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 is one of America's foremost authorities on broadcast RF technology. He has been with NBC since 1985 and is currently vice president of broadcast technology for NBC/Telemundo stations.