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Author Topic: SDR Hype ..  (Read 4118 times)
N2DTS
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« Reply #30 on: November 19, 2017, 06:30:45 AM »

They may continue the trend of moving the processing into the video card processor since that has no windoze issues.
Moving the processing into a fpga kind of locks things you can do into stone (flex).
The Elad fdm duo was good but many options were not configurable.
That and the (THREE!) high latency usb ports killed it for me.
Good software and the GUI opens up a lot of control.
On a knobbed radio, it ends up being menu's and knobs that do 2 or more things.
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W6UV
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« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2017, 08:34:05 AM »

Moving the processing into a fpga kind of locks things you can do into stone (flex).

Why is that? After all, FPGA stands for FIELD PROGRAMMABLE gate array...

And why do you refer to Windows as "windoze"?
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VA3VF
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« Reply #32 on: November 19, 2017, 08:38:24 AM »

Moving the processing into a fpga kind of locks things you can do into stone (flex).

Why is that? After all, FPGA stands for FIELD PROGRAMMABLE gate array...


Maybe he was thinking SOC or something like that. I don't think it can be more open than FPGA. It may not be user programmable, but no problem for the manufacturer.

The only limitation is that, eventually, you cannot add features ad-infinitum, the time comes when a more advanced FPGA chip is needed.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 08:50:34 AM by VA3VF » Logged
W6UV
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« Reply #33 on: November 19, 2017, 09:58:56 AM »

Maybe he was thinking SOC or something like that. I don't think it can be more open than FPGA. It may not be user programmable, but no problem for the manufacturer.

The only limitation is that, eventually, you cannot add features ad-infinitum, the time comes when a more advanced FPGA chip is needed.

It would be cool if the manufacturers would give us the Verilog or VHDL source for the FPGA code so we could experiment, but I don't see that happening with companies like Flex or Icom.

You're right about FPGA size. Most companies are only going to use a part that's perhaps slightly bigger than what they currently need.
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VA3VF
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« Reply #34 on: November 19, 2017, 10:06:56 AM »

It would be cool if the manufacturers would give us the Verilog or VHDL source for the FPGA code so we could experiment, but I don't see that happening with companies like Flex or Icom.

I think the chances of that happening are smaller than my entry into the DXCC Honor Roll, on all bands from 160 to 6M, and I use an IC-718, no 6M. LOL
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NI0Z
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« Reply #35 on: November 19, 2017, 11:27:07 AM »

I was thinking more along the lines of a POSIX OS.  Windows and the like have way more overhead than a ham radio station needs. 

Digital modes, skimming, logging, spotters, should all be easily programmed and ran on a small low overhead OS like POSIX.   Really for many Hams, a PC wouldn’t be needed and the radio manufacturer that tackles this will have a huge advantage with a fully integrated solution. 

There just isn’t really a need for PC’s unless we are talking about small use cases like radio astronomy and such where such use cases are not profitable for the manufacturers to pursue.

Another option is to just build the radio on top of Android OS and let the dev community build supporting apps.  Only problem there is that’s not a very lightweight OS anymore and can get flakey.  Really wouldn’t have those problems with POSIX or the like.

If you think about it, Hams were doing just fine without computers for many decades.
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VA3VF
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« Reply #36 on: November 19, 2017, 12:14:34 PM »

If you think about it, Hams were doing just fine without computers for many decades.

Yes, but we want more, and it must be cheap, we are hams after all. Grin Grin Grin Grin
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K9IUQ
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« Reply #37 on: November 19, 2017, 01:55:06 PM »

If you think about it, Hams were doing just fine without computers for many decades.

Well, I just did think about it and decided yes.

Hams also did just fine without the internet and whiny, crybaby, eHam forums.
Hams also did fine with the AM mode instead of that stinkin Donald Duck SSB crap.
Hams also did just fine with all Hams knowing the morse code.
Hams also did just fine taking their Tests at the FCC office, no VE's.
Hams also did just fine without all these newbie wantabee DXer hams screwing up working DXpeditions

Well I got lots more but you get the idea...

