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The HPSDR Project

Q. I have a question that is not covered in this FAQ. How/who do I ask?

A. After searching for an answer and not finding it, usually the best way is to post your question on the HPSDR Discussion List (reflector). This allows two things to happen: (1) it permits someone other than the very busy developers to answer the question if they can, and (2) it allows everyone on the list to gain the benefit of any reply.

Q. How do I get in direct email contact with project leaders?

A. The project leaders are active on the HPSDR Discussion List and you may contact them by posting a message to the list. As an alternative, most project leaders also have an alias email address assigned to them: use their ham call followed by "at" sign and "hpsdr" dot "org". An example of this for W9BQC would be "w9bqc@hpsdr.org".

Q. What is the status of the various boards or modules?

A. Here's the scoop on some as of May 1, 2007:

  ATLAS - in production, order through http://tapr.org
  PINOCCHIO - in production, order through http://tapr.org (may be "out of stock"), another run TBD.
  OZY - 1st production run - currently being shipped. Order through http://tapr.org
  JANUS - 1st production run - currently being shipped. Order through http://tapr.org
  MERCURY - alpha
  PENELOPE - alpha

All others - in various stages of design/development -- see their wiki pages.

Q. What modules would I need to get a working HPSDR transceiver on the air?

A. Answer pending.

Q. Will the modules be offered in kit or assembled form, and what about cost?

A. Atlas and Pinocchio are offered as a bare board and kit of parts. Ozy and Janus are offered either bare board or assembled and tested. A hard to get partial parts kit is being offered or Janus. Future module costs to be determined.

Q. Will Ozy and Janus "bare boards" be available?

A. Bare boards (not kits of parts) are available through TAPR.

Q. Why doesn't TAPR offer a kit of parts or at least the hard to obtain parts for Ozy or Janus?

A. A partial kit of harder to obtain parts is being offered for Janus. Potential users may certainly get together for a group buy on other parts needed to complete the boards. There are several reasons for TAPR (or HPSDR) not offering complete kits: (1) being an all-volunteer organization, it would take tremendous manpower to break the parts down to individual kits and package them, (2) there is a very large support problem for kit builders whose boards do not work when completed, and (3) the cost of a kit of parts would be about equal or may exceed the cost of an assembled and tested board.

Q. Will the Gerber files (PCB artwork) be available for anyone's use?

A. Yes. They are released under the new TAPR open source hardware license called OHL. The board designer may restrict to non-commercial use. The OHL license was finalized and approved in May 2007. See [1]

Q. Why not put OZY and JANUS on a single board?

A. The overall HPSDR project design philosophy has been to partition the design into modules small enough to allow experimentation with part and design changes and to be able to put together a system meeting individual needs. Putting the ADC chip with associated circuit on the Janus board allows a future (and hopefully better) chip to be used on a similar board, but keeping Ozy for the interface and control. Flexibility is the goal.

Q. How much better will the Ozy-Janus combination be in terms of performance when used with the SDR-1000 in place of a sound card such as the Delta 44?

A. To be determined -- but of course, we expect better results. There are some preliminary results on the wiki and in the discussion list.

Q. Will a Ozy-Janus-Atlas combination work with my PowerSDR software used for my Flex Radio SDR-1000 in place of a sound card in my PC?

A. Yes, that was one of the early goals of the HPSDR group. Phil, VK6APH, did confirm with Gerald and Eric at the Flex-Radio meeting at the Dayton Hamvention 2007 that Ozy/Janus will be fully supported in future releases in their 'mainstream' releases of PowerSDR. Bill, KD5TFD, will be working with Eric from Flex to accomplish this. At this point it is not known exactly when, and what version the support will begin, but it will happen. Direct all questions regarding Janus/Ozy to the HPSDR Discussion List (and NOT the Flex-Radio list), as folks have been doing and admirably responding. The arrangement with Flex-Radio required the donation of a working Ozy/Janus to Flex-Radio and this has been accomplished after TAPR approved the expense.

Q. Is the HPSDR project going to use Microsoft Windows (R) or some flavor of Linux (R)?

A. Yes! (Eventually both, that is...but, currently, the supported OS is WinXP).

Q. What are the recommended minimum system requirements for the PC I will use for the HPSDR?

A. USB 2.0 is a requirement. Currently, the OS recommendation is WinXP. Windows 2000 is NOT recommended as the USB 2.0 stack on Windows 2000 is just too slow.

At this time, there are no solid recommendations for minimum CPU or RAM that are based on actual testing with HPSDR hardware of how low we can go.

FlexRadio does have Minimum Recommended PC Configurations for systems using the PowerSDR software. Since the HPSDR hardware uses PowerSDR, these specs are probably a good guide to what would be advisable for the HPSDR. FlexRadio's numbers from their website are as follows:

  Processor:  Min: 1.5GHz   Recommended: 3.2GHz+ or greater
  Memory:  Min: 512MB   Recommended: 1GB+ (use the fastest RAM available)

Q. What user name and password do I use to access the HPSDR svn repository?

A. None is required for reading the SVN, only required to place something in the repository. The IP address of the repository is shown on the resources page of the main HPSDR.org website.

