Our friend [Hunter Scott] gave a talk at a past Supercon about phased array antennas. He mentioned he was looking for collaborators to create an antenna with the SiBeam SB9210 chip. This is a specialized chip for WirelessHD, a more or less failed video streaming protocol, and it’s essentially an entire 60 GHz phased array on a chip with both transmit and receive capabilities. For $15, it seems like quite the bargain, and [Hunter] still wants to put the device to work.
The downside is that Lattice bought SiBeam and killed this chip — not surprising considering WirelessHD never really took off. However, [Hunter] says the chip was in some old smart TVs and laptops. If you can find replacement boards for those devices on the surplus market, you can get the chip and the supporting circuitry for a song.
The situation is a little sticky. [Hunter] has the datasheets for the parts, but is still bound by a nondisclosure agreement. He’s still working on getting that encumbrance removed. But until then, he has some advice about similar chips that have public datasheets and a controller chip that — if you would sniff its bus in a working system — might very well shed light on how to set up the cheap antenna chip.
There are also a bunch of public links that should make things clearer. However, we hope that Lattice will allow the NDA to expire on the datasheets. Meanwhile, you can catch the Supercon talk that started it all in the video below.