May 27th to June 2nd, 2024 – RF is Not Magic and More Fun with RemoteID

This week in DragonOS…

Highlight of the Week: Tinkering with the RF Not Magic Lime Daughterboard…

Expanding Drone Detection Coverage Area with Mesh Networking…

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Highlight of the Week: Tinkering with the RF Not Magic Lime Daughterboard

Talks of RF Not Magic (RFNM)  software-defined radios (SDR) began as early as March 2023, and after the tedious and detailed work of the RFNM team, customers received their boards this past week. Cemaxecuter was able to get hands on the RFNM Motherboard and Lime daughterboard. After testing the newly arrived boards with SigDigger and GNU Radio, the boards performed as well as their designers intended. Plan to see more detailed projects and videos with the RFNM Motherboard and Lime daughterboard soon.

RFNM is taking a different approach to the consumer SDR market by separating the design of the SDR from the processing unit, such as a CPU or FPGA. This approach creates a modular and expandable interface that can be swapped based on each user’s desired application. Therefore, RFNM has three important components within its ecosystem: the motherboard, the daughterboards, and the interface.

The RFNM motherboard has an ADC/DAC for converting between analog and digital signals, a timing chip, CPU, e-SIM, and RF switching logic. The motherboard exposes all of these components to its connected daughterboards which can implement an SDR, signal generator, oscilloscope, or any other desired application that relies on this fundamental set of integrated circuits.

Daughterboards are independent of one another and provide specific functionality that the end-user requires. Currently, RFNM supports two daughterboards: The Lime and The Granita. RFNM plans to design more daughterboards in the future, and if you are an ambitious RF PCB designer, you can develop custom daughterboards. RFNM provides a template board as a starting point, but you must join their Discord to download the files from the board-design-rf112 channel. As for the Granita, it boasts an impressive 10-7200 MHz operational range with two SMA ports that can simultaneously receive. Alternatively, one port can receive and the other can transmit. Cemaxecuter owns the Lime daughterboard which covers 1-3500 MHz with only one SMA port available for either transmit or receive.

The RFNM interface connects the motherboard to the daughterboards. There are two interface slots on the RFNM motherboard: the primary and secondary. It is not immediately clear whether users can connect multiple application daughterboards to the motherboard simultaneously; however, the purpose of the primary interface is to offer higher performance to the daughterboard while the secondary interface offers display and other ancillary features.

Orders for new RFNM boards are closed as the developers focus on delivering to their current backers. The developers will open up pre-orders again as long as the hardware is in high demand. At that point, a new manufacturing batch can take place and boards could be delivered in as little as 2-3 months. The easiest way to signal demand is to sign up for RFNM’s newsletter on their website and engage RFNM on Twitter and Discord. When the pre-ordering window does open back up, users must purchase an RFNM motherboard for $299 and buy any combination of the Lime ($179) or Granita ($249) daughterboards. A breakout board is also available for $29, but the main purpose of this add-on will be for testing.

RFNM Website:

RFNM twitter:

RFNM GitHub:

Expanding Drone Detection Coverage Area with Mesh Networking

After boasting a 772m RemoteID decode two weeks ago, Cemaxecuter wanted to continue to expand the applicability of decoding these packets in real time. The idea for increasing the applicability of RemoteID decoding is to create a network of nodes that can collectively decode RemoteID packets for a larger coverage area. The first step in this direction involved sharing Bluetooth packets decoded by Sniffle over a HaLow mesh network. The simple test last week involved two Alfa HaLow-U nodes. One node was connected to a base station and the second node was connected to a WarDragon 400m away from the base station. The WarDragon contained a SONOFF CC2652P to decode RemoteID packets and send the decoded packet to the WarDragon over HaLow.

The base station was able to receive decoded RemoteID packets and unpack position information about the drone, as expected. During the test, Cemaxecuter reached a new max distance at which the WarDragon decoded RemoteID: 1000 meters! This means the total separation between the base station and the drone was 1400 meters, almost 1 mile.

The current workaround to share RemoteID packets over the network requires running Sniffle via the command line and then using Netcat to pipe Sniffle’s output file across the network. The “To-Do” for the future involves real-time mapping support so that multiple WarDragons can feed a single map on the base station.

Rokland Alfa HaLow-U Documentation and Support:

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