Ham Radio Company wins big
It’s kind of the American dream: to start a business in your garage and make it go crazy. After all, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and even Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard did. It seems difficult to do these days, however. However, an amateur radio company that has pushed the boundaries of software-defined radio appears to be on its way to becoming more than its roots. FlexRadio has partnered with Raytheon to undertake a major project for the US Air Force.
The Air Force gave Raytheon and FlexRadio $ 36 million to develop an HF radio based on the existing SmartSDR / Flex-6000. ARRL reports quote the CEO of FlexRadio as saying that the investment in military radios will pay dividends to the company’s amateur radio customers.
Honestly, this wouldn’t surprise us, as amateur radio has always gained a lot from both military technology and surpluses. In addition, manufacturers of military radios such as Collins have a long history of making equipment for hobbyists as well. We imagine that the potential market for an SDR would be much larger for the military, which could make more powerful equipment available at a lower price.
The Flex6000 appears in the video below. The receiver uses a direct digital sampling technique on reception and direct upscaling on transmission. Different family members have different ranges, but generally radios can go from 300 kHz to 77 MHz and sometimes 135 to 165 MHz as well.
FlexRadio has had a lot of competition lately in the amateur SDR space with players ranging from large manufacturers to small businesses all taking a slice of the pie. The military connection for FlexRadio can allow them to give individual hams a better product.
As you would expect at this price, this equipment is not quite an RTL-SDR. If you want to ride on your own or just want to get a better feel, don’t miss [Mike Ossmann’s] RF design workshop.