SDR: new book and learning resources

desktopSDR.com is a new website providing very extensive information about, and resources on, software-defined radio (SDR).

Its lead product is a new 672 page book about using cheap RTL-SDR USB sticks with MATLAB and Simulink. The PDF version is freely available from the site, as is a fully-resourced version with all the example and supporting MATLAB/Simulink files and more (over a gigabyte in total).

A printed version of the book is also due to ship any day now from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk. Its price is $50.00 or £36.00.

The book and site are the joint effort of Bob Stewart, MathWorks Professor of Signal Processing in the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland, and three of his colleagues there.

A quick look through the book reveals a comprehensive account of getting an RTL-SDR system up and running with MATLAB and Simulink, a general introduction to MATLAB and Simulink, then the following major topics in signal processing and radio design:

  • complex signals, spectra, and quadrature modulation,
  • amplitude modulation (AM) theory, simulation, and implementation, including sideband,
  • frequency tuning and simple synchronisation, including phase-locked loops (PLL),
  • frequency modulation (FM) theory, simulation, and implementation, including audio multiplexing,
  • digital theory, simulation, and implementation of QPSK.

Although based on RTL-SDR dongles, the text includes coverage of Ettus Research USRP transceivers, which are also supported by MATLAB and Simulink.

This is a superb resource for anyone learning about signal processing or radio. Although it requires a high standard of maths, the text is beautifully laid out and illustrated, and there are copious examples, exercises, and projects (all provided in full in the support files).