The Myriad-RF-1 board measures 5-cm by 5-cm and requires a 5-V power supply and is
software configurable to operate from 300-MHz to 3.8-GHz on 2G, 3G and
4G communication networks. Pre-built boards will initially retail for
$299 or less. "The schematic layout and bill of materials are all
available as an open database," said Bushehri.
come with well-defined digital connections on one side, to go to FPGA or
DSP basebands, and RF connectors to power amplifier front-end on the
other, said Bushehri.
Bushehri said he hoped that complementary
component makers such as vendors of power amplifiers, antennas, FPGAs
and DSPs would also get involved with the initiative.
Why Separate Initiative?
When asked why it had not been chosen to address RF innovation by contributing to one of the established open-source digital hardware initiatives such as Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or Mbed, Bushehri said that one problem is that there are so many of these initiatives it would result in redundant work in each forum.
By forming a stand-alone open-source initiative focused on configrable RF it was hoped that work could be done once and links made to multiple digital hardware initiatives through well-defined interfaces. Bushehri said.
Lime is not the first to try and stimulate the creation of an open-source RF community. Open-Source RF (Irvine, Calif.) is a venture founded by Armen Kazanchian in mid 2012 under the Kickstarter program. It is looking to serve Arduino users with a plug-and-play wireless board for Arduino. The board, known as a shield, operates on a 2.4-GHz carrier frequency and includes an antenna. Apex Logic is an organization that creates open-source prototypes addressing a variety of applications and has developed low-cost RF transceiver designs and code for Arduino based on transceiver ICs that operate at 433-MHz.
Take a look at the BladeRF from Nuand:
They have an open source radio platform which uses GNU Radio and provides analysis. I have been rather rash and ordered one already!
It is interesting to note that the BladeRF is based on the LMS6002D IC from Lime Microsystems because as Nuand states: "this transceiver is capable of handling anything from simple FM audio to the latest 4G LTE standard."
BladeRF does include the FPGA and a USB 3.0 digital connection and bus power.
"Myriad-RF boards use FPRF transceivers to support all the mobile broadband standards – LTE, HSPA+, CDMA, 2G..."
Does this mean that the board can send and receive according, to, e.g. the CDMA PHY standard? Or does it mean that the board can send and receive at the relevant rf frequencies and actually imposing the digital signal on top of that is up to you?
I don't think that this will "shake up" the amateur world, but it certainly looks like a very worthwhile contribution and it does appear to have a number of uses besides just communication. So I will be quite interested to see what all develops. If it can indeed be made to function as the core of a spectrum analyser then it would have immediate value to quite a few people, both hams and experimentors. BUT please don't compare them to Ardunio. Those ardunio projects always substitute a microcontroller board for a function that could be done with a simple comparator. A shameless promotion of a product line at the expense of understanding actual circuitry.