OpenRadio – a one day Software Defined Radio project

For the 2015 Linux Conference, I am working with Kim Hawtin and Mark Jessop on a 1 day Open Radio Mini-conference.

In this mini-conf a classroom of people will solder together their very own software defined radio (SDR) transceivers in just a few hours. It will be capable of receiving signals on the HF radio bands (3 to 30 MHz), and short range transmission of FSK/PSK data on the 13.5 and 27 MHz ISM bands (no license required).

The project is being documented on our OpenRadio Wiki. It’s completely open source and we have published the PCB CAD files, and the parts list with Digikey/Element14 catalogue part numbers. It’s based on the soft-rock radio designs.

We have put a lot of effort into making the radio easy to build. For example a minimum of (large footprint) surface mount parts, and a simple, fast to assemble design. We have intentionally included one or two inductors and transformers to wind to give people a taste of the complete radio assembly experience. With a little supervision, the project is quite suitable for radio/electronics beginners or school age children. It’s a “crystal set” for the 21st century.

Mark has done a great job designing the radio, and we have just received the prototype PCBs:

This week we will assemble and test the first prototypes, measure how long they take to build, and noting possible snags for inexperienced builders. Then our good friend Edwin from Dragino will prepare and ship kits for the mini-conf.

The resources we create for this project (wiki, CAD files, software, kits from Dragino) will remain available after LCA. So you, your radio club, hackerspace, or even school class will have access to an easy to build a Software Defined Radio (SDR).

4 thoughts on “OpenRadio – a one day Software Defined Radio project”

  1. Hi David,

    Great project. I would very much like to get 3 copies of PCB/kit. I didn’t notice it on dragino website?

    FWIW the correct URL is (www seems to be needed probably due to ISP?)

    I would be fun to try to get some smoke started around here.

    Lots of fun !!


    p.s. – Why three? — two to talk to each other and one to monitor what is ‘really’ going on :).

  2. If only there was a project on kickstarter that was hand-held, 5w/10W 2m/70cm tx/rx,open software with Codec 2, FreeDV,built in GPS/Glonass(APRS),USB port for tx/rx audio,ptt and control,display and a big enough battery..

    1. I suspect that it will happen at some point.

      The biggest hassle is regulations, for example in Australia the ACMA is preventing the cheap Woxun radios from coming into this country unless you have a Standard or Advanced license. Foundation (aka F-call) license holders could not build them.

      If they are assembled, there could still be some trouble for the F-calls as the radio could be used to transmit out of band.

      I’m not familiar with regulations for other countries. It’s an attractive idea though.

    2. LA1RMA lamented:
      > If only there was a project on kickstarter…

      Do you mean something like Michael Colton’s PSDR – Pocket HF SDR Transceiver with VNA and GPS?

      After servicing the SDR and waterfall display, I wonder if the PSDR 168-Mhz ARM processor will have enough capacity left to implement the SM1000 Smart Mic?

      Are we about to enter the golden age of Cognitive Radios?

      de VE3OCU

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