Great Scott Gadgets Is Currently Developing a Universal Radio Test Instrument

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Great Scott Gadgets has been behind a lot of popular products for the maker and hacker community. These include the Ubertooth One, YARD Stick One, and most notably, the HackRF. These tools have given users a low-cost method to begin experimenting and learning about wireless protocols, software-defined radios (SDRs), and hacking. They have also been featured in numerous conferences and demos demonstrating various techniques and methods for working with SDRs.

Great Scott Gadgets has recently announced they have begun working on their next project, a universal radio test instrument, or URTI for short. Keeping with their philosophy of keeping things open source, the URTI is planned to be an open source radio platform that provides various functions for investigation and experimentation. Specifically, it will offer users the means to measure and analyze various RF devices and sources. The current functionality goals for the project include the following:

  • Spectrum analyzer
  • Vector network analyzer
  • Vector signal generators
  • Vector signal analyzer
  • Antenna analyzer
  • power meters
  • Frequency counters
  • Full-duplex SDR transceivers

Combining all the functionality mentioned above into a single device is no simple task, and if done successfully it would be a huge accomplishment. Indeed, devices that provide spectrum analysis or network analysis alone can easily cost thousands of dollars. Nevertheless, the URTI will truly be a Swiss army knife for RF test and measurement. The vector network analyzer can help evaluate and characterize RF filters and amplifiers. The spectrum analyzer would enable users to monitor spectrum over the air or emitting from a device. In addition, the vector signal analyzer would allow users to demodulate RF waveforms.

The project is planned to be developed in eight phases with the first consisting of hardware selection and evaluation. The following phases include mainboard design, component interface designs, firmware and gateware development, software development, final mainboard design, user interface design, and handheld user interface firmware development. The project is currently in the first phase of component selection and sub-circuit evaluation.

To keep up with the status of the project, updates will be posted through the Great Scott Gadgets blog while more frequent updates on the latest progress can be viewed through their lab notes repository on GitHub.

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