As we head into our fourth year, it’s time to look back and do a 2018 content review. What did I actually accomplish over the past 365 days?
Software defined radio remained our main underlying theme during the past year. As I do my 2018 content review, I see a shift from how they work to what you can do with these wonderful tools. Also, I see that I had a lot of fun with software tools for radio implementation and electronics simulation.
I began 2018 with Exploring GNURadio, which is a great open source framework for creating your own software radio and digital signal processing experiments. GNURadio is best used along with its Companion GUI. You can arrange processing modules visually and then click run. The whole framework contains a ton of signal processing modules that you can wire together on a Windows or Linux computer.
One of my GNURadio experiments was to better understand how Synchronous Detection works and compare it to envelop detectors.
During spring, I took a deep dive into Spatial Interference Filtering Techniques, also known as beamforming. Unlike analog, digital beamforming is pretty easy to implement. It’s just math. You need a dual-channel coherent receiver, though, like the Afedri AFE822x. I bought one last April and it is a joy to use with phasing software.
We also introduced readers to Remote SDR Listening. While we all love our own gear, it’s also fun to listen using other people’s radios all over the world. And there are lots available. At the same time, we all love watching our radios these days, and Watching Radio Signals has become a big part of the hobby.
2018 Content Review – Looking Forward
During the fall, I started getting a bit more technical. First, we reviewed how Programmable Radio Hardware works together with software in modern radios. Second, and ongoing, are my efforts to build a diversity antenna system to use with my Afedri dual channel receiver.
My vision is to create a diversity system with two wideband active loops. This led me down the rabbit hole of trying to learn Wideband Loop Theory and then build my own system. To support this effort, I started using LTSpice software for simulating performance of analog circuits.
Over the next few months I will be designing and building my wideband loop system. And that should provide plenty to write about during 2019. Happy New Year!