Stan K9IUQ
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 02:05:39 PM by K9IUQ » Logged
AC7CW
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Posts: 1011




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« Reply #38 on: November 19, 2017, 01:56:45 PM »

Knobbed boxes are what people like. There are some reasons why. I'm trying to operate a remote rig. Tuning is either with a very fiddly mouse click, or circling motion on the keypad or circling motion on android. I have to stare at something incessantly almost, in order to tune. It's similar for most of the controls, too tedious. I hate it. Knobs and a tuning spectrum display would fix all that.

I think people see a knobbed box with a display as "one moving part". They see a collection of cables, software, drivers, hardware, OS, soundcard, etc as "many moving parts" and don't get that warm fuzzy feeling of reliability and convenience and they are willing to pay many times over for it.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2017, 02:18:16 PM by AC7CW » Logged

Novice 1958, 20WPM Extra now... (and get off my lawn)
AC7CW
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« Reply #39 on: November 19, 2017, 02:01:34 PM »

Maybe he was thinking SOC or something like that. I don't think it can be more open than FPGA. It may not be user programmable, but no problem for the manufacturer.

The only limitation is that, eventually, you cannot add features ad-infinitum, the time comes when a more advanced FPGA chip is needed.

It would be cool if the manufacturers would give us the Verilog or VHDL source for the FPGA code so we could experiment, but I don't see that happening with companies like Flex or Icom.


The TAPR SDR project is all open source: hardware, software, firmware, pga code and it all runs in a backplane
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Novice 1958, 20WPM Extra now... (and get off my lawn)
N2DTS
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« Reply #40 on: November 19, 2017, 05:05:30 PM »

What I meant is windoze is not a real time program, its a do a lot of different things at once os.
Its got buffers and IRQ's and other things that make high and steady throughput processing difficult.
The new video cards seem to have a different method of operating that can support real time processing.
I think the Anan's might use that ability, or maybe it was something else.
But the video processor acts like a FPGA and crunches the data real time (and fast).


They seem to be able to change and improve PSDR (software, Anan) where radios sold that do everything in a FPGA are sort of locked in place.
The Elad fdm duo could do a LOT more in the computer then the standalone radio could do.
With a FPGA and knobs you seem to be locked into what you have, you can make small changes but you cant add a knob or a button.
Flex is the only one doing thin client (FPGA in the radio) that I know of, and you get what they give you.
If they come up with some great thing like pure signal, they may not be able to put it into the FPGA.


 
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W6UV
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« Reply #41 on: November 19, 2017, 06:31:36 PM »

They seem to be able to change and improve PSDR (software, Anan) where radios sold that do everything in a FPGA are sort of locked in place.
The Elad fdm duo could do a LOT more in the computer then the standalone radio could do.
With a FPGA and knobs you seem to be locked into what you have, you can make small changes but you cant add a knob or a button.
Flex is the only one doing thin client (FPGA in the radio) that I know of, and you get what they give you.
If they come up with some great thing like pure signal, they may not be able to put it into the FPGA.

Do you know what an FPGA is? Based on your posts it would seem you don't.

"FPGA in the radio" doesn't equate to thin client. Lots of thick client SDRs have an FPGA in the radio.

Think of an FPGA as a blank canvas. You can paint nearly any picture on it you want. The only real limitations are the size of the FPGA (the number of internal logic elements) and its maximum clock speed. You can put an entire, very complex, microprocessor in an FPGA, for example, just by describing its logic in an HDL and downloading the resulting bitstream to the chip. FPGAs are used in SDRs because they're good at doing lots of things in parallel, and DSP algorithms are one of the things that benefit from the massive parallelism that FPGAs offer.

