New Hampshire’s RadioStack has designed an FT8 digital-mode Software Defined Radio (SDR) board with a difference: the device is open-source right down to the design of the silicon chip it uses for receiving the signals.
“Maverick-603 is the first affordable FT8 receiver board built around an RF receiver chip that was designed using fully open source tools, ” RadioStack explains. “It is capable of acquiring FT8 signals between 7MHz and 70MHz. With this frequency range, you will be able to receive signals from around the world with high accuracy.”
Like the LimeSDR family of full-duplex high-performance software-defined radios, the RadioStack’s hardware designs are released under an open-source licence and extends to the receiver chip itself. The chip is designed on the Efabless platform under the ChipIgnite programme, which gives access to silicon fabrication facilities at SkyWater and GlobalFoundries and sits at the heart of the Google-funded OpenMPW free and open source silicon production effort.
“It is difficult for open source practices to thrive in the chip-design industry, but Maverick-603 demonstrates that open source chip design can produce products that equal or surpass their closed-source counterparts,” RadioStack says of its work. “With this project, we aim to gather interest and support, both for amateur radio and open source chip design.”
“The Maverick-603’s radical approach to open hardware, going right down to the silicon level, is another sign of an ongoing revolution in our industry,” Ebrahim Bushehri, Lime Micro’s chief executive officer, says of the launch. “As a company with the democratisation of communications technologies at its very heart, we welcome RadioStack’s contributions to the industry and look forward to watching their efforts progress.”
RadioStack is currently raising funds to produce the Maverick-603 for general availability via Crowd Supply with a target of $15,000.