Community member Bastien Baranoff has shared scripts for getting a Raspberry Pi system running Ubuntu Server up-and-running as an open cellular base station with Osmocom’s OpenBSC and a LimeSDR.
Designed for Raspberry Pi systems running Canonical’s free and open source Ubuntu Server Linux distribution, Bastien’s scripts begin by installing the necessary software for turning a LimeSDR software-defined radio into a cellular base station.
The first script automates the installation of SoapySDR, SoapyUHD, Lime Suite, and the required parts of the Osmocom open-source cellular communications project plus prerequisites; a second script adds the OPenBSC mISDN LCR feature – including a set of custom patches.
Fellow community contributor Anelito has added a few recommendations of his own, including fixing a couple of bugs and noting the need to install libpcslite-dev with a customised configuration.
The scripts are notes are available on the MyriadRF forum.
A developer working on new software for recording from software-defined radios has boasted of impressive performance on a LimeSDR Mini, hitting 80 megasamples per second (MSPS) with zero drops.
“Finally making a new recording software (mostly for X-Band high rate recording),” ‘Aang254’ writes on Twitter. “80MSPS from my LimeSDR Mini, recording with (apparently, gotta confirm) no drops at 8-bits.
“The LimeSDR Mini itself, with proper cooling, can do well over the advertised 30MSPS. The limit before dropping is 80MSPS, assuming the USB controller can take it. Though, a custom gateware could probably go over that limit scaling to 8-bits.”
The key to Aang254’s achievement is the cooling, which involved “a lot of heatsink and fans.” Thus far, the software in development hasn’t been publicly released, though Aang254 indicates they will release it on GitHub “soon enough, when I’m done with making it a bit more user-friendly.”
More information is available on Aang254’s Twitter thread.
Developer Luigi Cruz is working to accelerate software defined radio projects by adding support for Nvidia’s CUDA general-purpose graphics processing unit (GPGPU) offload language.
“Oh hi, CUDA spectrogram on GNU Radio,” Luigi writes of his latest work. “This is CyberEther running in GNU Radio 3.9.2. It’s possible to choose the processing back-end (CUDA and CPU for now) at runtime. The graphical interface is GPU accelerated (OpenGL for now).
It could be a while before the software is ready for end users, though – and probably won’t be back-ported to earlier GNU Radio releases. “I’m not sure if it will make sense to release a [GNU Radio] 3.8 compatible version,” Luigi notes. “This project is at least a couple of months away to be stable.”
A demo of the acceleration in progress is available on Luigi’s Twitter post.
Three divisions of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) have partnered with Nokia to launch three courses on 5G cellular technologies – including an introduction to the fundamentals and system principles.
The IEEE Educational Activities, IEEE Future Directions, and IEEE Future Networks arms of the organisation, working with Nokia and the IEEE 802 LAN/MAN Standards Committee, have announced three courses aimed at those interested in 5G New Radio (5GNR) technology – including Understanding 5G Fundamentals, which covers the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), 5G system architecture, security, quality of service, and network slicing, along with the new radio spectrum and its sharing mechanisms.
The two other courses are: Discover 5G, aimed at radio professionals; and 5G System Principles, which covers the 5G spectrum, massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) technology, 3D beam-forming, and multiple radio access technologies.
More information is available on IEEE Spectrum.
Security researcher Mathy Vanhoef has detailed FragAttacks, a collection of newly-disclosed security vulnerabilities affecting “every Wi-Fi product” tested.
“Experiments indicate that every Wi-Fi product is affected by at least one vulnerability,” Mathy, who is soon to take on the role of professor at KY Leuven, writes of the vulnerabilities, “and that most products are affected by several vulnerabilities.
“The discovered vulnerabilities affect all modern security protocols of Wi-Fi, including the latest WPA3 specification. Even the original security protocol of Wi-Fi, called WEP, is affected. This means that several of the newly discovered design flaws have been part of Wi-Fi since its release in 1997!
