The following post contains a brief description of wideband reception with software defined radio (SDR) receiver system SRM-3000. For additional content visit our resources page or subscribe to our newsletter here!
The SRM-3000 radio receiver SDR software supports the following six built-in bandwidths: +/- 6.25, 12.5, 25, 50, 100, 200 kHz. These are single side band (SSB) specifications. Hence the widest (200 kHz) setup actually enables the reception of 400 kHz wide transmissions. It’s because all the signals are complex. You can see this on the spectrum/waterfall display. It has a frequency range going from -200 kHz to +200 kHz in this case.
The wideband SDR software radio receiver SRM automatically sets the digital down converts (DDCs) on the DRU digitizer to the desired Nyquist frequency. But this DDC output sample rate is NOT equal to the bandwidth specification above! In fact, the sample rate is much higher, thus the system can deliver unattended performance within the useful bandwidth. For example, in case of the 200 kHz bandwidth setup, the actual DDC output sample rate is 398 kSPS. This overhead allows to have a magnitude drop of less than 1 dB within the useful ±200 kHz bandwidth.
SDR receiver for wideband reception part 1
200 kHz is wide enough to display and receive WB FM broadcast transmissions. As the input frequency range of the DRU-244A digitizer hardware can go up to 320 MHz, we just need to tune the radio receiver to the desired station.
Thanks to the high SNR the large amplitude 19 kHz stereo pilot is easily identifiable in the audio spectrum. The audio processing runs at 48 kSPS, thus the difference channel is not processed for the time being. Full stereo decoding is an upcoming feature.
Recall that the display only contains the 1 dB band of the DDC output, which runs in the example at 398 kSPS if IQ pairs are counted as one sample, or at 796 kSPS if counted as two. This is a significant burden on the subsequent DSP processing. It is entirely performed by the x86 Intel GPP in the PC. The processor workload is very high, so you need a powerful machine (i5 or preferably i7) to process one or more wideband radio channels. On the other hand, WB FM broadcasts may be processed in the 100 or 50 kHz bandwidth mode as well due to the robust nature of FM modulation.
SDR receiver for wideband reception part 2
The wideband radio receiver is not only for demodulating WB FM broadcasts. WE can tune th receiver to any band of interest. E.g., the following images show the 20 m HAM radio band; the center of the ±50KHz window is at 14.050MHz. In this case, one should use the demodulator offset functionality to select and demodulate the narrowband signal of interest within the available bandwidth. This involves mixing, band filtering, and CW/USB demodulation – all performed on the PC.
Finally, a note on safe device handling. Direct digital radio reception at wide input bandwidths (i.e., 320 MHz for the DRU-244A digitizer board) necessitates the use of input preselection filters, in order to avoid overload conditions for the sensitive receiver input circuitry. To design and simulate such filters, you may use the excellent free filter design program DIONYSUS by ComNav Engineering.
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