Lime SDR

Top 5 Software Defined Radios (SDR) for RF Experimentation

In this article, I describe 5 of the most popular SDRs available for RF experimentation today. As a 6th member of this list, I include a surprisingly common and free SDR that can be used for your fun radio projects. Table of Contents Background Where We Came From Top SDRs  5. Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP)  4. LimeSDR  3. HackRF One  2. ADALM-Pluto  1. RTL-SDR  0. A Free SDR We start with a little bit of background and where we came from. Background Software Defined Radio (SDR) has revolutionized wireless communication in the same way Microsoft revolutionized the scope of

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A figurative example of IQ imbalance depicting potential sources of mismatches

Direct Conversion (Zero-IF) Receiver

The frontend of the transceiver plays a crucial role in determining the ultimate system performance. In a previous article, we described how a superheterodyne architecture helps in enhancing the selectivity and sensitivity of the receiver. Some of the main issues with a superheterydone receiver are the image frequency and a large form factor due to multiple conversion stages. Today we discuss a direct conversion architecture, also known as zero-IF and homodyne. Recall from the concept of frequency domain that a real sinusoid at the Local Oscillator (LO) output has two impulses in its spectrum, one at a positive frequency $+F_{\text{LO}}$

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Spectrum of the cascade of CIC filters with a wideband compensation filter for rate change factor 10, unit differential delay and 4 stages

Cascaded Integrator Comb (CIC) Filters – A Staircase of DSP

In olden days, people used to have lots of kids. A famous Urdu satirist once wrote: "It has been observed that the last kid is usually the most mischievous of them all. Therefore, there should be no last kid in a family!" I remembered this line today because I have observed that starting a write-up is the most difficult task of them all. Therefore, there is no introductory paragraph in this article. Suffice it to say that this is the only topic I have found that takes you from a very small first step (just two additions) to really advanced

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The image frequency problem of a superheterodyne Rx

The Heterodyne Principle and the Superheterodyne Receiver

During World War I, Edwin Howard Armstrong invented the superheterodyne Rx as an alternative to the Tuned Radio Frequency (TRF) receivers that moved a tunable filter to the desired signal. His purpose was to overcome their limitations in regard to selectivity and sensitivity. To understand the principle of a heterodyne receiver, a pictorial representation is of utmost importance. While this is generally true for all concepts, there are specific issues of spectral translations in receiver architectures that require nice and clear figures. This is how I proceed below. The Heterodyne Principle Instead of employing a tunable bandpass filter that is

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A quarter sample rate complex sinusoid

Spectral Shift without any Multiplications

One of the great advantages of Digital Signal Processing (DSP) is an unexpected simplification of operations in seemingly complicated scenarios. See the Cascade Integrator Comb (CIC) filters for how to accomplish the task of sample rate conversion along with filtering with minimal resources. As another example, in wireless communications and many other applications, a frequency translation is often required in which the spectrum of a signal centered at a particular frequency needs to be moved to another frequency. From the properties of Fourier Transform, a shift by frequency $\omega_0=2\pi F_0$ requires sample-by-sample multiplication with a complex sinusoid $e^{j\omega_0 t}$. \[

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