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.
If you weren't aware KerberosSDR is our 4-channel phase coherent capable RTL-SDR unit that we previously crowdfunded back in 2018. With a 4-channel phase coherent RTL-SDR interesting applications like radio direction finding (RDF), passive radar and beam forming become possible. It can also be used as 4 separate RTL-SDRs for multichannel monitoring.
In previous posts we've shown some interesting experiments performed with the KerberosSDR. For example:
We note that V2 of our KerberosSDR demo software is also on the way but a little delayed. We are aiming to release a beta around the end of the year, or early next year at the latest. The new software will have better handling of bursty intermittent signals, and paves the way for new developments coming in 2021 such as combined passive radar direction finding.
On this weeks episode of SignalsEverywhere, host Corrosive tests out our KerberosSDR coherent RTL-SDR unit for radio direction finding. If you didn't already know KerberosSDR is our experimental 4x Coherent RTL-SDR product. With it, coherent applications like radio direction finding (RDF) and passive radar are possible. Together with the KerberosSDR direction finding Android app it is possible to visualize the direction finding data produced by a KerberosSDR running on a Pi3/Tinkerboard.
In the video Corrosive uses the KerberosSDR together with the recently updated companion Android app to determine the location of a P25 control channel. By driving around with the app constantly collecting data he's able to pinpoint the location within about 15 minutes.
In addition to his video, Corrosive has also created a very useful calculator that can be used to calculate the required antenna spacing for a circular or linear direction finding array that can be used with the KerberosSDR.
We have just released an updated version of the KerberosSDR Android direction finding app. If you didn't already know KerberosSDR is our experimental 4x Coherent RTL-SDR product. With it, coherent applications like radio direction finding (RDF) and passive radar are possible. Together with the KerberosSDR direction finding Android app it is possible to visualize the direction finding data produced by a KerberosSDR running on a Pi3/Tinkerboard.
The KerberosSDR hardware is currently in preorder status on Indiegogo for the second production batch, and we expect it to be ready to ship out this month. If you preorder then you'll be able to purchase a KerberosSDR at a reduced price of USD$130. After shipping for batch two begins the price will rise to USD$150.
The new version of the KerberosSDR Android app adds the following features:
Heatmap Grid Plotting
Precise TX location pinpointing when enough data points are gathered
Turn by turn navigation to the RDF bearing direction / TX location
Bearing moving average smoothing
To understand what these features are, we've released two demo videos showing them in action. In the first video we use the new features to find an 858 MHz TETRA transmitter, and in the second video we find a 415 MHz DMR transmitter. The first video explains the new features so we recommend watching that first.
KerberosSDR Radio Direction Finding: Heatmap + Auto Navigation to Transmitter Location Demo 1
KerberosSDR Radio Direction Finding: Heatmap + Auto Navigation to Transmitter Location Demo 2
Something we missed posting about from last year was this presentation on “RasHAWK”, a direction finding system (pdf) built out of a Raspberry Pi, an RTL-SDR and four antennas on a 4 way switch running software created with REDHAWK. REDHAWK is a visual DSP development platform that can be considered similar to GNU Radio or some parts of MATLAB. The authors write:
The RasHAWK team has used a Raspberry Pi as the basis for a networked RF sensor capable of supporting spectrum monitoring, signal intercept and direction finding (DF) operations.
Several RasHAWK sensors are deployed in a distributed sensor grid, wirelessly tethered to a command and control (C2) laptop. The system has the following key features and capabilities:
A simple operator interface to configure the sensors
Falling raster and PSD displays to monitor the spectrum for signal activity
Demodulate FM signals from target FRS radios and play audio on selected channels
Perform coarse DF on target emitters
Display a map of the surrounding terrain that is annotated with the positions of the sensors, the target emitter and calculated lines of bearing (LOB) to the target. The map provides a RF Common Operating Picture (COP) with can be viewed on WiFi enabled tablets or smartphones.
Each RawHAWK sensor can determine the bearing of transmitted signal. By combining several networked RasHAWK sensors at different locations they are able to pinpoint the actual location of the transmitter on a map.