely revised to be as clear as possible and to be able to take the user from installation to advanced use of the program by giving instructions on how they can contribute to the project. DOCUMENTATION
  • As usual, the program provides a real-time interface to be able to track space weather in near real-time, but now this module is more focused on RF propagation such as meteor scatter, EME, sporadic E, aurora spots, DRAP, aurora forecasts and many more (we are actively adding useful descriptors).
  • Artemis 4 now relies on the PySide 6 graphics framework, which not only allows for a modern and newer, user-customizable GUI but also allows for less use of third-party libraries to run the program.
  • Given the flexibility and especially the modularity of the new software, it is very likely that signal analysis functions will be introduced in the future (such as automatic recognition of signals via machine learning/neural network or simpler ones like FFT for obtaining ACF from an audio file, etc.)
  • The homepage of the project (https://www.aresvalley.com) as been updated as well and there you can see some screenshots or directly download the software to give it a try.

If you weren't aware, the Signal Identification Wiki (sigidwiki) is our sister site, which we started a few years ago to collect and catalog various types of signals that an SDR user might see and hear on the airwaves. The idea is that a user could search the database to learn about and identify unknown signals. Over time it has grown significantly, now over 500 known signals with both waterfall images and sound samples available in the database. We have since handed over the operation of the Wiki to the community, with Carl Colena taking on the lead.

Artemis 4 Screenshot

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.

QCSuper: Capture 2G/3G/4G/5G Radio Frames with Qualcomm Phones

In the past, we've shown how it's possible to use RTL-SDRs or other SDR devices together with the Airprobe software to analyze data from 2G GSM mobile phones and towers. (Note that it's not possible to listen in on conversations or read SMS data unless you have the encryption code for the recipient phone. This is only capable of showing cell tower basestation telemetry for example).

While not directly related to SDR, readers might be interested to know that a new piece of software called QCSuper has been released which enables similar analysis capabilities for 2G/3G/4G/5G signals through the use of Qualcomm-based phones and modem hardware. To use it you will need a rooted Android phone. The software accesses a diagnostics mode available in Qualcomm devices and makes the data available for view on Wireshark.

[Also seen on Hackaday]

QCSuper Screenshot
QCSuper Screenshot

FobosSDR: A New SDR Receiver with 100 kHz to 6 GHz Tuning Range and 50 MHz Bandwidth for $395

Recently we've seen that a new SDR from the Ukrainian company RigExpert has been released. The RX-only USB3.0 SDR is called 'FobosSDR' and it has a 100 kHz to 6 GHz tuning range, 50 MHz of bandwidth, and 14-bit resolution. Apart from a standard RF input, it also has two auxiliary input channels for coherent direct sampling and clock in and out ports.

In terms of software support, the FobosSDR supports HDSDR, and interestingly a very old version of SDR# (SDR# 1716) through a plugin. They also have a GNU Radio block.

The design is based on the LTC2143 ADC and uses a wideband RFFC5072 mixer on the front end which feeds into a MAX2830 transceiver chip.

RigExpert products are carried by a number of resellers across the world, but FobosSDR does not yet appear to be available from any that we checked. So far we have not seen any reviews or demonstrations of the product in action, but will update if we do.

FobosSDR

Tech Minds: Reviewing the Malahit DSP1 SDR Receiver 50KHz – 2GHz

Over on the Tech Minds YouTube channel, Matt has uploaded a new review and demonstration of a Malahiteam DSP1 SDR Receiver 50KHz - 2GHz. This particular unit appears to be a Chinese clone unit which is actually called a 'Malahit SDR'. The Russian company Malahiteam makes the original units, and they come in a different enclosure and feature the full Malahiteam logo.

In the video Matt shows this version of the Malahit DSP1 in action, noting that the built-in speakers sound great and that RF performance seems to be good. He does however note that the enclosure is a bit cheap, being built out of PCB boards, and that the top encoder knob sometimes doesn't work properly. Overall Matt mentions that he probably wouldn't buy it at the current ~US$180 price point, noting that better newer models like the DSP2 and DSP3 already exist. 

Malahiteam DSP SDR Receiver 50KHz - 2GHz

New Tool to Convert Between SDR# and SDR++ Frequency List Formats

Thank you to 'thewsoftware' over on our forums who has shared with us his SDR# <-> SDR++ frequency list converter (sdrfc) software. SDR# and SDR++ are two popular SDR programs often used with the RTL-SDR, but each uses a different format for storing custom frequency lists.

The new sdrfc tool allows users to easily convert frequency lists between SDR# and SDR++ formats, so you don't need to manually type out a frequency list for both programs.

The sdrfc is a Windows command line tool and instructions for using it can be found on the GitHub Readme. A release zip file is available on the GitHub Releases page.

SDR# <-> SDR++ Frequency Converter Readme

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

Tech Minds: Testing Meshtastic Compatible Lilygo LoRa Devices

In the latest video on the Tech Minds YouTube channel Matt tests out the Meshtastic software running on varius Lilygo LoRa devices. Meshtastic is software that can run on cheap LoRa hardware that enables off-grid mesh network based communications.

Being mesh network based means that there are no central repeaters, and instead each device can extend the range of the network by being a repeater itself. Meshtastic can run on various cheap 'Lilygo' branded LoRa devices that come in 433, 868 or 915 MHz license free frequencies depending on your regional band plan.

In his video Matt tests out various models in the Lilygo range, including a ESP32 based wrist watch and he also shows how to install the firmware on each using the online flasher.

Meshtastic Compatible Lilygo Lora Devices