USRP News, July 2007

USRP News, July 2007

News Items
2 USRP Demo Contest
3 Vertical Antenna Information
4 Offices Closed July 30th-August 21st



There has been a bit of mention of the upcoming USRP2 on the
mailing list recently, so we felt it would be best to let
everyone know what our current plans and status are. The USRP2
will build on the strengths of the original USRP, and give users
a platform capable of significantly higher bandwidth and with
more onboard processing. It will also offer expandability to
MIMO systems as wide as 4- or 8-way.

The main differences between the USRP2 and original USRP are:

  • Gigabit Ethernet interface instead of USB 2.0
  • Dual 100 MHz, 14-bit ADCs instead of dual 64 MHz, 12-bit ADCs
  • Dual 400 MHz, 16-bit DACs instead of dual 128 MHz, 14-bit DACs
  • Only 1 transceiver slot (or 1 TX + 1 RX) instead of 2
  • Expansion connection to link multiple boards for fully coherent
    MIMO systems
  • Much bigger and faster FPGA, in the Xilinx Spartan 3 family
  • Master clock capable of locking to an external reference
  • 1 Megabyte on onboard SRAM
  • Capable of some standalone operation without a host computer
  • Nonvolatile configuration

Things which will not be changing:

  • Uses the same daughterboard interface, and thus the same
    daughterboards will work on both the USRP1 and USRP2
  • The entire design will be open source just like the USRP1
  • GNU Radio will still be the primary development platform

Other things to note:

  • The USRP2 is not intended to replace the USRP1
    The USRP1 will continue to be produced and supported for the
    forseeable future
  • The USRP2 will NOT have a USB interface

Final pricing and availability has not been determined yet,
but we are estimating $1300-$1500, with shipments beginning
in January. There is no waiting list, and we cannot take
preorders at this time. Of course, all of the above information
is subject to change at any time.


2 USRP Demo Contest

We are pleased to announce the 2007 USRP Demo Contest!

Prizes will be awarded for the best demo applications for the
USRP. We are looking for demos which:

  • Demonstrate the capabilities of Software Radio in general
    and the USRP in particular
  • Are complete and look polished
  • Run in real time on a modern dual-core laptop
  • Are GPL’ed
  • Don’t involve large antennas or other large external equipment.
    Requiring a small device like a cordless phone or walkie-talkie
    is acceptable.

Some suggestions on what makes for a good application:

  • It should be easy to run. For example, in a receiving
    application, it is better to have the application scan
    for active frequencies rather than have the user type
    in a known frequency. It is even better if the application
    can determine the characteristics of available signals
    and react appropriately.
  • Use a GUI rather than command line options
  • Visual or audible indications of success are good. Maps,
    pictures, signal strength meters, and audio of demodulated
    signals are all good. Text printouts of “Received a signal”
    are not nearly as good.
  • If the application relies on signals from the outside world,
    they should be commonly available in urban areas and/or near
    airports, and strong enough to be received indoors.
  • If the signals are narrow enough, receiving or transmitting
    many in parallel is a bonus.

Some possible areas to investigate:

  • Interoperation with other non-USRP systems
  • DECT or other cordless phones
  • Direction finding or MIMO
  • Ham radio modes
  • Public safety radio
  • Test equipment (i.e. USRP-based signal analyzer)
  • Over-the-air protocol analyzer (possibly using Wireshark)


  • First prize is a free USRP2
  • Second prize is one free daughterboard of your choosing
  • There will also be a prize for the most improvement or polishing
    on any of the already existing demos in GNU Radio. This will
    also be one free daughterboard.

The contest is open to everyone. All entries must be sent to
the GNU Radio mailing list by November 2nd, 2007. All decisions
are final.


3 Vertical Antenna Information

We have recently switched models and vendors for the 900 MHz
Vertica Antenna which we sell. The new one now covers
the 1710-1990 MHz mobile phone and DECT bands, in addition to the
824-960 MHz mobile phone, pager, and ISM bands that the
original covered.

To identify which antenna you have:

  • The old Vert900 antenna is just under 22cm long, and has
    a thick middle section with 5 flutes running vertically
  • The new quad band Vert 900/1800 antenna is just under 24cm
    long, and has a smooth cylindrical mid section with no flutes.


4 Offices Closed July 30th-August 21st

The Ettus R. LLC offices will be closed from July 30th
through August 21st, with the exception of a brief opening
between August 14th and 16th. During this time, all sales
support will be done through email ( [email protected] ).

Most orders not involving wire transfers or special order items
will continue to be processed during the office closure.


Thank you for your time,
Matt E.
[email protected]