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The SDR-4000 board is a flexible platform for implementing high performance 'software defined radio' circuitry in a powerful Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA).


Connected via a high-speed USB 2.0 interface, the entire SDR is implemented in downloadable programmable logic. The SDR-4000 contains a 14-bit A/D converter, sampling at 125MSps. All samples are fed to the SDR FPGA where the radio functions (listed below) are performed. Complete user control via USB endpoints is available for radio and down-converter functions within the FPGA.


The SDR-4000 uses a front-end capable of 0-800Mhz operation. This small form-factor board includes a large Xilinx FPGA with a complete dual-tuner design. The dual-tuner design allows streaming both wide and narrow band conversion data from the USB endpoints. With the MATLAB-based software application this data is presented in an easy to use graphical interface.


Download Datasheet

The following radio functions are implemented in the FPGA:

  • A/D signal strength monitor for automatically controlling VGA Gain.
  • Two independent Digital Down Converters.
  • Each DDC contains its own Direct Digital Synthesizer, Complex Mixer, and Programmable Digital Filters.
  • Beat Frequency Oscillator for Signal Sideband and CW.
  • Streaming End Point interfaces with FIFOs for Audio, Complex Wide and Narrow band DDC outputs, and A/D samples to the PC.
  • Snapshot Capture memory.
  • Digital filters which are loaded from the PC over the USB so their bandwidth and selectivity can be easily changed.
  • Automatic Gain Control.
  • Demodulators for AM, Single Sideband and FM.
Software Defined Radio Software Defined Radio Block Diagram

A major BioTech company contracted with DSP Tools to enhance their family of cell sorting devices known as Flow Cytometers (laser-based cell sorting machines for the biotech market). Using Digital Signal Processing and FPGA technology, we replaced a 19" rack filled with 15 analog boards (with many manual adjustments) with just 3 PCI boards plugged into a PC. DSP Tools developed firmware for the cards as well as a device driver that interfaced the hardware with the Customers' LabView-based Application.


The DSP firmware set a benchmark for cell processing time over previous and competing products. The new design saved a significant amount of manufacturing cost while improving the system performance by an order of magnitude. We supplied BD with tested boards for their final production. They could simply treat the board set as a purchased part.


Happy with the outcome from the 3-board set, the customer once again contracted DSP Tools to provide their next generation Flow Cytometer controller board (shown below). The single board system interfaced with other custom circuits to not only analyze the laser outputs (cell data) but control the fluidics and tube motion mechanics as well. The system was no longer tied to the PC, and could be accessed over the network.


Cell Sorter

Communications Solutions, Inc. chose DSP Tools to design a DSP and FPGA-based High Frequency receiver on a PCMCIA card. The design included DSP and PC software to provide a real-time display of the entire HF spectrum. The user can click on a signal and the DSP begins demodulating it and sending the audio to the PC sound system. The software can also record the spectrum directly to the PC's disk for later review. The entire package was distributed cleanly using InstallShield. The customer again could treat the deliverable as a purchased part.


HF Receiver

This credit-card sized board contained an on-board DSP (Analog Devices SHARC ADSP21065L), a digital down-converter, and high-speed ADC interfaced to the PCMCIA bus. DSP Tools provided the DSP firmware, Plug-'n-Play PC Device Driver, and GUI Application software all bundled in an InstallShield distribution package.


This credit-card sized board contained an on-board DSP (Analog Devices SHARC ADSP21065L), a digital down-converter, and high-speed ADC interfaced to the PCMCIA bus. DSP Tools provided the DSP firmware, Plug-'n-Play PC Device Driver, and GUI Application software all bundled in an InstallShield distribution package.


Captured data could be viewed with a provided offline analysis package, and quickly scanned for specific spectral criteria. The unit could interface to an antenna, or customer-supplied pre-selector front end (automatically detecting and compensating for the interface).


Working closely with both the customer and his client, the entire system was delivered as a 'customized-for-the-end-user' product, and the first of a family of 'Software Defined Radio' subsystems.


