Software Defined Radio (SDR) has finally reached a much broader mass of people, who wanted to play with RF technology, but didn't find the time or resources to learn all necessary skills, to build a hardware based radio. Thanks to the work of the GNU-Radio and OsmoCom developer crowd, this barrier is finally gone and everyone can, more or less, directly access, what the antenna receives.
Good news for anyone playing and developing cheap SDR technology with the Elonics E4000 (e4k) tuner chip: Until now, working with the chip has mostly been guesswork and trial and error through reverse engineering, in order to get the SDR's to work. Today the complete Elonics E4000 reference documentation was leaked, so grab and mirror the e4k datasheets and application notes, while they are hot and available:
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Soon after the release of RTL-SDR a lot of people started to play with software defined radios. Although the Elonics E4000 tuner and the Realtek RTL2832U Chip are a long way from the quality and performance/stability of an USRP(2), the price of $11 - EUR30 makes these devices an ideal beginners device for SDR experiments, without having to invest +$1k into hardware.
It seems like it's time to pre-warm our oscillators and prepare our SDRs for more DARC action in the near future. For more than the last 4 month, the traffic to The DARC side of Munich revealed an interesting pattern: There was a steady increase of traffic coming first from the big European & Asian automobile manufacturers, then from automotive subcontractors globally and now from Asian electronics manufacturers.
When you live in Munich and use public transportation, especially Buses and Trams, you will have noticed that during the last couple of month a lot of new displays appeared at almost any station which had no real-time info display before. They obviously have no cables/connections and no visible antennas, so I kept wondering:
The UmTRX is a dual-channel, wide-band SDR transceiver (so it can send & receive) with 1GbE connection. It is developed by Fairwaves team to be used as a transceiver for OpenBTS GSM base stations, but due to its software defined nature, it could be used for many other radio applications as well.