XTRX SDR Mini PCIe Card Supports 10 MHz to 3.8 GHz Tuning Range, up to 120 MSPS Sample Rate

Fairwaves is a startup that aims to make deploying and operating mobile networks in rural regions profitable, and their latest project is called XTRX, a high performance Software Defined Radio (SDR) board packed into a mini PCIe card form factor.

The project was launched on Crowdsupply earlier with year, got fully funded by around 700 backers, and the company is now working on fulfilling backers rewards by the end of August.

XTRX board specifications:

  • RF Chipset – Lime Microsystems LMS7002M FPRF (as found in LimeSDR Mini)
  • FPGA Chipset – Xilinx Artix 7 35T
  • RF
    Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge
    • Channels – 2 × 2 MIMO
    • Sample Rate – ~0.2 MSPS to 120 MSPS SISO / 90 MSPS MIMO
    • Tuning Range: 30 MHz – 3.8 GHz
    • Rx/Tx Range:
      • 10 MHz – 3.7 GHz
      • 100 kHz – 3.8 GHz with signal level degradation
  • PCIe
    •  Bandwidth
      • PCIe x2 Gen 2.0 up to 8 Gbit/s
      • PCIe x1 Gen 2.0 up to 4 Gbit/s
      • PCIe x1 Gen 1.0 up to : 2 Gbit/s
    • Bus Latency: <10 µs, stable over time
  • Reference Clock -26 MHz; Stability: <10 ppb stability after GPS/GNSS lock, 500 ppb at start up
  • GPIO Expansion
    • FPC Edge Connector – 4x lines (usable as two diff-pairs)
    • Mini PCIe Reserved Pins: 8x lines (including two diff-pairs, 1pps input, 1pps output, TDD switch control, and three LEDs)
  • Dimensions – 30x51mm (full-size Mini PCIe)

Some accessories are also available for the board including antennas & cables, a USB 3 adapter with aluminum enclosure, a PCIe x2 + front-end adapter, and a PCIe octopack, which enables synchronization of multiple XTRX boards (up to 8) for “massive MIMO” deployment.

XTRX Board in aluminum enclosure (without USB 3 adapter).

Documentation, and source code can be found in xtrx-sdr Github account,  where you’ll find connector pinout, 3D models, pre-built binaries, a getting started guide, and modified open source applications such as SDRangel,  osmo-trx,Kalibrate, and gr-osmosdr.

Potential applications for the platform include bandwidth monitoring (up to 1 GHz of bandwidth with 8 XTRX cards), software defined 2G/3G/4G/LTE cellular modems,  DSP acceleration, and various use cases for drones and embedded systems.

PCIe Octopack Board

The crowdfunding campaign is over, but Crowdsupply allows for pre-orders afterwards, so you can now pre-order a XTRX revision 4 board for $260 without any accessories. Other rewards include the $515 XTRX Deluxe Bundle with the mini PCIe card, cables, USB 3.0 enclosure and PCIe x2 + front-end adapter, or the complete 8 boards Octopack for $2,900.

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2 Replies to “XTRX SDR Mini PCIe Card Supports 10 MHz to 3.8 GHz Tuning Range, up to 120 MSPS Sample Rate”

  1. This is very approachable on several fronts. It’s only got 35k cells in the Artix, but it should work out nicely enough Price-wise, this is a gem for what they bring to the table. It should be noted that for the cost of a bit of your cells and RAM you can easily and readily have an Embedded RISC-V CPU on the fabric of the FPGA if you’re needing that sort of thing.

  2. The original USB TV sticks had a lower limit, too. People got around it by having a direct path to the ADC (bypassing the RF front end).
    At 120MSPS, they COULD eliminate the 30MHz lower limit. Failure to do that is short sighted, to put it mildly.

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