DATV-Express Project - November update report

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DATV-Express Project - November update report

Postby KenW6HHC » Sat Dec 02, 2017 11:06 pm

The entire DATV-Express Project Team recently met by Skype and decided that there is NOT enough interest in the DATV-Express boards that have sold out to build another production batch. The project team declared an END OF SALES policy on November 28. The main reason is that lower-cost products (ADALM-PLUTO and Mini-LimeSDR) will most likely become available very soon. The Analog Devices ADALM-PLUTO SDR Tx/Rx may become available again in first week of January 2018 at a price of US$100 or US$150. The mini-LimeSDR Tx/Rx from Lime-Micro is rumored to ship in mid-January at a price of US$140. Both of these new SDR boards will be lower priced than the DATV-Express Tx-only board (US$300).

Ken W6HHC reconstructed the main mile-stones in the DATV-Express project.
• At TAPR Digital Communications Conference (DCC) 2009-October presentations, Art WA8RMC made statement that he could design a low-cost DATV transmitter board…but needed help from a software ham.
• In June, just prior to the TAPR DCC 2010, Charles G4GUO sent an e-mail to TAPR board-of-directors explaining he had a concept for a SDR DATV-S exciter board…but needed help from hardware hams to design PCB and build the PCBA. Could TAPR help?
Figure01-Original DVB-S DATV-Express concept from G4GUO in 2009
• Mark WB9QZB of TAPR board contacted Ken W6HHC about Charles’ request. Ken contacted Art about the opportunity…then confirmed the interest back to G4GUO.
• During TAPR DCC 2010-September presentation, Ken W6HHC announced the formation of a low-cost DATV transmitter project, but put out a request for a Printed Circuit Board designer. Tom WB6P responded he could help with PCB layout and files for manufacturing.
• 2010-September – first DATV-Express draft schematic (AutoCAD) was reviewed by the project team.
• 2011- October – first prototype DATV-Express board files released to manufacturing to allow prototype testing of hardware and software to begin.
• 2013-October – first batch of production PCBAs assembled and tested.
• 2014-February – first software v2.01 for ubuntu O/S production-released…first DATV-Express board sold.
• 2014-April – experimental software for ARM-based RaspberryPi-1 and ODROID single-board-computers.
• 2015-January – G4GUO was able to demonstrate power of SDR technology by adding ReducedBandwidth-DATV (RB-DATV), same hardware board...just SW changes. Not only DATV signals were reduced to <0.5 MHz, but other users demonstrated the improved S/N with narrow-BW.
• 2016-November – first experimental software v1.19 for Windows O/S released and eliminates need for the Hauppauge video-capture dongle.
• 2017-November – END-OF-SALES is announced. Support will continue.
Figure02 – Final Block-Diagram of DATV-Express Exciter Board

Charles G4GUO continues working on RECEIVING DVB-S2 protocol with the PLUTO-ADALM unit in Linux software. So far, Charles can now decode 1.5 MSymb/sec using an expensive CUDA graphics card from nVidia to provide hardware acceleration of the LDPC algorithm. Note that this need for a GPU accelerator does not exist if receiving DVB-S protocol.

Finally, Art WA8RMC reports that the first prototype PCB blank boards have been ordered for the MiniTiouner-Express version of the MiniTiouneV2 board design have order and will be available in mid-December. The hardware is intended to use the DVB-S/S2 analyzer/receiver MiniTioune software developed by Jean Pierre F6DZP. The intent is to produce a smaller and assembled and tested version of the Serit NIM PCBA design at an affordable price.
Figure03 – Mock-up of MiniTioune-Express hardware with cover

The DATV-Express team members feel proud of the small contribution of DATV-Express boards that they made to DATV and SDR technology and ham radio. Other hams and other teams will continue to improve these ideas forward. Thank you for your support over these many years.

“Project speed set to slow” …. de Ken W6HHC
Last edited by KenW6HHC on Mon Dec 04, 2017 11:27 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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Re: DATV-Express Project - November update report

Postby g0mjw » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:06 am

Thanks for all the efforts DATV-Express team have made in developing the project. It has enabled low cost DATV for many people.

I love the new mini-hardware tuner, but I am wondering if it won't be long before it's all done in software so maybe the next step is to implement DATV on some dedicated DSP hardware, most likely an FPGA or CPU/GPU combo like the Jetson TX2 that can convert baseband to data and vice versa?


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Re: DATV-Express Project - November update report

Postby G4GUO » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:31 am

Yes the TX2 would be ideal as it has Hardware H.264 and H.265 encoders built in, Gigabit Ethernet, USB3, PCIe SPI,I2C,GPIO etc
unfortunately it is expensive at £544 for the developer kit. The TX1-SE is cheaper if you are a registered NVIDIA developer like I am
at half that price but it doesn't have the performance of The TX2.

- Charles

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