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Freescale UHF Smart Radio Costs Less Than $3

Freescale's new MC12311 Smart Radio announced earlier this week isn't designed to transmit TV signals, but it shows just how much the design of radios has changed. This radio, which is contained in an 8x8, 60-pin LGA package is designed to be used as a transceiver in smart grid systems, getting information from and controlling devices to control energy use, and in other applications, including medical devices, where two-way data communications is needed.

The MC12311 has impressive specifications: sensitivity of up to -120 dBm at 1.2 kbps or -105 dBm at 38.4 kbps, power output of -18 to +17 dBm in 1 dB steps, receiver front-end third-order IMD (IIP3) of −18 dBm, and an IIP2 of +35 dBm, and support for multiple modulation systems – GFSK, MSK, GMSK, and OOK. A block diagram shows the design of the MC12311.

Searching through the datasheet, I found the unit is able to operate in three bands: 290–340 MHz, 424-510 MHz, and 862-1020 MHz. It seems amateur radio operators could use the radios to build very low cost data transceivers for the 420-450 MHz band.

Sample quantities of the device are available now from Freescale. Pricing starts at $2.79 per unit in 1000 unit quantities.