Tagged: psion wavefinder

A teardown of the early 2000’s Psion Wavefinder DAB SDR Receiver

The Psion Wavefinder was one of the first applications of SDR technology in consumer electronics. It was a Windows PC based USD DAB SDR radio receiver that released in the UK in October of the year 2000, for an initial price of £299. (In comparison RTL-SDR wasn't discovered until 2012).

Digital Audio Broadcast (DAB) is a digital replacement for analog broadcast FM. It provides high quality digital audio at the expense of higher cost receivers, and possibly greater difficulty with reception in weak or challenging RF environments. DAB is mostly only used in Europe and Asia Pacific regions, and is not found in the USA.

Due to the lack of popularity of DAB, combined with show stopping bugs in the official software (as seen in reviews), the Psion Wavefinder flopped as a product, and was promptly reduced to £49.99, and out of production by the year 2002.

Over on his YouTube channel backofficeshow, Andrew claims the Wavefinder as the first SDR Radio device and has filmed a teardown, and demonstration of the device working in a Windows XP virtual machine.

The main chips on the device consist of a CPLD DSP, RISC based USB controller, RAM and a fixed point DSP processor. According to some further information from a compatible third party Linux program called dabtools, the Wavefinder performs the COFDM demodulation in hardware on the DSP chips and then transfers the samples over USB for further SDR processing on the host computer.

Psion Wavefinder - The first SDR Radio Device