“Fortunately,” Mathy notes, “the design flaws are hard to abuse because doing so requires user interaction or is only possible when using uncommon network settings. As a result, in practice the biggest concern are the programming mistakes in Wi-Fi products since several of them are trivial to exploit.”
The FragAttacks were disclosed in May this year, following a “long ~9 months embargo” as vendors worked to close the flaws. More information is available on the FragAttacks website.
The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), meanwhile, has warned of a batch of vulnerabilities in the Bluetooth Core and Mesh Profile specifications – allowing for man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks.
Discovered by researchers at the Agence nationale de la sécurité des systèmes d’information (ANSSI), the vulnerabilities cover all versions of the Bluetooth Core Specifications between 2.1 and 5.2 and allow an attacker to obtain the pass-key used for pairing – then turn around and use the obtained pass key to complete the pairing procedure, capturing or replacing supposedly-protected traffic.
“The Bluetooth SIG is recommending that potentially vulnerable implementations restrict the public keys accepted from a remote peer device to disallow a remote peer to present the same public key chosen by the local device,” the organisation writes in its response to the disclosure.
“The Bluetooth SIG is also broadly communicating details on this vulnerability and its remedies to our member companies and is encouraging them to rapidly integrate any necessary patches. As always, Bluetooth users should ensure they have installed the latest recommended updates from device and operating system manufacturers.”
More information on the vulnerability is available from the CERT Coordination Centre’s announcement.
The US National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) Project Office has announced a partnership with 35 communications companies and organisations to form the OpenAirX-Labs (OAX), an effort to promote the development and use of open-source stand-alone 5G cellular communications software.
“The launch of OAX puts muscle not only behind US efforts to expand the capabilities and performance of 5G networks, but also behind the technologies that will move the wireless industry beyond 5G,” says Abhimanyu (Manu) Gosain, technical programme director at PAWR. “By hosting OAX as part of the PAWR program, we are also ensuring there is a clear path from software development through to testing and prototyping of new software, hardware, and wireless applications.”
“A lot of thinking and hard work from the board as well as the engineering teams of EURECOM and the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance (OSA) has gone into laying the ground work for the launch of the OpenAirX-Labs,” adds Raymond Knopp, president of the OpenAirInterface Software Alliance and professor at EURECOM. “We see great opportunities ahead as OAI now expands through its US home, the OAX labs in North America.”
The launch of OAX, supported by companies including Facebook, Interdigital, NI, Qualcomm, Radisys, and Xilinx, sees the opening of a dedicated research facility based at Northeastern University in Boston. More information is available in PAWR’s press release.
Software defined radio enthusiast Blue Neon Tavern has announced the launch of the micro-LNA (μLNA), an ultra-compact low-noise amplifier for SDR devices supporting operation from 50MHz to 4GHz.
“The μLNA is an ultra-compact low noise amplifier meant to be used with software defined radio (SDR),” Blue Neon Tavern founder Boris D. writes of the device. “The [RF Micro Devices] SPF51892Z module gives between 11 to 14dB of gain from 50MHz to 4000MHz. Both ends of the module are SMA female.
“It supersedes the previous LNA module design I was offering. This module is more compact, more convenient, more affordable.”
Designed to be pocket-size and powered via USB, making it easy to use in-the-field, the compact LNA costs just $11 per unit including 3D-printed case. More details are available on Blue Neon Tavern’s Tindie store, though at the time of writing the first production run was fully sold out.
The LuaRadio project has released v0.10.0 of its popular lightweight, embeddable flow-graph signal processing framework – which comes with new built-in applications, bug fixes, and new helper functions.
“Add built-in applications with rx_raw, rx_wbfm, rx_nbfm, rx_am, rx_ssb, rx_rds, rx_ax25, rx_pocsag, rx_ert, and iq_converter,” the change log for the software’s latest release notes, along with the addition of built-in application support to the runner and a supporting framework in the software’s core.
