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LCA 2016 Geelong

The OpenRadio Miniconf during LCA 2016 in Geelong Tuesday 2nd, is scheduled to include;


  • Program

See the Linux.Conf.Au schedule for Tuesday 02 February 2016

While we will be offering kits, we will not have the facilities to build the kits in the LCA venue. More information on these as we build, test and document in the lead up to LCA2016 =)

- SWR bridge HF/VHF/UHF < 500Mhz
- Switchable attenuators HF/VHF

Lightning talks

- Peter Chubb; Call to arms; alternative firmware for the UV-3R
- Haxxa; Using the nrf24l01 sensors

Not yet confirmed

  • Kit building


  • November 1st, Announce CfP for talk, see CallForPapers
  • November 30th, Close CfP
  • December 13th, announce programme
  • February 2nd, MiniConf [1]
  • February 5th, GARC BBQ evening for Hams attending LCA - GARC clubrooms are 20 minute walk from the waterfront LCA venue


LCA 2015 Auckland

The notes below are the conference that happened in 2015 in Auckland;

This wiki documents the Open Radio mini-conf that was held at, on Monday 12 Jan 2015. Participants will built, testes and debuged their very own Software Defined Radio (SDR) using a low cost kit. The radio covers reception of HF radio signals (3 to 30 MHz), and low power transmission over a short range.

This Wiki will remain after LCA 2015 as a resource for people interested in our SDR radio design and running similar workshops.

SDR Kits

The radio has been designed by Mark Jessop, and a quantity of kits are being prepared specially for LCA by Edwin at Dragino, in Shenzhen, China.

Kits for the LCA 2015 Open Radio miniconf have all been sold (we are limited to 30 people by the workshop size).

However you can buy a kit from the Dragino Store.

Prototype OpenRadio PCB, Top Prototype OpenRadio PCB, Bottom

Prototype OpenRadio SDR as of 4th Jan 2014 (v1.1). PCB Artwork & Schematic here. Design Files (Altium Designer) here.

Quick Links

What to bring

Tools in your checked luggage

  • A soldering iron + holder (so it doesn't roll around the table). To make soldering the surface-mount parts easier, a relatively small tip can help (~1mm wide). If in doubt, ask on the OpenRadio-Chat mailing list.
  • Side cutters
  • A small set of pliers will be very useful.
  • A multimeter will make some debugging easier.
  • A small flathead screwdriver (1.5mm diameter) for the antenna terminals.
  • A laptop running Linux/OSX/Windows with a mono or stereo 3.5mm audio input. Ideally this should be stereo and line-level input, but a mono input will work at a pinch, with decreased performance.

Important Note: many new laptops have a 4-pin TRRS socket, and will need an adaptor to be able to input audio. More information here: Sound_Cards

  • A hard copy of the schematic (last 2 pages) to help you assemble the radio.

Optional: A magnifier to aid surface mount assembly. Use your judgement on your own vision as a guide to this.

If all else fails...

There is a Jaycar Electronics store (Newmarket) approx 30 min walk away from the main conference venue, which is open until 4PM on the Sunday, and open again at 8:30AM on Monday morning. You may be able to find a soldering iron there - no guarantees though! Directions here.

Skill Level required

Basic soldering. The design will use mainly through hole parts. There will be some surface mount (SMD) using relatively large surface mount parts that can be soldered with the naked eye or modest magnification. Suitable tweezers and solder will be provided as part of the kit.

An assortment of SMD components, like what will be used in the hardware project.

Required Software

At the bare minimum, you will need the following bits of software available:

  • Arduino IDE v1.0.6
    • Used for programming the OpenRadio's Arduino Nano
  • The software to be programmed onto the OpenRadio can be cloned from the github repository which is here. Build & programming instructions are on the Github page.
  • fldigi - 'Fast, Light Digital Modem software'
    • Used to decode data transmissions, and also used as a general-purpose 'spectrogram' display.
    • Fldigi should be most major distributions repositories.

To view more than 3KHz of spectrum at a time (and the OpenRadio can view a lot more than 3KHz of spectrum), you will need software which can look at 'quadrature' signals. There are a few options, pick one:

  • Quisk - Python based. Quisk_Guide
  • Spectravue (Windows, but works in Wine with MFC42.dll) - Closed source :-(
  • Probably others - There seems to be a bit of a lack of simple-to-use, open-source options for this!!

Later on, you may want to route audio out of one of the above quadrature demodulator programs back into fldigi, or other software. To do this, you need some form of software 'loopback cable'. Some suggestions for this are:

  • Pulseaudio - Pavucontrol lets you set programs to record from a 'monitor' of an output device.
  • Jack
  • Virtual Audio Cable (Windows)

If you get Bricked using Windows

In mid 2014 FTDI released a Windows driver that overwrites the USB to RS232 chip product id to 0000. If this happens you won't be able to talk to the Arduino Nano using Linux or Windows. "dmesg" or "lsusb" will show something like "idVendor=0403, idProduct=0000", rather than the correct "idVendor=0403, idProduct=6001".

This page has a procedure to fix your Arduino Nano using a Linux machine.

Hardware Project Documentation & Construction Guides

OpenRadio_SDR - A functional description of the OpenRadio SDR.

Construction Guides

Construction_Guide_V2 - The latest version of the Construction Guide.

Other Information

Filters - Designs for transmit & receive filters for the radio.

Sound_Cards - Information on suitable sound cards for use with the radio.

Developmental Pages

Pages written while the OpenRadio board was in the prototype stage.

Prototype_Feedback - Feedback on the prototype design, and changes to be made.

Construction_Guide - A guide on constructing the OpenRadio SDR - in progress!

Construction_Notes - Construction Notes (In Progress)

Operation Guides

Tuning - An overview of how to use the OpenRadio SDR to receive signals on the HF band.

Calibration - How to calibrate the board to a known frequency reference.

Future Work

Software_Ideas - Some ideas for expanding the functionality of the OpenRadio.


OpenRadio – a one day Software Defined Radio project

OpenRadio Part 2 – Prototype Works!

OpenRadio Part 3 – Filters

Basics of IQ Signals (Youtube)

IQ signals Part II (Youtube)

Filter PCB Files

  • Gerbers: [2]
  • Documentation: [3]
  • Altium Files: [4]