This showcase provides instructions for using Epiq Solutions’ Sidekiq Z2 Mini-PCIe software-defined radio (SDR) RF transceiver with a Gateworks SBC. Epiq Solutions specializes in building high performance, low size, weight and power (SWaP) SDRs for engineering teams and government-focused organizations requiring situational awareness and detailed insight into their RF environments.
What is a Software-Defined Radio (SDR)?
A SDR is a radio which can modulate and demodulate radio signals through software commands provided by a host computer. They typically use a dedicated FPGA to quickly process the radio signals in the digital domain. Many SDRs support wide frequency bandwidths allowing them to monitor a wide range of radio transmissions and to be reconfigured on the fly. SDRs provide several benefits over traditional hardware-based radios as software enables over-the-air or other remote reprogramming, as well as allowing function and feature updates to occur while a radio is in service, thus reducing the time and costs associated with operation and maintenance.
Typical use cases are:
- Security Applications by Providing RF Detection of Mobile Devices (Cellular phones, Wifi, BLE, etc..)
- Viewing, Monitoring, Recording, and Retransmitting RF Spectrum and Signals
- Adaptive Wireless Network Configuration and Optimization – Mesh Networking
- Cellular Tower RF Survey and Spectrum Analysis
- Portable Site Survey for Cellular In-Building Installations
Epiq Solutions’ Sidekiq Z2, which was used in this testing, can tune into and monitor any radio transmission frequency between 70Mhz and 6Ghz, a range which covers most WiFi bands and cellular signals including LTE and 5G FR1.
Here is a chart showing common radio protocols, with VHF, UHF, and SHF being covered by the Z2.
|Very Low Frequency (VLF)||3kHz to 30kHz||Maritime radio, navigation|
|Low Frequency (LF)||30kHz to 300kHz||Maritime radio, navigation|
|Medium Frequency (MF)||300kHz to 3MHz||AM radio, Aviation radio, navigation|
|High Frequency (HF)||3MHz to 30Mhz||Amateur radio, NFC, aviation, weather|
|Very High Frequency (VHF)||30MHz to 300MHz||FM radio, VHF television|
|Ultra High Frequency (UHF)||300MHz to 3GHz||Mobile radio, WiFi, GPS, 4G, UHF television|
|Super High Frequency (SHF)||3GHz to 30GHz||Satellite, 5G, WiFi|
The Epiq Solutions’ Sidekiq Z2 & Gateworks SBCs
Gateworks has created a showcase that features Sidekiq Z2 working in conjunction with the industrial Gateworks Newport GW6300 SBC.
Sidekiq Z2 needs to be inserted into an open Mini-PCIe site that features USB signaling. Antennas that are tuned to the frequency being used will need to be connected. A serial console is opened from the Gateworks SBC command line into Sidekiq Z2’s interface. This will essentially create a network interface. Full instructions are on the Gateworks SDR Wiki Page.
ERA RF Analyzer Software
ERA is Epiq Solutions’ proprietary RF analyzer software. It allows viewing and recording of the RF spectrum activity in a specific target location anywhere.
ERA software gets installed on Sidekiq Z2, with instructions and files provided by Epiq Solutions.
Once installed, ERA software can be launched and used.
More information can be found on the Epiq ERA webpage.
Software Defined Radios (SDRs) are a very powerful tool allowing the analysis of many frequency ranges. Pairing Epiq Solutions’ Sidekiq Z2 SDR with the Gateworks rugged and industrial single board computer creates a platform that can excel in any embedded RF application.
Full coverage of this showcase with detailed programming instructions can be found on the Gateworks SDR Wiki Page.
Epiq Solutions develops cutting edge tools for engineering teams and government-focused organizations requiring radically small SDRs to provide situational awareness and detailed insight into their RF environments in order to identify and act against wireless threats. To view the Epiq Solutions complete line of SDR-based RF transceiver solutions, view their website.
Gateworks Corporation designs and manufactures ARM based single board computers and cellular modem cards in the USA. Several industrial SBC families have varying sizes from 35x70mm up to 140x100mm with Mini-PCIe and M.2 slots specific for SDR usage. The SBCs feature multiple ethernet (including dual Gigabit) ports as well as multiple Mini-PCIe slots for WiFi and Cellular radios. Each single board computer is designed with an optimized and highly efficient power supply that accepts 10-60VDC. To further view the entire line of Gateworks SBCs, please visit the Gateworks Industrial Single Board Computer product page.