Q. Will HPSDR be developed for higher frequencies like those used for satellite and space communications, e.g. VHF, UHF and Microwave?

A. There is a group doing SDR for microwave: [2] Current HPSDR projects could certainly be used as an IF for a transverter, but there is nothing going on with HPSDR that is specifically aimed at microwave.

The HPSDR Wiki

Q. Do I need to register for log in?

A. No! Only those who are active leaders, designers or documentors of various projects need login capability to edit their respective project pages. No login is needed to read any of the wiki.

Q. What if I find that a correction is needed in the wiki?

A. Reports such as this are welcomed by the WikiSysOp -- email ae5k at hpsdr dot com with details.

ATLAS Backplane

Q. What is the recommended means of powering ATLAS?

A. The ATX 20 pin power connector on the Atlas board enables the use of standard PC power supplies. (Please Note: There is no reason that you cannot utilize a non-PC power supply regulated and wired to supply the proper voltages to the 20pin connector. A non-PC power supply could also enable custom current limiting of the voltages going to the 20 pin connector, an advisable setup when testing or prototyping boards plugged into ATLAS. An analog power supply may be an attractive option for users particularly paranoid about spurious emissions in the HF band of which some low cost PC power supplied may be susceptible.)

If you choose to use an ATX computer power supply care should be taken that the -12V current requirement is met. (Note of warning: some versions of the attractive picoPSU do not provide proper -12V current capacity. Check before you buy.)

As a reference for current requirements (reported by Bill Tracey May, 11, 2007), Oxy/Janus being used by a SDR100 had the following current usage:

+12v: 200 ma
+5v: 180 ma
-12v: 70 ma

Obviously addition boards connected to the Atlas board will increase these numbers.

Q. Will the Atlas be offered assembled?

A. Probably not. It is fairly easy to assemble with a very minimal amount of surface mount parts. There are quite a few solder pads due to the 96 pin connectors. If you are not able to do this work yourself, our advice is to ask on the HPSDR Discussion List (reflector) to see if you can pay someone to do the work for you.

Q. Can solder paste and a hot air heat gun (or oven) be used on Atlas for "all those connections" ?

A. It is possible, but at least one report indicates problems with the center row on the connectors. If considering doing this, we suggest you ask on the discussion list. If anyone has had success or failure, please report it to the wikisysop so we can update this reply.

Q. Will a larger (or smaller?) number of slots version be offered?

A. Possibly, if the need and demand warrant. Nothing is in the plans right now (as of May 2007).

Q. I don't see assignment of all the bus pins. Is there a list somewhere?

A. Some are not assigned a function yet, due to the developing nature of the HPSDR project and the use of the FPGA.


Q. Availability?

A. The bare board and connectors are now available from TAPR http://tapr.org


Q. Will the USB connection from Ozy to my PC require anything special in terms of USB port specification or drivers?

A. A USB 2 connection will be required on the PC. Most modern PCs have this as standard. With MS Windows, for the USB driver we are using the LibUsb-Win32 library which is a free download from http://libusb-win32.sourceforge.net/ A Linux version is also available, see http://www.linux-usb.org/ and http://libusb.sourceforge.net/ . Experience will tell us if there are any problems with certain types of USB2 ports.

Q. Why do we need a "configuration device" when the software can just load the FPGA via USB and the Cypress CY7C68013 (FX2) chip? The schematic shows the programming pins connected from FX2 GPIO pins to FPGA.

A. It does load via USB and this is how OZY is normally used. BUT, there will come a time when someone wants to use the OZY without PC attached and the configuraton device allows this possibility.

Q. Is the design of Ozy such that it can be used for other purposes than SDR?

A. We certainly hope so and expect that some will use it as a learning tool or development platform for other projects not even remotely related to SDR. It provides an inexpensive piece of hardware for many purposes.


Q. Is Janus a "sound card" ?

A. NO! The usual meaning of a sound card is one which plugs into a personal computer (ISA, PCI, or other bus). The Janus module plugs into our Atlas bus and contains some of the components of the usual sound card. It also requires the Ozy or similar interface to use it in applications which call for a PC sound card.

Q. Will I be able to use Janus for other non-SDR sound applications with my PC?

A. In theory, Yes! This will require a Windows or Linux driver; there is no reason one can't be written, we just need a volunteer!




Project leaders, developers, documenters: feel free to contribute answers -- especially where it says "TBD" or "Answer pending." (email to AE6UJ).

General Readership: have a suggested question that should be here? Email AE6UJ specifically mentioning the wiki FAQ. Email address is AE6UJ @ hpsdr.org (omit spaces).