New software-defined radio shows promise

I reported on low cost SDRs in my TV Technology article Software-Defined Radios Help Explore RF Spectrum last July. One of the problems with these low-cost software-defined radios is that they don't have the bandwidth to receive an entire TV channel. A new device, the bladeRF USB 3.0 Software Defined Radio, looks as if it could be ideal for experimenting with different wideband transmission standards in the UHF and microwave bands.

The device covers 300 MHz to 3.8 GHz, encompassing the UHF TV bands and several BAS bands. It handles full duplex 28 MHz channels, so a 6 MHz wide TV signal, or a 25 MHz wide microwave signal, shouldn't be a problem. The board can transmit as well as receive, although additional amplification and filtering may be required.

This is a Kickstarter project, so there is a chance it may never achieve commercial success. However, you have the opportunity to fund the development of the bladeRF and receive one of the SDR boards in return. You can get the finished product for contributing as little as $400 to the development effort. For $600, you can get a finished board with a larger FPGA.

I'm tempted to order one of these.

Doug Lung

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.