Category: PlutoSDR

FOSDEM 2024 Videos now Available: Synthetic Aperture WiFi RADAR, GPU DSP Acceleration and more

FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Developer’s Meeting) is a yearly conference that took place in Brussels, Belgium on 3 - 4 February 2024. This conference featured a room on Software Defined Radio and Amateur Radio.

Recently the videos of most the talks have been uploaded to their website. Some interesting talks include:

Covert Ground Based Synthetic Aperture RADAR using a WiFi emitter and SDR receiver

Link to Talk Page

Using a WiFi emitter as radiofrequency source illuminating a scene under investigation for slow movement (e.g. landslides), a Ground-Based Synthetic Aperture RADAR (GB-SAR) is assembled using commercial, off the shelf hardware. The dual-channel coherent Software Defined Radio (SDR) receiver records the non-cooperative emitter signal as well as the signal received by a surveillance antenna facing the scene. Spatial diversity for azimuth mapping using direction of arrival measurement is achieved by moving the transmitter and receiver setup on a rail along a meter-long path -- the longer the better the azimuth resolution -- with quarter wavelength steps. The fully embedded application runs on a Raspberry Pi 4 single board computer executing GNU Radio on a Buildroot-generated GNU/Linux operating system. All development files are available at

Synthetic Aperture RADAR with WiFi and USRP SDR

Using GPU for real-time SDR Signal processing

Link to Talk Page

GPU processors have become essential for image or AI processing. Can they bring anything to real-time signal processing for SDR applications? The answer is yes, of course, but not all classic algorithms (FIR, DDC, etc.) can be used "as is", sometimes a different approach must be taken. In this presentation, I will share the solutions that I implemented to achieve multi-channel DDC on NVIDIA Jetson GPU and will make a comparison with "classic CPU" approaches.

Using GPU's for Real Time Signal Processing

Maia SDR: an open-source FPGA-based project for AD936x+Zynq radios

Link to Talk Page

Maia SDR is an open-source project with the main goal of promoting FPGA development for SDR and increasing the collaboration between the open-source SDR and FPGA communities. Currently it provides a firmware image for the ADALM Pluto and other radios based on the AD936x and Zynq. This firmware can display a real-time waterfall at up to 61.44 Msps in a WebSDR-like interface using WebGL2 rendering, and record IQ data in SigMF format in the SDR DDR. The FPGA design is implemented in Amaranth, an Python-based HDL, and the software stack is implemented in Rust, targetting the embedded ARM CPU and WebAssembly.

The first firmware version was released in February 2023, and the project was presented in June in the Software Defined Radio Academy. In this talk we cover the progress since the summer, including the addition of support for devices such as the Pluto+ and AntSDR. We focus on the technical details of the project and the possibilities for re-using some of the components in other projects.

Maia SDR

DAPNET: Bringing pagers back to the 21st Century

Link to Talk Page

When talking about pagers, most of us will think about an object of the past, often seen in TV shows from the 90s, used by medical staff and businessmen. However, they're an interesting way to get simple data broadcast over amateur radio frequencies, with receivers that can be built for less than 20€. We'll explore this and understand how an extensive network can be deployed with simple equipment and using open source hardware and software.


Building a Drone Tracking Radar with the ADALM-PHASER and PlutoSDR

The ADALM-PHASER is a kit designed to provide experience with phased array beamforming and radar concepts. The kit consists of a PlutoSDR, mixers, LO synthesizer, ADAR1000 beamformer chip, LNAs and array of patch antennas. It operates between 10-11 GHz, has 500 MHz BW FMCW chirps, and has 8 receive channels and 2 transmit channels. It is an open source kit that costs US$2800, and it is produced and available from Analog Devices. Currently the kit appears to not be in stock, but they note that they are working on getting more stock in soon.

The ADALM-PHASER a phased array kit for implementing radar and other phased array experiments.
The ADALM-PHASER a phased array kit for implementing radar and other phased array experiments.

Over on YouTube, Jon Kraft who appears to be affiliated with Analog Devices, is working on a series of videos that will ultimately result in a drone tracking radar being built with the ADALM-PHASER. Currently two videos have been released.

The first is an overview of radar concepts, giving an explanation of pulsed vs CW radar, and the various hardware options we have to implement low cost versions of these methods.

The second video covers more radar concepts like range resolution and shows us how to build a CW radar with the ADALM-PHASER system.

The three remaining videos are yet to be released, so keep an eye on his channel for updates.

Build Your Own Drone Tracking Radar: Part 1

Build Your Own Drone Tracking Radar: Part 2 CW Radar

DATV-Red: An Interface for Controlling PlutoSDR in Node-RED

Thank you to Ohan Smit (ZS1SCI) for submitting news that he has published his software called DATV-Red over on GitHub. The software is open source and is design to be an interface for controlling a PlutoSDR in Node-RED.

The PlutoSDR is a low cost RX/TX capable SDR with up to 56 MHz of bandwidth and 70 MHz to 6 GHz frequency range (with mods). Node-RED is a visual programming tool for creating JavaScript functions.

Ohan writes:

I've built an interface for controlling the plutosdr in Node-red.

It works on the latest PlutoDVB firmware.

It is cross platform since it is web based.

Currently the scope is focussed on QO-100 use, yet with the latest addition of the RX spectrum from the Pluto's onboard web socket, the focus would shift to a general spectrum analysis and RF operation with special operational DATV features

[It is] a work in progress.

