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Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] GNU radio

From: Marcus D. Leech
Subject: Re: [Discuss-gnuradio] GNU radio
Date: Tue, 20 Sep 2011 18:43:24 -0400
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On 09/20/2011 06:14 PM, Andrew Rich wrote:
Can I ask some questions about GNU radio ( I think I just did )

Is there a diffinative list of what GNU Radio can do ?
Well, there's the Doxygen DOCs, which are more programmer-friendly than for someone wanting to get a pithy overview.


And the www.gnuradio.org site in general has a fair amount of information.

What modes does the GNU radio suite cover ?
A bunch. But keep in mind that Gnu Radio isn't an *end application*, but rather a DSP/SDR development environment for
  *developing* end applications.

Applications are "strung together" from fundamental DSP building blocks, like modulators, filters, etc. There's a GUI-based application, called "GRC" (GnuRadio Companion) which helps with that "stringing together", although one is also free to program using the pre-defined blocks in either Python or C++. There is also a mechanism for adding your own processing blocks, which are generally written in C++, and interface to the rest of Gnu Radio using a formal interface.

Are there any experimental modes being used with GNU radio ?
I huge fraction of the people using Gnu Radio are using it for experimentation with communications protocols and new modulation techniques. Some are students, using Gnu Radio to explore variants of existing modulation schemes--OFDM, QAM, QPSK, etc.

Is it just the ease of experimentation that is the attraction ?

I guess that's part of the attraction. And it's free--both as in beer, and "freedom". It supports a growing number of SDR hardware platforms as well, including the products from Ettus, and the FCD from the UK. One of the Gnu-Radio based applications that I run
  24x7 uses a PC sound card as an RF sampler for VLF radio.

Much of the "early" SDR hardware platforms out there, particularly those targetted at the amateur-radio market, have a closed, or nearly-closed API, and often you're "locked in" to the applications they provide. Which is fine if you think of an SDR platform as nothing more than a ham-radio "appliance", with a PC GUI instead of front-panel knobs.

But for those of us who think of SDR platforms as more-generic devices, a "framework" like Gnu Radio is the perfect vehicle for experimentation, research, testing, and even end-product "delivery". My own software-product, IRA, uses Gnu Radio underneath
  to do about 80% of the signal-processing functions.

Marcus Leech
Principal Investigator
Shirleys Bay Radio Astronomy Consortium

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