Saturday, October 29, 2011

SDR for the 600m band

Some short not on an idea for the 600m band.
The typical SDR, as we all know, uses 4x the center frequency so that the 90 phase-shifts can easily be created by flip-flops.

In 2012, the Netherlands will most likely open the range 501-505kHz for ham radio operators. I figure a simple RX (maybe also TX) solution could be a 2.000MHz canned oscillator. This will get us spot on 500kHz center frequency, just as you may want. Comfortable 1 to 5kHz audio, which any sound card can handle easily, with a sample rate of only 24kHz. A further experiment should show if side-band suppression is required at all. I figure, a decent pre-selector should be enough already.
Should however, following a decision at the WRC-12, the range open to hams change to the range proposed by CEPT (472 to 480kHz), a 2.000MHz SDR-LO would be somewhat too high. In this case, the oscillator could easily be swapped with a 1.8432MHz one. Resulting in a center frequency of 460.8kHz. Audio up to 20kHz would still be somewhat a challenge for cheap sound hardware, never the less, a sample rate of 48kHz would cover it all.

No to the TX-part of it. One could either use a sound card generated signal, as provided by some software solution. One could also thing of generating an I/Q modulation signal at 4x the audio signal, divide and phase shift similarly to the LO chain. Unfortunately, we would now have a rich audio square wave. I figure some severe filtering will be required here, in order to end up with a sine wave.
I would not consider an AF phase-shifting network. I believe the frequency range is to great as provide accurate phase-shifting.
However, as in the RX part, it may be conceivable to filter the side-band at the RF range. A series of tank and trap circuits could possibly be enough. Mind you, the aerial matching itself is very selective too.