BladeRF 2.0 USB 3.0 Software Defined Radio Launched for $480 and Up

Around 5 years ago, several affordable FPGA based open source software defined radio boards launched including HackRF, BladeRF x40 / x115, and  USRP B200.

The company behind BladeRF has now launched an update of their boards with Blade RF 2.0 coming in two versions namely bladeRF 2.0 micro xA4 and bladeRF 2.0 micro xA9 supporting the same 47MHz to 6GHz frequency range, and 61.44MHz sampling rate, but the latter comes with a more powerful 301KLE Cyclone V FPGA.

Click to Enlarge

BladeRF 2.0 hardware specifications:

  • FPGA
    • Micro xA4 – Intel / Altera Cyclone V FPGA with 49 kLE
    • Micro xA9 – Intel / Altera Cyclone V FPGA with 301 kLE
  • Analog Devices RF Transceiver
    • 47 MHz to 6 GHz frequency range
    • 2×2 MIMO, 61.44 MHz sampling rate
    • 56 MHz filtered bandwidth (IBW)
    • Automatic gain control (AGC)
    • Real- time custom gain control tables controlled
      via SPI and discrete external input pins
    • Automatic IQ and DC offset correction
    • 128-tap digital FIR filtering
  • USB 3.0 SuperSpeed support via Cypress FX3 peripheral controller with integrated 200 MHz ARM926EJ-S processor
  • Factory-calibrated SiTime MEMS VCTCXO
    • Calibrated within 1 Hz of 38.4 MHz
    • Taming supported via 12-bit DAC or ADF4002 PLL
    • MEMS oscillators provide superior reliability, aging,
      power supply noise rejection, and vibe/shock performance compared to quartz oscillators
  • Expansion – Port with 32 I/O pins (LVDS available)
  • Debugging – JTAG connectors
  • Triggered multi-device sampling synchronization
  • Onboard bias tee optionally provides 5V to active antennas
    and accessories
Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The board works with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X computers, and support various software programs and packages including GNU Radio via gr-osmosdr, Pothos via SoapySDR, SDRangel, SDR Console, YateBTS,
OpenAirInterface,  srsUE & srsLTE, and MathWorks MATLAB.

Some of the typical applications for BladeRF 2.0 boards would be custom modem and waveform development, wireless video transmission (e.g. ATSC, DVB-T, DVB-S), GPS reception and simulation, cellular with GSM and LTE, ADS-B reception and simulation, and others.

BladeRF 2.0 micro xA4 and micro xA9 boards are sold for respectively $480 and $720 on Nuand’s website, where you’ll also find accessories such as an acrylic case, and bias-tee amplifiers.

Thanks to Jon for the tip.

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