Other notable changes include the addition of new helper functions parse_args(), format_options(), array_concat(), array_map(), table_extend(), table_keys(), and table_values(), the implementation of tostring() for AX25FrameType, POCSAGMessageType, and RDSPacketType types, and the addition of an RDSDecoderBlock to the RDSReceiver flow graph.
The latest release is available, as always, on the LuaRadio GitHub Repository, under the permissive MIT licence.
Hackaday’s Jenny List has published an alert for satellite communications enthusiasts: A countdown for the rediscovery of a lost satellite, Prospero – launched back in 1971.
“The Brits became the sixth nation to develop a satellite launch capability, and promptly canned it,” Jenny writes of the satellite’s troubled history. “Prospero was a success though and remains in orbit, and was even re-activated periodically as late as the 1990s.
“With its fiftieth anniversary approaching in October we think it’s worth looking for to mark the occasion, and so would like to remind you of its existence and the impending anniversary. If any community can find a lost satellite, hear its call if it is still transmitting anything, and maybe even wake it up, it’s you lot.”
To assist those interested in trying to pick it up, Jenny’s write-up includes links to details of an earlier attempt to re-establish communications, a real-time position tracker, and a warning that the Orbcomm low-Earth-orbit communication satellites broadcast on the same frequency – giving the potential for confusion, premature celebration, and disappointment.
Radio amateur Josh ‘KI6NAZ’ Nass, meanwhile, has built an antenna with a difference: it’s put together using floral wire and helium balloons, allowing it to be held aloft without a mast.
“What can you find with five minutes in a dollar store to make an antenna,” Josh asks in the introduction to his latest video on the Ham Radio Crash Course YouTuber channel. “How about Mylar party balloons and floral wire? This video took a while to complete, with random windy days and the fact that balloons lose helium over time.”
Surprisingly, perhaps, the project proved at least partially successful – though the wire antenna did have a tendency to tangle on nearby more traditional antennas as the wind blew the balloons around.
The full video is available on the Ham Radio Crash Course YouTube channel now.
June 2021 sees the 75th anniversary of the first true mobile phone call, made on a car phone while driving through St. Louis.
Developed at the world-famous Bell Labs, the communication system was undeniably limited at its unveiling: with a single transmitter and up to eight receiving towers for the other half of each call, only a small handful of users were supported when the very first call from a car phone went through.
Two years later, though, AT&T had launched the system as Mobile Telephone Service (MTS) and network had expanded to 100 cities with over 5,000 subscribers paying the corrected-for-inflation equivalent of $207 a month plus $5 per call for the convenience of making calls while driving. The hardware wasn’t exactly portable, though, taking up most of the car’s luggage space and drawing enough power to dim the headlights, and only three callers could use the system at one time in any given city.
More details on the Mobile Telephone Service and its Bell System prototype are available on Wikipedia.
Finally, Jock ‘KB2GOM’ Elliott has written up a project to improve reception in his radio shack without mounting an external antenna – by hiding a passive wire loop around the periphery of the room.
“My main SWL receiver is a Satellit 800, which has the guts of a Drake R8 and also has a large telescoping vertical antenna,” writes of the project. “It works okay, but I wanted more signal. I had been looking at small loops and got some great recommendations on Radio Reference, but then I had a thought: what if I turned the 8′ x 12′ room into a giant horizontal passive loop?
“So I called a ham friend and ran the idea by him. “Sure,” he said, “give it a try.” He gave me 25 feet of 4-conductor phone wire. Before I could use it, I had to strip off the outer insulation so I could get at the four separate insulated wires inside. The better half helped. Once I had the four wires, I connected two of them together and ran the resultant 50-foot strand around the perimeter of the room by taping the wire to the top of window frames and hiding the wire on the top shelves of book cases.”
The full project write-up is available on the SWLing blog.