Tagged: packet radio

A brief look at the FaradayRF

The FaradayRF is not a software defined radio, but it is a computer controlled digital TX/RX radio device. Basically it is a radio designed to communicate digital data over the 33 cm ham/ISM band. The 33 cm band is between 902 to 928 MHz in the ITU Region 2 area (Americas, Canada, Greenland and some pacific islands). It was designed for amateur radio operators out of the need for a device that allows for easy experimentation with digital radio. An amateur radio licence is required, but only at the technician level which is the easiest licence to obtain.

The product itself is a simple PCB which has on board a low power microcontroller (no OS), a GPS module, and an RF front end that can TX up to 400 mW. They write that with 400 mW a signal at 900 MHz can be transmitted up to 40 miles away. Also, by using low power micro-controllers and hardware radio (instead of SDR), they write that they were able to power the device from a single 9V battery for over 12 hours. The hardware and software is also all open source.

In some ways the FaradayRF is kind of similar to the Yardstick One/PandwaRF radios which were designed for reverse engineering or security research on digital signals. But the FaradayRF comes with SAW filtering to provide a clean output, an amplifier to boost the signal, and software aimed at providing digital comms making it more for amateur radio use.

Some applications might include point to point telemetry/comms, high altitude balloons, ocean buoys, digital voice, APRS, text messaging etc.

The FaradayRF starter set currently costs $300 USD and includes two units (one with GPS included and another without) or $330 USD with two GPS capable units.

Over on TwiT the creators were interviewed earlier on in the year and a video of that interview is available. Also check out their blog which shows some of the interesting things that they're doing with the FaradayRF.

The FaradayRF PCB
The FaradayRF PCB

There was also a 5 minute "lightning talk" about the FaradayRF presented at the DCC 2017 conference, which we show below. The talk about the FaradayRF starts at 9:57.

HRN 354: Lightning Talks from the 2017 DCC on Ham Radio Now


Linux Command Line based Doppler Correction and Demodulation Tools

Programmer Andres has recently been working on creating a toolset for receiving AX.25 packets (FSK 9600) from satellites with an RTL-SDR or other software defined radio. The AX.25 protocol is commonly used for APRS packet radio or telemetry in amateur radio satellites. Andres’ programs focus on using a true UNIX philosophy of piping data between different programs. The toolset consists of doppler correction and demodulation tools and the piping philosophy is demonstrated in the following example:

rtl_sdr | doppler | demod | multimon-ng

Andres writes…

rtl_sdr receives raw IQ data from satellites which is then piped to “doppler” which corrects doppler offset. Zero centered baseband signal is piped to “demod” which outputs demodulated audio suitable for multimon-ng to do actual AX.25 packet decoding.

Such pipeline is intended for resource constrained embedded platforms like RaspberryPi or BeagleBoneBlack where running full blown SDR software would be too much.

The doppler corrector tool works by using the same libraries for calculating satellite positions as those used in Gpredict and the demod tool uses the liquid-dsp library to demodulate the IQ stream.

More information about Andres’ project can be found in these three blog posts that he has written.

Andres also writes that he would be interested in hearing any feedback or pull requests on GitHub for these tools.

ISS Packet Repeater Received with RTL-SDR

YouTube user ronpaulatemybaby has posted a video showing his reception of the International Space Station (ISS) amateur packet repeater on 145.825 MHz, using the rtl-sdr. He used a R820T dongle, two meter dipole, SDRSharp and decoding software MixW.

RTL SDR International Space Station Packet Repeater 145.825 Mhz