Software Defined Radio the way it should be

I have been looking into various options for building my own radios again, this time taking advantage of software defined radio technologies. I’m not crazy about using a PC for running the SDR application. While a PC offers great performance and flexibility, it makes a clumsy radio setup not at all suitable for portable and mobile use.

One of the options I am exploring is creating an embedded host computer and front panel for existing SDR transceiver boards, such as the hiqsdr. I will write more about that later in another post because this is about something else.

Few months ago I learned about the mcHF project by Chris M0NKA. mcHF is a small stand alone shortwave transceiver with a sufficiently powerful processor to run the SDR application and perform the necessary control of the hardware. I can not think of any better way to introduce mcHF than by showing one of the demo videos posted by the creator himself:

What you see on the video is the user interface board which also carries the main processor. In addition to the UI board there is also an RF board of the same size.

If you check out the website (you really should) you will notice that Chris has made the schematics and BOM available for download and he even sells PCBs and display modules for a very reasonable price. The firmware source code is also available for download opening up many opportunities for experimenting.

It didn’t take much to convince me to build one of these radios. I already got the PCBs from Chris and the display module from the manufacturer. Parts from eBay and Digikey are ordered and now awaiting delivery during the next couple of weeks.

I’m looking forward to building my radio again!

Author: Alexandru Csete

Embedded software engineer in the satcom industry during the day. Radio amateur and SDR hacker during the night.