Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Narrowband RF Transceiver

We have so many options when we wish to add wireless control to our devices, as technology has delivered a stream of inexpensive devices and breakout boards for our experimentation. A few dollars will secure you all your wireless needs, it seems almost whatever your chosen frequency or protocol. There is a problem with this boundless availability though, they can often be rather opaque and leave their users only with what their onboard firmware chooses to present.

The Open Narrowband RF Transceiver from [Samuel Žák] promises deliver something more useful to the experimenter: an RF transceiver for the 868 or 915MHz allocations with full control over all transmission parameters. Transmission characteristics such as frequency, bandwidth, and deviation can be adjusted, and the modulation and encoding schemes can also be brought under full control. Where a conventional module might simply offer on-off keying or frequency shift keying, this module can be programmed to deliver any modulation scheme its chipset is capable of. Spread-spectrum? No problem!

Onboard, the device uses the TI CC1120 transceiver chip, paired with the CC1190 front end and range extender. Overseeing it all is an ST Microelectronics STM32F051 microcontroller, which as you might expect is fully accessible to programmers. Interfaces are either USB, through an FTDI serial chip, or directly via a serial port.

There are a host of transceiver chips on the market which just beg to be exploited, so it is very good indeed to see a board like this one. It’s worth noting though that the CC1120 has a much wider frequency band than that of the CC1190, and with a different front end and PA circuitry, this could cover other allocations including some amateur bands.

5 thoughts on “Hackaday Prize Entry: Open Narrowband RF Transceiver

    1. Slightly higher cost
      Extremely narrower band
      Can run code on board – Don’t need a pc to do stuff.
      Seems to be geared around RS485 – remote lights perhaps?

      For less than $20 you can slap an MCU on a Si4432 or sx12xx and run dedicated code.
      You could even send and receive audio this way.

      I find it interesting what he is trying to do though personally, I’d use a yardstick 1 for experimentation and make little dedicated interface units where needed.

      On a side note, I saw the LimeSDR on the same site (https://www.crowdsupply.com/lime-micro/limesdr). Its full duplex – beats out the HackRF for high data rate hacking. Similar price. It has been covered by hackaday before. I just didn’t look into it at the time :)

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