SITIS Archives - Topic Details
Program:  SBIR
Topic Num:  AF071-247 (AirForce)
Title:  Wideband Radio Frequency (RF) Data Recorder and Playback System
Research & Technical Areas:  Sensors, Electronics

  Objective:  Design and develop a data acquisition system capable of sampling and recording high fidelity RF emissions and a system capable of reproducing the RF emissions from previously sampled events.
  Description:  There is a desire to collect wideband high fidelity RF data from field tests/experiments. Wideband is defined as >1_GHz instantaneous frequency, with a goal of >5_GHz instantaneous frequency. High fidelity is defined as 8 bits resolution as a threshold and an objective of 12 to 16 bits resolution. The system should be able to collect large amounts of data (>5 Terabytes) in digital form capable of offline analysis and future playback of the same data. The playback system must be able to read the stored digitized data and generate an RF signal. The bandwidths, sample rates, and resolution should be selectable, with the goal of reproducing the signal in the highest fidelity possible. The system should be suitable for laboratory and field test uses (mobile van or aircraft). High-end commercially available data recording systems can only provide 1 GHz instantaneous frequency with 8 bits of resolution; however, these do not include an integrated playback system. The field test capabilities of the commercial systems are questionable due to size and number of disks. Innovative solutions to this problem are sought that would require fewer disk drives and provide the objective sample rates. Innovative solutions are not limited to improvements in data storage and packaging and can include but are not limited to; new and improved wideband digitization (A to D converters), new and improved Direct Digital Synthesis (DDS) or Arbitrary Waveform Generation (ARB) technologies for signal playback, and new interface and control methods that allow scalable solutions to wideband problems

  PHASE I: Investigate different approaches, analyze the performance under various situations, provide recommendation initial hardware design, and simulate the design.
  
  PHASE II: The selected design will be further enhanced and prototype development will result. A computer-controlled user interface will be developed. Manufacturability concerns will be addressed by the design. The prototype measured performance will be compared against simulated performance. Phase II will conclude with demonstration and delivery of the prototype system.

  DUAL USE COMMERCIALIZATION: Military application: The ability to collect wideband data for military Radar and communications applications is very valuable. The system could also be used in many military imaging applications. Commercial application: Currently available recording and playback systems are narrow band, the ability to collect wideband data is needed for commercial Radar, Communications and Imaging applications.

  References:  1. Bohman, Tom. “1-GHz Mobile Digital Data Recorder Exploits Latest Advances.” MIL/COTS Digest (Sept-Oct 2005) 8,20 2. Komar, G.J.; Wang, J; Kimura, T. “Enabling Sensor and Platform Technologies for Spaceborne Remote Sensing.” Proceedings of SPIE 5659 (2005) 9-19

Keywords:  digital receiver, RF data collection

Questions and Answers:
Q: 1. What is the desired output interface for playback?
A: Playback system should have an output centered at some Intermediate Frequency (IF). The IF can be defined by the vendor. The IF needs to support the maximum bandwidth of the recorded data. A variable (tunable) IF with selectable (programmable) bandwidth that would allow for interfacing to multiple different RF conversion/amplification systems is desirable. Whatever IF interface it must be clearly specified and documented. The interface should use standard connectors (such as SMA or BNC) that can be connected to test equipment. A 50 Ohm impedance should also be assumed.
Q: 1. What is the desired output interface for playback?
A: Playback system should have an output centered at some Intermediate Frequency (IF). The IF can be defined by the vendor. The IF needs to support the maximum bandwidth of the recorded data. A variable (tunable) IF with selectable (programmable) bandwidth that would allow for interfacing to multiple different RF conversion/amplification systems is desirable. Whatever IF interface it must be clearly specified and documented. The interface should use standard connectors (such as SMA or BNC) that can be connected to test equipment. A 50 Ohm impedance should also be assumed.
Q: 1. Can we assume a wideband RF frontend already exists for receiving RF signals?
2. Who is the end user?
3. What is the power and size requirement?
A: 1. An Intermediate Frequency (IF) input can be assumed. A defined (by the vendor) fixed IF and bandwidth is acceptable and would meet the minimum requirement. A variable (tunable) IF with selectable (programmable) bandwidth that would allow for interfacing to multiple different RF front-ends is desirable. Whatever the RF/IF interface it must be clearly specified and documented.

2. The intended near-term end use is for laboratory and field test data collection.

3. There are no hard size and power requirements. It is desirable that the end unit be powered by standard 120v AC power, i.e., no exotic power requirements. The unit(s) should be suitable for laboratory (bench top or rack mount). The end product should be self-contained with any needed environmental/cooling provided -- you can assume ambient operating temperatures (20 degrees C +/- 10 degrees).
Q: 1. What is the bandwidth requirement for playback?
A: The playback bandwidth should be commensurate with the record bandwidth.
Q: 1. Can we assume a wideband RF frontend already exists for receiving RF signals?
2. Who is the end user?
3. What is the power and size requirement?
A: 1. An Intermediate Frequency (IF) input can be assumed. A defined (by the vendor) fixed IF and bandwidth is acceptable and would meet the minimum requirement. A variable (tunable) IF with selectable (programmable) bandwidth that would allow for interfacing to multiple different RF front-ends is desirable. Whatever the RF/IF interface it must be clearly specified and documented.

2. The intended near-term end use is for laboratory and field test data collection.

3. There are no hard size and power requirements. It is desirable that the end unit be powered by standard 120v AC power, i.e., no exotic power requirements. The unit(s) should be suitable for laboratory (bench top or rack mount). The end product should be self-contained with any needed environmental/cooling provided -- you can assume ambient operating temperatures (20 degrees C +/- 10 degrees).
Q: 1. What is the bandwidth requirement for playback?
A: The playback bandwidth should be commensurate with the record bandwidth.

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