FPGAs run the gamut from rather small (like the Xilinx Spartans) to very large, like the Virtex UltraScale parts. Prices range from around $18 on the low end to $78000 on the high end (yes, that's seventy eight thousand dollars for a single chip).
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N2DTS
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« Reply #42 on: November 20, 2017, 05:42:56 AM »

The FPGA in the flex radios does the real work, does it not?
Can you have a thin client radio without a FPGA in the radio?
My understanding was the Anan radios did the heavy lifting in the PC.
And I thought Flex did most of the processing in the FPGA in the radio with the PC just being an interface/display/control.

The Elad fdm duo had some basic processing in the radio, and a LOT more options and features when the processing was done in the computer.
We used to look at dpc spec's in the PC to see how well windoze was handling the data.

So am I wrong? The FPGA is a programmable processor that replaces the windoze pc for crunching some or most of the data.
People write programs for the PC, they add pure signal, pro audio processing, add meters to the screen, are people going to do that in the FPGA? Is programming chips in radios something that everyone knows how to do?
 
There are a number of programs (for the PC) that will run an sdr radio. You can pick the one you like sometimes.
How do you do that with the FPGA radios?

The reason to use the video card processor as I understood it is that it it works a bit like the FPGA in that it has no dpc issues.
It just crunches data real time.

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KA4DPO
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Posts: 818




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« Reply #43 on: November 20, 2017, 07:45:35 AM »

Knobbed boxes are what people like. There are some reasons why. I'm trying to operate a remote rig. Tuning is either with a very fiddly mouse click, or circling motion on the keypad or circling motion on android. I have to stare at something incessantly almost, in order to tune. It's similar for most of the controls, too tedious. I hate it. Knobs and a tuning spectrum display would fix all that.

I think people see a knobbed box with a display as "one moving part". They see a collection of cables, software, drivers, hardware, OS, soundcard, etc as "many moving parts" and don't get that warm fuzzy feeling of reliability and convenience and they are willing to pay many times over for it.

Quote
They see a collection of cables, software, drivers, hardware, OS, soundcard, etc as "many moving parts" and don't get that warm fuzzy feeling of reliability and convenience and they are willing to pay many times over for it.

As opposed to what?  Last time I looked the knobbed boxes are far more reliable and, in almost all cases, cost a less than the  cables, software, drivers, hardware, OS, soundcard, etc. that you referenced.  Your logic is flawed.
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KA4DPO
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Posts: 818




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« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2017, 08:06:05 AM »

They seem to be able to change and improve PSDR (software, Anan) where radios sold that do everything in a FPGA are sort of locked in place.
The Elad fdm duo could do a LOT more in the computer then the standalone radio could do.
With a FPGA and knobs you seem to be locked into what you have, you can make small changes but you cant add a knob or a button.
Flex is the only one doing thin client (FPGA in the radio) that I know of, and you get what they give you.
If they come up with some great thing like pure signal, they may not be able to put it into the FPGA.

Do you know what an FPGA is? Based on your posts it would seem you don't.

"FPGA in the radio" doesn't equate to thin client. Lots of thick client SDRs have an FPGA in the radio.

Think of an FPGA as a blank canvas. You can paint nearly any picture on it you want. The only real limitations are the size of the FPGA (the number of internal logic elements) and its maximum clock speed. You can put an entire, very complex, microprocessor in an FPGA, for example, just by describing its logic in an HDL and downloading the resulting bitstream to the chip. FPGAs are used in SDRs because they're good at doing lots of things in parallel, and DSP algorithms are one of the things that benefit from the massive parallelism that FPGAs offer.

FPGAs run the gamut from rather small (like the Xilinx Spartans) to very large, like the Virtex UltraScale parts. Prices range from around $18 on the low end to $78000 on the high end (yes, that's seventy eight thousand dollars for a single chip).

When I was at Harris our semi conductor division made custom gate arrays.  They were no where near as dense as todays chips and so, many of them had to be used to form a matrix to perform the complex transforms for DSP.  They were also not field programmable so if we made an error in the design an entire new batch of chips had to be cooked.  At the time, late 1970's, they were amazingly expensive but NASA and the military had deep pockets.  The amazing thing is that now I can buy chips for less than a hundred dollars that would make our entire 1978 DSP processors look like caveman tools.
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