The BeagleBrick was conceived by Industrial Designer and Ham Radio enthusiast, Robert Thomas, KC4NYK. It was designed to be an inexpensive entry point for ham radio enthusiasts, students, educators and other experimenters to study Software Defined Radio technology. In its current form the BeagleBrick represents a completely self-contained SDR Ham Radio Station using the Beagleboard as a fully functional embedded Linux workstation featuring High Definition Video and sophisticated, chip-level accelerated graphics. It is designed to operate with an array of inexpensive QRP transceiver kits. |
Dubbed "The iPad for Hams" at the 2010 HamVention, and featured in Wired Magazine, this completely self-contained SDR Ham Radio Station features the Beagleboard in conjunction with an array of inexpensive QRP transceiver kits. To date several popular DSP and Software Defined Radio programs such as FLDigi and Hamlib have been ported to Angstrom Linux for use on the BeagleBoard.
Communication is at the core of everything we do. In this world, without communication all other global processes and human interactions eventually grind to a halt. In disasters, natural or man made when communications systems fail, chaos ensues quickly shutting down all possible coordination of aid and support efforts no matter how well planned or organized. Without communications nothing works. Enter the BeagleBrick!
The BeagleBrick combines the latest "software defined radio" technology with a globally established, century old, field tested communications network - ham radio - to provide a highly robust, portable and reliable emergency communications solution in one 4" x 8" "brick".
The BeagleBrick offers the best of both worlds - small radio, small operating footprint - by incorporating Texas Instruments' powerhouse OMAP3-based chipset offered to engineers, educators and scientists in the form of the BeagleBoard. Running at 600 mHz, the BeagleBoard boasts an entire Linux workstation with DVI video and chip level accelerated graphics and the capability of hosting Wifi and Bluetooth remote control.
The result is an entire operations center capable of running a vast array of software and, since it's Linux, even act an an emergency web server! Connect several BeagleBricks and you have a network. Add Wifi or Bluetooth and you don't even need wires! APRS? WSPR? Repeater?
Of course the BeagleBrick is currently in development and is not yet available in its final form, but you can still experience most of the functional advantages of the system by running it in "guts on the table mode" with various peripherals as outlined in Rob's slides which can be found HERE
To date the BeagleBrick has been used in conjunction with several popular kits such as the SoftRock v6.3 and the SWL PSK-20 and Warbler-80 and has made successful contacts as far away as the Canary Islands with a mere 2 watts using PSK31 digital mode. Rob's BBImage containing all the software as well as instructions for loading onto an SD card for the Beagleboard is available for free downloaded HERE