Pentek Expands SDR Market Leadership by Integrating L-Band RF Tuner with Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA



• Directly acquires L-Band RF signals as low as -75 dBm from antenna connection
• Amplifies and downconverts RF, then digitizes I & Q signals at 200 MSPS
• Supports digital demodulation of satellite and telecommunications signals
• Onboard Virtex-6 FPGA preconfigured with data acquisition and radio tuning features

Pentek, Inc. extended its Cobalt” product family to a new domain, announcing the Model 71690 L-Band RF tuner and dual digitizer module with on-board Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA. The instrument, being previewed at SDR 2010, Booth #1, targets reception and processing of digitally-modulated RF signals such as satellite television and terrestrial wireless communications. The Model 71690 requires only an antenna and a host system, such as a personal computer, to form a complete L-band SDR development platform.

“The 71690 raises the Cobalt product family to a new level of functionality by integrating an RF front-end with world-class data acquisition and signal processing capabilities,” commented Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek. “Now, customers can use a single XMC module to receive, demodulate, decode and decrypt virtually any type of digital L-band communications, working directly from an antenna low- noise block connection.”

High Performance L-Band Reception

The 71690 RF tuner and digitizer module is capable of directly receiving and digitizing signals in the 925 MHz to 2175 MHz (L-band) frequency range with a dynamic range of -75 dBm to 0 dBm. The MAX2112 direct-conversion tuner IC integrates variable-gain amplifiers, dual downconverting mixers, and configurable-bandwidth low-pass filters to produce baseband analog in-phase (I) and quadrature (Q) signals for digitization.

Dual 16-bit, 200 MHz ADCs synchronously sample the I and Q signals, passing them to a Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA for processing tasks such as demodulation, decoding and decryption. Customers can choose from a variety of FPGAs, including the LX130T, LX240T, LX365T, SX315T and SX475T, to obtain the processing performance they need at the lowest cost. Four independent memory banks provide the 71690 with a capacity of up 2 GB of DDR3 SDRAM for applications requiring deep memory, or up to 32 MB of QDRII+ SRAM for applications requiring fast random access.

The module’s external interfaces include a Gen2 PCI Express bus (x8) for native connection to the host system for control and data transfer. In addition, the module offers application-specific options for installation of 20 LVDS pairs for general-purpose input/output and four gigabit interfaces to support serial protocols.
The RF subsystem can accept an external reference signal or an optional on-board crystal oscillator for its tuning reference. Internal timing generators provide the module’s ADC sample clock, or users can select an external reference that, along with triggers and other control inputs, allow synchronized operation across multiple modules.

Software IP for the on-board Virtex-6 FPGA provides customers with a combination of turnkey and custom functionality. The board ships with the FPGA configured to provide data acquisition, synchronization, triggering, and memory control as well as a test signal generator and control of the RF receiver tuning and bandwidth for a complete baseband signal receiver solution. The additional space available even in the smallest FPGA option also provides users ample opportunity to add their own IP using Pentek’s GateFlow Design Kit.

Form Factor

The 71690’s native form factor is a ruggedized XMC module compatible with the VITA 42.0 XMC specification. It can also be implemented in PCI Express (Model 78690) and a VITA 65 3U VPX (Model 53690) form factors. ReadyFlow software support for the Model 71690 includes drivers for Windows and Linux platforms, as well as future support for VxWorks.

Contact Information

Pentek

One Park Way
Upper Saddle River, NJ, 07458
USA

tele: 201-818-5900
fax: 201-818-5904
sales@pentek.com
www.pentek.com/

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