SDR Transmitting Gets the Power

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Most hobby-grade software defined radio setups don’t transmit. Of the few that do, most of them put out anemic levels around one milliwatt or so. If you want to do something outside of the lab, you’ll need an amplifier and that’s what [Tech Minds] shows how to do in a recent video. (Embedded below.)

The video covers LimeSDR, HackRF, and the Pluto SDR, although the amplifiers should work with any transmitter. The SPF5189Z module is quite cheap and covers 50 MHz to 4 GHz, amplifying everything you throw at it. The downside is that it will amplify everything you throw at it, even parts of the signal you don’t want, such as spurs and harmonics.

There are other modules, depending on your needs. The CN0417 covers a very narrow range from 2.4 GHz to 2.5 GHz. (If you can call 100 MHz bandwidth “narrow”.) The RF2126 will cover from 400 Mhz to 2.7 GHz.

None of these are powerhouses. The maximum 20 dB gain will only give you a watt or so out with the minimal drive from most SDR transmitters. But for very many applications, that’s plenty, especially with some filtering.

Unfortunately the gain isn’t stable, and we wonder about the linearity which would affect some modulation modes. There are datasheets for these devices around, such as this one for the SPF5189Z.

If you are really into SDR, the SDR Academy went virtual this year. You might also enjoy this book.

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