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Dr. Howard White, KY6LA: Four Generations of SDR Architectures and Products

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Published on Mar 23, 2016

In the Past Year, a new 4th Generation SDR Architecture has emerged that not only bests Legacy Radios with better performance but has ergonomic advantages so that Contesters and DXer’s can finally make SDR’s their first choice. The talk will cover the rapidly accelerating pace of evolution of SDR Technology through Four Generations of SDR Architectures with examples of Amateur Radio products using each architecture.

SDR Technology has captured the imagination of Amateur Radio Operators who increasingly chose SDR’s when buying a new radio. This trend has become so dominant in the USA that Legacy Radio Manufacturers have started to mislabel Legacy Radios as SDR’s to try to recapture lost sales from the uninformed. The presentation will define what is an SDR and show where Legacy technology is not an SDR.

There are now Four Generations of SDR Architectures. First Generation SDR Architectures became economically and technologically feasible for amateur radio applications around 2000. Since then the pace of evolution of Amateur Radio SDR Architectures has begun to accelerate rapidly with Second Generation Architectures emerging in 2009, Third Generation Architectures in 2012 and most recently the very exciting Fourth Generation SDR Architectures in 2014. The presentation will define each of these architectures, explain how technological developments have caused them to happen and review the strengths and weaknesses of each architecture.

In order to make the presentation relevant to Amateur Radio Operators, the presentation will include products (with relative pricing where practical) currently on the market that are representative of each of the SDR architectures. Perhaps the most exciting development for amateur radio operators in the past year has been the emergence of a new 4th Generation SDR Architecture that not only bests Legacy Radios with better performance but has ergonomic advantages so that Contesters and DXer’s can finally make SDR’s their first choice.

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