Level Ultra-Wideband Radio Module Could Be Used in TV White Spaces

Website HACKADAY.com describes itsTHP Semifinalist: Level, The Ultrawideband Radio Module as “a radio module with a frequency range of 30 MHz to 4.4 GHz that’ll cover just about everything, including some interesting applications in the TV whitespace.” THP stands for “The HACKADAY Prize” – “50 projects racing for a trip into space and the prestige of winning.”

In this case, “ultrawideband” refers to the frequencies the device can operate on, not an ultra-wide signal bandwidth, like the ground penetrating radars. The Level is described in a paper by Hunter Scott from the School of Electrical and Computer Technology, Georgia Institute of Technology. The signal is generated using a TI CC430 microcontroller that includes a sub-GHz CC1101 RF transceiver core. That transceiver is limited to operating in the 315/433/868/915 MHz ISM bands. Scott uses an ADF4351 wideband synthesizer and an ADEX-10L passive mixer to output a signal on frequencies between 35 to 1500 MHz. With a different mixer, the frequency range could be extend to 4.4 GHz. A SAW filter is used on the RF output of the CC430 to reduce spurious emissions. The CC1101 data sheet shows it has a data rate programmable from 0.6 to 600 kbps and can use several different modulation methods.

The board is Arduino compatible in that it will accept Arduino shields, making it possible to build a bridge to Ethernet or Wi-Fi.

This looks like an interesting project, with many opportunities to customize it!

More information, including schematics and hardware info, are available on Hunter Scott's GitHub site.

Doug Lung

Doug Lung is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. As vice president of Broadcast Technology for NBCUniversal Local, H. Douglas Lung leads NBC and Telemundo-owned stations’ RF and transmission affairs, including microwave, radars, satellite uplinks, and FCC technical filings. Beginning his career in 1976 at KSCI in Los Angeles, Lung has nearly 50 years of experience in broadcast television engineering. Beginning in 1985, he led the engineering department for what was to become the Telemundo network and station group, assisting in the design, construction and installation of the company’s broadcast and cable facilities. Other projects include work on the launch of Hawaii’s first UHF TV station, the rollout and testing of the ATSC mobile-handheld standard, and software development related to the incentive auction TV spectrum repack.
A longtime columnist for TV Technology, Doug is also a regular contributor to IEEE Broadcast Technology. He is the recipient of the 2023 NAB Television Engineering Award. He also received a Tech Leadership Award from TV Tech publisher Future plc in 2021 and is a member of the IEEE Broadcast Technology Society and the Society of Broadcast Engineers.