Fudge Sunday - Turn Up the (Software Defined) Radio

by Jay Cuthrell
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Start the week more informedHappy New Year! This week we take a look at the widening world of Software Defined Radios (SDRs) and edge computing solutions.

Getting Informed

Back in the 1980s, a mechanical pencil was pretty expensive compared to a regular pencil. Then 1984 happened.

1984 =Come for the song... but stay for the product placement of a mechanical pencil! 🖊1984 =Come for the song… but stay for the product placement of a mechanical pencil! 🖊

Marketing, MTV, and Paper Mate

MTV was still only a few years into existence by 1984. Yet the path from MTV existing to an incredibly media-savvy manufacturer of writing instruments seeking product placement and finding it in a glam hair metal anthem music video is the stuff of legend and necessity based pioneering marketing nostalgia.


So, imagine the mechanical pencil used by engineers of the time becoming something almost anyone could buy in a retail store setting. That’s democratization of technology and that’s a pattern worth digging into more.

Along comes Software Defined Radios (SDRs)

SDRs are not new. However, getting another chunk of radio spectrum that anyone can use is a fairly recent development.

Jay Cuthrell


This is excellent news. US citizens will enjoy the fruits of this ruling concurrent with the growing ubiquity of democratized access to signal processing via Software Defined Radios (SDRs) and edge computing solutions.🤖📻☁️📡📶 https://t.co/rEbrrCIs99

7:45 PM - 28 Dec 2021

Unlicensed = Anyone Can Participate

“US appeals court rules in favor of the FCC’s decision to designate a large swath of the 6 GHz band to unlicensed users, after AT&T challenged the FCC”



For example… HackRF One

“HackRF One from Great Scott Gadgets is a Software Defined Radio peripheral capable of transmission or reception of radio signals from 1 MHz to 6 GHz.”



For example… RTL-SDR

“What is RTL-SDR? RTL-SDR is a very cheap ~$25 USB dongle that can be used as a computer based radio scanner for receiving live radio signals in your area (no internet required).”



And that means more SDRs at the edge for all

Taking SDRs to an edge computing context is where real use cases begin to emerge. Over time, democratized access will provide more flexible COTS solutions that are accessible to anyone while simultaneously transforming our relationship to real world devices that will increasingly communicate for our benefit.

Surface Go + SDR = Spectrum Analyzer

“Run a software defined radio (SDR) spectrum analyzer on a tablet computer. This video shows the Analog Devices Pluto, controlled by qIQ Transceiver, running on a Microsoft Surface Go tablet.”



Now imagine… adding GPU acceleration

“Softwarization, virtualization, and disaggregation are some of the foundational concepts of 5G-and-beyond communication networks. Softwarization of the RAN, and its realization using a software-defined radio (SDR) paradigm, is critical for supporting the three key use cases that are the hallmark of 5G:

  • Enhanced mobile broadband (eMBB)
  • Ultra-reliable low-latency communication (URLLC)
  • Massive machine type communication (mMTC)”



Reading Recommendations

You might recall from my “Twitter, Matter, and Data-Driven Journalism” issue that I’m using Matter as my primary newsletter reader. My goal is to be act as a curator.

My Matter Profile is now publicMy Matter Profile is now public

So, if you’ve ever wondered what newsletters I’ve been reading as well as the passages that I believe deserved highlighting – lookno further: https://getmatter.app/JayCuthrell/ 🤓🖍💬

If Matter profiles ever offer a RSS feed that could truly take my reading workflow to ouroboros level.♻️


One Last Thing…

In the past I would create content using social media. Now, I am at the point where I want to create compelling content in a more durable medium that others would want to share on social media.

Granted, I’ve been using social media since it came into existence and this will be a big change. As such, I’ll focus on my newsletter and my blog.

So, my use of Twitter and LinkedIn will likely be very different in 2022.


I am linking to my disclosure.


✍️ 🤓 Edit on Github 🐙 ✍️

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