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Author Topic: SDR Hype ..  (Read 3870 times)
VE3WGO
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Posts: 162




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« Reply #45 on: November 20, 2017, 08:28:10 AM »

Separate receivers, transmitters, vfos, digital frequency counters, antenna tuners and keyers got integrated into the modern transceiver.

Separate transceivers, control computers, spectrum displays, keyboards and touch panels got integrated into radios like the modern Icom IC-7300 and 7610.

It's just evolution.

If Apple had ever gone into the ham radio business, I imagine they would start with something like an IC-7300.   And Steve Jobs would have loved it.

73, Ed VE3WGO
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W6UV
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Posts: 821




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« Reply #46 on: November 20, 2017, 09:26:04 AM »

The FPGA in the flex radios does the real work, does it not?

That depends on how you define real work. The work an FPGA does in an SDR can also be done by a dedicated DSP chip or a fast general purpose CPU (like an ARM A9). FPGAs can do a lot of operations in parallel, and most DSP consists of repetitive simple arithmetic, such as multiplying two numbers together and adding them to an accumulator. Modern FPGAs include dedicated DSP hardware that speed up DSP calculations even more. For example, Xilinx FPGAs have DSP slices that include a 25x18 multiplier and a 48-bit accumulator, and the Virtex-6 FPGA used in the Flex-6000 rigs has hundreds of these DSP slices. FPGAs win big when you can implement algorithms in parallel.

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Can you have a thin client radio without a FPGA in the radio?

Sure. See above.

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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 ANAN rigs have an FPGA, but they do a lot of the work on the PC. The Flex-6000 series have an FPGA (a Xilinx Virtex-6), a DSP chip (a TI DaVinci), and a fast general purpose CPU (an ARM integrated in the DaVinci). The Flex does do most of the processing in the radio and the PC is used to control the rig and display the panadapter.

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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?

An FPGA is programmable hardware, not a programmable sequential processor (although you can embed a processor, either a soft core or a hard core, into an FPGA). You don't "program" an FPGA in the same sense as you program a sequential processor like an Intel i7--you describe hardware using a hardware description language (Verilog or VHDL). "Programming" an FPGA is a totally different paradigm than programming a CPU. Although the skills required to do so are not rare, they are nowhere near as common as the skills required to program a traditional CPU.
 
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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?

Apples and oranges. You don't implement SDR software like SDR-Console or PowerSDR in an FPGA. FPGAs are used to implement low-level operations such as decimation and other DSP operations in hardware.

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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.

The real issue with DPCs is that Windows is not a real-time operating system with guaranteed response times. The only reason a PC can be made to work in this case is just the sheer speed of the processor.
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