really cool SDR....

Michael O'Dell mo at
Sun Mar 15 22:26:17 CDT 2009

this last Friday (the 13th!) i visited Hypres in
beautiful Elmsford NY.

they make superconducting electronics, as in
integrated circuits that run at 4 degrees Kelvin.
that's liquid helium temperature. modern cryocoolers
no longer require boiling Dewars of LHe but it's still
utterly astounding. niobium is the magic metal for
making Josephson Junctions.

they do something they call "Digital RF"
because that's exactly what it is.

they have an integrated receiver front-end that
runs at 40 Gigasamples per second, followed by
a pair of digital filters that can do all kinds
of tricks. normally the filters slice off 100 MHz
of spectrum and generate I/Q signals which are then
interfaced to an FPGA for further chomping. And
the dynamic range? how does 140dB strike you?

most interestingly, they can put the "antennas"
on the chips, too, by using SQUIDS. these are used
in MRI machines to pick up the magnetic resonance signatures
of the hydrogen atoms which are flipping back and forth.
that's a field strength measured in femto-Tesla.

anyway, look at the "What's New" section for the press
release on SPAWAR Pacific's delight with their prototype
Link-16 Multi-Net Receiver. it directly digitizes the
entire 960-1214MHz Link-16 band and then it's all just
bits from there.

pretty amazing stuff.  i have a couple of chips in
museum magnifier cases. i'll bring them to Tacos
the next time i can get free.


More information about the Tacos mailing list