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Improved platform for generating test radio signals

indready is unveiling the latest software-defined radio toolkit release, the Universal Radio Tester (URT) Version 3.0. The URT is highly flexible, compact and affordable for generating analogue and digital radio frequency signals based on National Instruments' PXI hardware and NI LabVIEW and NI TestStand software packages.

Engineers can use the URT to both design and test radio receivers for terrestrial and satellite-supported broadcasting. The URT characterises the quality of a given radio receiver by analysing the frequency content of its signal. The URT hardware consists of a PXI chassis, an embedded PXI dual-core controller and the National Instruments PXI-5671 2.7GHz RF vector signal generator. Optionally, the PXI-4461 data acquisition module and the PXI-5661 2.7 GHz RF vector signal analyser with a digital downconverter can also be used for audio analysis or RF recording. Design product validation engineers benefit from accurate and comprehensive tools to validate their designs, while manufacturing facilities use URTs for final testing.

Masayuki Fukushima, Senior Engineer at Toko KK in Japan, comments: "We are currently developing and manufacturing a digital radio module for automobiles, and, as part of the development process, we must ensure that the module will work reliably under real conditions for several hours (up to 1500 hours continuously). Thus we needed a stable signal generator. By simply adding software modules, the URT is able to address worldwide analogue and digital modulation schemes, which is an advantage that no other signal generator offers."

The flexible software-based system can be easily upgraded as new standards are released. With this release, Mindready is building on the existing URT 2.0 functionality, which is used for generating and analysing radio signals such as AM, FM, single and three-channel RDS, XM, SIRIUS, HD Radio (IBOC) and Digital Audio Broadcasting (DAB). Mindready has also developed several new toolkits in Version 3.0, including the RF Recorder and the RF Playback software toolkits, NTSC-PAL analogue video, GPS 1-Channel Toolkit, and the Traffic Monitoring and Control (TMC) and Data Radio Channel (DARC) toolkits for the Japanese market. The RF Recorder has the ability to record any RF signals between 500kHz and 2.7GHz with a bandwidth of 6.8MHz. This is a very compact RF record and playback system designed for RF drive tests and field measurements, which uses external, low-cost storage capacity that can record hours of test drive. Mindready also offers a library of RF signals for its RF Playback software toolkit.

TMC, already popular in Europe, is becoming more popular in North America. The new TMC Toolkit improves on the existing single-channel RDS toolkit.

Mindready designed the DARC Toolkit specifically to meet Japanese market needs. It was developed to simulate FM multiplex broadcasting, which provides services such as general information, traffic information, radio paging and differential GPS data by multiplexing digital signals with existing FM stereo broadcasting signals. The GPS 1-Channel Toolkit and the NTSC-PAL Analogue Video Software Toolkit were developed to address the needs of manufacturers who design navigation system.

 

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