Cell Sorter

We designed the DSP TOOL signal analysis package using MATLAB, a powerful analysis package that allows detailed views of captured signal data.


HF Receiver

DSP Tools developed a real-time data interface that streamed data from a DSP board over 100BaseT Ethernet using TCP/IP to a PC application. From the PC we used a DLL to pass the data stream to our MATLAB program, using the high-powered mathematical environment for signal analysis, demodulation, protocol analysis, protocol decoding and data visualization.


The MATLAB GUI provided the user with the tools needed to determine the modulation parameters of each intercepted signal. It used MATLAB's powerful 2D and 3D surface plotting features to allow the operator to visualize the underlying signal characteristics. We used MATLAB's extensive library of numerical functions to determine the modulation type and parameters. The resulting values were used to select and configure one of our software demodulators to extract the symbol stream. Included in the demodulators were the usual symbol timing and carrier recovery loops.


Using autocorrelation and other numerical techniques, we determined the framing pattern of the data to select the proper protocol decode algorithm. Among the protocol algorithms implemented were Automatic Link Establishment, SITOR, and the three television standards.


By interfacing MATLAB to Microsoft Word using another DLL, we were able to use Unicode to display decoded text that used foreign character sets, including right to left reading scripts such as Arabic.


Rockwell Collins, Inc. contracted DSP Tools to design a DSP board with an Ethernet interface and software to analyze the outputs of a high-speed Scanning Receiver. With an embedded ethernet TCP/IP stack, this system was capable of stepping a high-speed receiver rapidly while FFT-ing the sampled signal, maintaining histogram and signal characteristics from scan to scan, and forwarding the results to the users' GUI. It was capable of taking large snapshots of 8Mhz complex samples, as well as playing back down-converted samples through its on-board up-converter using a selectable IF.


A separate audio input allowed sampling from a 'set-on' receiver so that 'live' audio could be streamed over the network. Companding algorithms were also supplied.


ADownloading of firmware updates could be done over the network.


Being able to run without interruption for unlimited periods was essential. The board was run through vigorous environmental testing, and the firmware met rigid government 'acceptance test' criteria.


HF Receiver

To provide a control system for an un-manned 'helicopter,' DSP Tools partnered with Applied Micro Design to develop a miniature DSP-based autopilot about the size of a credit card for Allied Aerospace Industries.


HF Receiver

Both size and the ability to reprogram the firmware 'on-the-fly' were key to this design


DSP Tools completed the initial hardware and software design, and then trained the client's engineer so that he was able to continue with future software add-ons of their own, allowing them to respond rapidly to their customers' needs.


HF Receiver
Hughes Network Systems is very good at producing in high volume, but relatively slow at building a small number of prototypes. This is because they use the same process with all its checks and balances for both large and small design efforts. Realizing this, they contracted DSP Tools to design and build their early Direct TV set-top box prototypes.Having prototypes early in the design stage allowed their software engineers to get a head start while their hardware department designed the "official' box. They saved several months of time to market, equating to millions of dollars of sales.

Satellite Bit Stream Capture and Replay Tools for Engineering Debug

During the DirecTV set-top box development, DSP Tools designed a PCI module to capture to disk and playback the MPEG transport bit stream. This allowed the Hughes engineers to capture a sample of the MPEG video stream that was not decoding properly and play it back in a loop to provide a controlled data source so they could debug the problem. By quickly designing and prototyping this tool for them, we enabled the engineers to solve design problems more effectively.
SAIC contracted DSP Tools to design a DSP-based signal analysis system capable of demodulating any of the standard modem signals (in DSP software) up to the trellis coded V.32 QAM with its 128-point constellation. The system also provided FAX intercept and display. The front-panel GUI system handled 8 real-time channels.
For Pacific Gyre, Inc. and the University of California at San Diego we developed a DSP board for use in ocean drift buoys for processing acoustic hydrophone signals.
For Hughes Network Systems we developed a prototype for a seat-back telephone system for commercial aircraft
For Wyle we developed an evaluation board for a Texas Instruments TMS320C2xx DSP. Along with the board we supplied software tools including an assembler.