Inside Frequency Control


12 Popular Software Defined Radios (SDRs)

[fa icon="calendar'] Sep 1, 2016 8:59:31 AM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, IoT, wireless, engineering

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Software Defined Radios (SDRs) are constantly evolving. It seems like "the latest and greatest" SDRs are always popping up somewhere with today's rapidly growing technology. We thought it'd be helpful to provide you with some of the most popular and top rated SDRs in today's market.


We tried to include a wide variation of prices, applications, frequencies, and ease of use on the following list. This way, it'll be more likely that you'll find the best Software Defined Radio for your needs in the following list. 

Without further ado, here are 12 great Software Defined Radios for you!

*Descriptions taken from product pages
**Disclosure: This post that contains affiliate links.

1. RTL-SDR (R820T RTL2832U)

  • What a great place to start! This RTL-SDR is cheap and great for beginners or those on a budget. 
  • Applications include general radio scanning, air traffic control, public safety radio, ADSB, AIS, ACARS, trunked radio, P25 digital voice, POCSAG, weather balloons, APRS, NOAA APT weather satellites, radio astronomy, meteor scatter monitorin, and more
  • Frequency: 500 kHz to 1.7 GHz and has up to 3.2 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth

2. Red Pitaya

3. NooElec NESDR

  • Included: NooElec USB dongle, antenna, remote control
  • RTL2832U interface IC & R820T tuner IC on USB dongle
  • Full compatibility with a large array of software packages

4. Quadrus

  • DRU-244A-1-1-PCI SDR hardware digitizer
  • 1 ADC chip with 1 analog input
  • 1 DDC chip with 4 radio channels

5. HackRF One

  • Operating Frequency: 1 MHz to 6 GHz
  • Matching male SMA ANT500 antenna & USB cable included
  • Compatible with GNU Radio, SDR#, and more

6. RPD-100

  • 6U Compact-PCI form factor hardware development platform that can be used for a variety of applications, such as Software Defined Radio.
  • Optimized to provide high performance signal conversion using high speed ADC’s and DAC’s.
  • Other applications: WiMAX, Satellite MODEM's, RFID, Wireless Communication Systems

7. Ubertooth One

  • 2.4 GHz Transmit and Receive.
  • Suitable for Bluetooth experimentation
  • Can also operate in monitor mode, monitoring Bluetooth traffic in real-time.

8. Usmile

  • Frequency: 100KHz-1.7GHz
  • Built-in 100Mhz upconverter combined with Built-in HD R820T allow better receiving of short wave than using direct SDR’s Q tunnel
  • Easy to set-up, just connect it and you’re ready to go!

9. AirSpy

  • Alternative to both cost sensitive and higher end scanners while featuring the "best radio browsing experience of the market" thanks to the tight integration with the de facto standard SDR# software.
  • External GPS or Rubidium clocks supported for professional use
  • Full HF Coverage

10. National Instruments USRP

  • Flexible and affordable transceiver that turns a standard PC into a powerful wireless prototyping system.
  • Supports multirate DSP for physical layer communications and helps you integrate .m file scripts and C language algorithms.

11. ThinkRF's WSA5000

  •  Large frequency range of 100 kHz up to 27 GHz and wide instantaneous bandwidth of up to 100 MHz.
  • Supports 160 MHz instantaneous bandwidth

12. Seeedstudio KiwiSDR Kit

  • SDR covers the 10 kHz to 30 MHz (VLF-HF) spectrum.
  • Demodulation modes: AM, AMN, LSB, USB, CW, CWN, NBFM.
  • RF antenna connector: SMA and terminal block.
  • GPS receives the Navstar system on L1 frequency 1575.42 MHz.

Are You Experiencing Phase Noise in your Applications?

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Full Disclosure: Some of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, we will earn a small commission in you click through and make a purchase.

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7 Habits of the Most Innovative Engineers

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 24, 2016 7:30:00 AM / by Tommy Reed posted in innovation, Leadership, engineering

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I've been innovating for the majority of my career.  First on the front lines, working R&D projects, then moving to managing those projects, and then managing entire portfolios of several dozen projects, to leading the entire technology and innovation strategy for our company.

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18 CAD Tools Every RF and Microwave Design Engineer Should Consider

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 28, 2016 8:32:06 AM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, engineering

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RF and Microwave Design can be Enjoyable!

Don't believe me? Many of us already know how designing can easily become extremely long, boring, and tedious. This is especially true for all you RF and Microwave Design Engineers!

Spending hours upon hours designing, finding problems, fixing problems, then repeating the process all over again...It all can become so mentally draining.

Download FREE RF Design Guidelines

Am I bringing back bad memories? Sorry, time for the good news...

So how can you make the long and tedious design process easy (and possibly even enjoyable)? 

You guessed it... Automation and design tools are key. 

Having some great design tools on your side can release a significant burden off your back. These tools can save you time and dramatically increase your productivity. Our Top 4 Productivity and collaboration tools will help skyrocket your productivity even further.

Today, we thought we'd help you out by sharing these 18 CAD design tools that can lead to a more simple & enjoyable design session.  

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Simple Hack LITERALLY Saves Hours During RF/Microwave Design

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 14, 2016 8:30:00 AM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, engineering

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There's nothing more frustrating than spending hours searching for componments on various vendor and distributor sites.

We've all been there... maybe your an RF engineer who just completed a gruelling design review only to find that IC you chose is no longer stocked at your go to RF component distributor.  Or maybe you're a commodity manager that has to go source the parts, only to find many of them are no longer stocked at your preferred vendor.

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5 Questions (And Answers) About Using CSACs in Timing Applications

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 29, 2016 2:49:27 PM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, aerospace, PNT, OCXO

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Reducing Power Consumption for LEO Orbit Payloads

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 27, 2016 9:00:00 AM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, low power, phase noise, aerospace, OCXO

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Access to space is becoming democratized

The “new space” movement is revolutionizing our access to space and opening the door for an entirely new class of satellite payloads.  As launch costs for these scaled down ‘small sats’ continue to drop, new missions and functionality are being squeezed into satellites that are less than 50kg!
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5 Simple Steps for Truly Effective Design Reviews

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 20, 2016 11:14:47 AM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, engineering

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As electronics and RF systems have become increasingly complex, the need to catch and fix errors during the design phase of a project has become increasingly important.

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Bliley Introduces the World’s Lowest Power OCXO

[fa icon="calendar'] May 24, 2016 8:00:00 AM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, low power, Press Release, OCXO

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For Immediate Release

Bliley Introduces the World’s Lowest Power OCXO

May 24th, 2016 

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Bliley Tech interviews inventors of Passive Wi-Fi

[fa icon="calendar'] May 18, 2016 11:27:28 AM / by Bliley Technologies posted in innovation, IoT, low power, wireless

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In case you haven’t heard, Passive WiFi is an amazing innovation poised to revolutionize wireless communications, beginning with the internet of things (IoT) or industrial internet. It promises a future of WiFi communication that is 10,000 times more energy efficient.

Inside Frequency Control was able to get a back-stage pass to this exciting technology when we had a chat with one of the co-inventors, Shyam Gollakota. Check out the interview where we learned more about Passive Wi-Fi (you can read their research paper here) AND the process the researchers used to bring this innovation to life.

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