DATV-Red: An interface for controlling the PlutoSDR in Node-RED

André shares his QO-100 Ground Station and HF/VHF/UHF Station

Thank you to reader André for submitting and sharing with us his QO-100 ground station setup. The setup also includes antennas and equipment to receive HF and VHF/UHF. His setup can serve as an example of a well set up permanent installation.

André's set up consists of a 1.8 meter prime focus dish, Raspberry Pi 4, GPIO connected relay, Airspy R2, Ham-it-up upconverter, coaxial relay for switching between Mini-Whip and Discone Antenna, and FM bandstop filter and a power terminal rail block. The Airspy R2 is used for HF/UHF/UHF reception and the antennas and upconverter are all controlled via a web connected relay system. All equipment is enclosed in an outdoor rated box, and André notes everything has been working well from temperatures range from -10C to 35C.

Inside the satellite dish feed is housed an Adalm Pluto SDR, and a wideband LNA and a USB to LAN converter with power over Ethernet. A small log periodic Yagi serves as the feed. In order to work the wideband DATV band on Qo-100, André' swaps out this feed for a custom feed and brings the PlutoSDR indoors where it is connected to a 120W Spectran Amplifier and modulator.

For the full writeup of his setup, we have uploaded André's document here.

André's ground station setup for QO-100 and HF/VHF/UHF

TechMinds: Reviewing the ANTSDR E200

A few days ago we posted about the upcoming crowdfunding campaign of the MicroPhase AntSDR E200, an SDR that is very similar to the PlutoSDR, but with a much larger FPGA and more stable TCXO. One interesting feature is that it can run PlutoSDR or USRP firmware, allowing it to work with software that supports either hardware.

Over on YouTube Matt from the TechMinds YouTube channel has received an early unit and uploaded a video review.

In the video Matt explains the features and specifications of the ANTSDR E200, shows how to set it up with either the PlutoSDR or USRP firmware, and then demonstrates it working in SDR Console and SDR Angel as an emulated PlutoSDR. He goes on to show how to install and run the USRP UHD firmware, where the ANTSDR emulates an USRP b205mini.


ANTSDR E200 set to begin Crowdfunding on CrowdSupply soon

The AntSDR E200 is a software defined radio from Microphase which will come in two flavors. The first is the 'AD9363" version with 2x2 RX/TX and a 325 - 3.8 GHz tuning range, 20 MHz bandwidth and 12-bit ADC. The second is their higher end 'AD9361' version with 2x2 RX/TX, 70 MHz - 6 GHz tuning range, 56 MHz bandwidth and 12-bit ADC.

It is currently in the prelaunch phase on CrowdSupply.

The AntSDR E200 is is based on the AD9363 / AD9361 RF SDR chips which are used in many existing mid-range software defined radios like the PlutoSDR, bladeRF and Ettus USRP's.

The design itself is very similar to the PlutoSDR and Errus B205mini, and in fact the developer has ported firmware from PlutoSDR and the Ettus UHD that allows the device to work just like those devices. It is not yet known if the AD9363 frequency range extension hack available on the PlutoSDR, and the bandwidth overclock hack on the bladeRF will be possible with the AntSDR E200 as well.

Pricing is yet to be displayed on CrowdSupply, however the the AD9363 version appears to already be available for purchase on Aliexpress for US$364.25. Update: Microphase have explained that the units on Aliexpress are not officially authorized units and the Aliexpress price is much higher than what they will charge during the crowdfunding phase.

The AntSDR E200
ANTSDR-E200 demo video

Also, over on YouTube DragonOS creator Aaron has already been testing his AntSDR with srsRAN, which is an open-source program that can create 4G and 5G basestations with compatible SDRs like the USRP. Using the modified UHD firmware, Aaron was able to get up and running with the AntSDR E200 very quickly.

DragonOS FocalX E200 w/ Osmo-Nitb-Scrips, srsRAN, and SDRAngel Preview (ANTSDR, b205mini, R29+)

Using a PlutoSDR as a Monopulse Tracker

Over on YouTube Jon Kraft has been uploading videos explaining some interesting beamforming experiments he's been doing with his PlutoSDR. One experiment shows how to create a DIY monopulse tracker, which is a type of radio direction finding technique.

The PlutoSDR has two RX ports and two TX ports, and in this experiment he uses two directional antennas for the RX and one monopole antenna for the TX. Part 1 of this series explains standard phased array beam forming, and part 2 moves on to explain monopulse with adaptive tracking.

If you were interested in this, check out Jon's other videos on his channel. A recent video explains how time delays work in digital beamforming.

Build Your Own Phased Array Beamformer

Monopulse Tracking with a Low Cost Pluto SDR

Harvey Mudd College Learn SDR Course with RTL-SDR, PlutoSDR and GNU Radio on YouTube

Professor Jason from Harvery Mudd College in California has recently uploaded a 23 lesson video series on software defined radio digital signal processing (DSP) concepts that can be learned with an RTL-SDR, PlutoSDR and GNU Radio.

If you're looking for a University level introduction to DSP this looks like a good hand on approach to learning. It covers concepts from a simple FM radio receove in GNU Radio, to doppler radar with PlutoSDR, to digital modulation, pulse shaping, GPS reception and more.

All the GNU Radio flowgraphs are available on their class GitHub as well.

Playlist: Learn SDR with Prof Jason