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XB-200 Transverter Update

 

During our Kickstarter campaign we received many requests to expand the bladeRF’s frequency range, so very early on we promised to delivered something that would do just that. Though the original delivery estimate for the transverter came and went with us not having more than a basic schematic, we received nothing but helpful feature requests and feedback from the community. It then became apparent to us what we had to do.  So in the same fashion that we delayed the bladeRF shipments to upgrade our shields, clocking architecture and FPGA size for the x15 backers, we hope to have made this wait equally worth it for everyone with the following transverter upgrades:

  1. Expanded frequency range. The initial specification called for a low frequency range of 10Mhz, the upgraded transverter now goes down to 60kHz. The RF switches provide an easy way of expanding the frequency range, not replacing it, meaning that the transverter board does not have to be unplugged to use the bladeRF’s original frequency range. RX can easily be at 1MHz, while TX is at 3GHz.
  2. The addition of selectable RF filter banks. The RX and TX paths each have a set of 3 filters, at the 49MHz-59MHz, 50MHz-54MHz (6 meter band), and 206-235MHz bands. There are also pairs of SMA connectors that will let users plug their own band filters into the RF path.
  3. Component selection. To achieve really high filter performance, all of the passives in the RF paths are high-Q, low-ESR, low-DCR, and at most 2% tolerant components.
  4. The LO synthesizer has been upgraded to an ADF4351 to improve the phase noise and total system SNR. The synthesizer also draws its reference from the 0.050ppm (50ppb) factory calibrated VCTCXO. The whole clock synthesis compartment is shielded by a thick aluminum RF shield.
  5. The addition of C API and HDL controlled GPIO pins. These GPIOs are fully configurable IO pins that allow for the transverter to control amplifiers, filters, antenna systems, LEDs, etc.

After the preproduction run of units we made in February, the mass production kick-off happened a few weeks ago in early March, so we will begin seeing a trickle of transverter boards later this month, with a very good chance of all orders being shipped out by April. To be certain the transverters arrive at the correct location we will ask everyone to confirm their mailing addresses before we ship out the transverters.

Lastly, we wish to thank everyone for being so patient and bearing with us. Based on your comments and suggestions we have developed a HAM solution we are truly proud of. We hope the drastic specification improvements make up for the delay in delivery. If you have any questions, concerns or feedback about anything please contact us directly at bladeRF@nuand.com or Robert ( robert.ghilduta@nuand.com ) or Brian ( bpadallino@nuand.com ).

Now that we are finally caught up on hardware development, the real fun can begin!

PS. We are still looking for more beta testers for our OpenBTS release candidate! https://github.com/Nuand/OpenBTS

xb200_front   Front view: The blue passives are high-Q RF capictors and inductors xb200_side Side view: Large coils make for low DCR (thus high Q) inductors! xb200_in_use Warm up! xb200_back