Building a better spectrum analyzer for radio enthusiasts

This spectrum analyzer project seeks to improve the quality of tools available to amateur radio operators. A lot of thought has gone into the design, and those details are shared in the verbose project log. The case was originally a CATV link transmitter, but most of the controls seen above have been added for this build, with unused holes filled and finished to achieve the clean look.

One noteworthy part of the build is the time that went into building a rather complicated-looking 1013.3 MHz cavity bandpass filter. Despite the effort, the filter didn’t work. Details are a bit sketchy but it seems that some additional tuning brought it within spec to complete that portion of the device.

This certainly makes other toy spectrum analyzers look like… toys.

[Thanks William]

PIC spectrum analyzer uses Fast Fourier Transform routine

[Simon Inns] just rolled out his latest project, a PIC based spectrum analyzer. He’s using a Fast Fourier Transform routine crafted in C to run as efficiently as possible on the 8-bit chip. The video after the break shows that the results are quite pleasing, with just a bit of noticeable lag between the sound and the waveform representation on the graphic LCD. We found his notes about using an audio amplifier chip to be interesting. He utilizes the properties of an LM386 to move the input signals from a range of -0.5V to +0.5V into a very ADC friendly range of 0-5V.

[Read more...]

Pulling data from the IM-ME spectrum analyzer

A small, cheap spectrum analyzer with an LCD can be a fun thing to play with. But to be truly usefully you need access to raw data, and lots of it. [Travis Goodspeed] set out to make that possible by pulling data with a GoodFET and a Python script.

He started with [Michael Ossmann's] IM-ME spectrum analyzer, which uses a CC1110 chip. The two of them are giving a lecture at Toorcon 12 (called Real Men Carry Pink Pagers) and this will be used as a demonstration device. After studying the datasheet he found the starting RAM address and did some further work to deciphered how the data is stored in it. From there it was a matter of working out the timing for grabbing the data, and coding a method for storing it. Now he’s looking for brave souls to help him trailblaze with this newly-discovered tool. It seems that if you know what you are doing, and have abundant patience, you can use this for a bit of old-fashioned reverse engineering.

IM-ME spectrum analyzer

[Michael Ossmann] rolled out some firmware that makes his IM-ME into a Spectrum Analyzer. He met up with [Travis Goodspeed], who authored the IM-ME flashing guide, at SchmooCon and spent some time hacking wireless doo-dads in the hotel bar. Once he arrived home the new firmware was just a few coding sessions away from completion. It scans one frequency at a time, displaying the results in a 132 column graph on the screen. He also added a ribbon cable and header to the debug contacts so that future hacking would be as simple as plugging in the GoodFET.

[Thanks Jared and Travis]

Spectrum analyzer wedged into a cellphone

[Miguel A. Vallejo] wanted a portable spectrum analyzer for the 2.4GHz ISM band. No problem, there’s modules for that are easy to interface with a microcontroller and LCD screen. But carrying around a black project box doesn’t exactly scream ‘cool’ so he fit his spectrum analyzer inside of a cell phone. This made a lot of things easier for him; he already had a few old phones, he was able to use both the original battery and the original LCD screen, and a lot of the mounting work is already done for you. The only challenge was to fit his custom circuitry inside. By hacking off part of the CYWM6935 module and cutting some protoboard in the same shape as the original PCB he managed to get everything into this tiny portable package. Now he’s looking for a way to incorporate a charger, and an on/off switch.

If you don’t have an old cell phone sitting around you can try building a spectrum analyzer that uses a character display. But we’d suggest hitting up your friends for their old cellphones.  The screens are used in all kinds of fun projects.

Turn your Playstation 3 into Linux-based Lab Equipment

In a two-part series called “PS3 Fab-to-lab” on IBM’s awesome developerWorks website, [Lewin] explains how to use the Cell Broadband Engine in a PS3 to create an audio-bandwidth spectrum analyzer and function generator. The set up consists of Yellow Dog Linux, an NTSC television, and an external USB sound card to provide the inputs of the spectrum analyzer and the outputs of the function generator. The sound card driver is written to simply capture or send the info in question (audio range only) and the NTSC television as the graphical interface. This hack involves a lot of coding with hardly any example code provided. The article is more of a guide than anything. If anyone gets this working, let us know!

[via Digg]

[photo: Malcom Tredinnick]

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