Review of November Events
IEEE Madison Life Member Affinity Group “Software Defined Radio”:
At the November 5 meeting, Tom Kaminski explained how software is used to process radio signals to accommodate a wide range of input signal characteristics and output requirements. After reviewing the underlying digital signal processing theory, Tom explained and demonstrated the hardware and software that is used to implement software defined radio (SDR). An SDR system can be implemented using a $20 USB pre-processor dongle and free-download application software on a computer or cellphone. For a small, inexpensive, stand-alone system, a Raspberry Pi or similar single-board computer can be used instead of a notebook or cell-phone.
Using a GQRX software receiver, Tom demonstrated reception of local FM broadcast stations and NOAA weather radio. In a better location or by using a better antenna, aircraft, satellite, police, amateur and other signals could be received. Tom also described his work with UW-Madison students collaborating with Project Lifesaver International to build drones equipped with SDR systems for locating lost people who wear location signaling devices due to their limited capacity to find their way. In a similar project, he worked with UW wildlife researchers to develop systems for coyote and fox tracking. The presentation generated numerous questions and a lively discussion that began while Tom set up his equipment and continued during and after the presentation. You can access Tom’s presentation slides here.