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. 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.