Thursday, May 09, 2013

Giving Away HackRF

The HackRF project has been open source from the very beginning. Even before we started the project, Jared Boone and I wanted to have an open source hardware platform for Software Defined Radio (SDR). Our early prototype designs were published in our repository along with every step of our hardware and software development, and we used open source development tools including KiCad and GCC.

We felt that the world needed an open source hardware design for SDR. GNU Radio had been around for several years, leading a thriving community of open source software development for SDR, but no general purpose SDR hardware designs were available under an open source license. Both Jared and I had started our own businesses devoted to open source hardware development because we felt strongly that open source is simply the right thing to do, and we thought that an SDR peripheral would be an important contribution we could make to the open source hardware and SDR communities.

More than a year later, I am sitting in my lab testing the first sample Jawbreakers from the factory while hundreds more are being assembled and tested. Jawbreaker is the HackRF beta design, and I'm getting ready to ship beta units to as many people as possible. It is a USB-powered SDR peripheral that can transmit or receive virtually any radio signal from 30 MHz to 6 GHz, a range of operating frequencies even wider than our original, ambitious goal.

More than 500 Jawbreakers are being produced right now, and I plan to give nearly all of them away. It is incredibly exciting to be giving people actual hardware in addition to giving away the design! As far as I know, this is the largest beta give-away of any open source hardware project to date. We are thankful for the support of the DARPA Cyber Fast Track program that enabled us not only to develop HackRF in the first place but to produce and distribute so many beta units.

If you would like to participate in the beta program and receive your own Jawbreaker, you can register today. It's free! I distributed beta invitation codes to the attendees of ToorCon 14 and the 2012 GNU Radio Conference last fall. Each of those codes may be used now to register for a spot at the top of the beta list. There are more Jawbreakers than codes, so you can also get on the waiting list for additional units even if you do not have a code. I don't know how many codes will be redeemed, but there is a good chance it will be less than 100%. In order to be fair to the people on the waiting list and to avoid having a large pile of unused Jawbreakers, I established a deadline for the use of invitation codes. The deadline (20 May 2013) is approaching rapidly; if you have any friends who were at ToorCon 14 or the 2012 GNU Radio Conference, this would be a good time to remind them to use their codes!

Benjamin Vernoux, one of the HackRF developers, sent me an enclosure he designed for Jawbreaker, and it fits very nicely. It is based on the Sick of Beige case design from our friends at Dangerous Prototypes. I will not be shipping enclosures with the beta units, but you can download the design and either order one for yourself or make one on your own laser cutter. Don't have a laser cutter? Maybe it's time to make some new friends at your local hackerspace!

30 comments:

Harald Kappel said...

I look but cannot find answer, what is full duplex sampling rates of hackrf?

Michael Ossmann said...

Harald: Jawbreaker is half-duplex and operates at up to 20 Msps (quadrature).

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Benjamin Fiset-Deschenes said...

This thing looks awesome. Could it be useful for tinkering with DECT cordless phone transmissions? How about audio over bluetooth?

Anyway I have no chance of getting beta code for this. Is there any place I could ask for one?

Thank you very much!

Michael Ossmann said...

Benjamin: DECT is definitely something that could be done with HackRF. I'm pretty sure one of the developers has already done some DECT monitoring. Implementing active Bluetooth would be very difficult but theoretically possible. See the gr-bluetooth and Ubertooth projects for some background information.

If you don't have a code, register without one.

j said...

The HackRF is going to be a game changer in wireless communications. Being able to listen and transmit on most frequencies with such a low barrier of entry opens so many doors and protocols. The Ubtertooh1 has been fun but BOY the HACKRF will be a whole new world.

Soon we can delve into the communications that have been out of reach except for large Labs with big pockets.

Thank you so much Michael.

What so you think would be your next project after HackRF gets off the ground? Build Support? Teaming of HackHFs for duplex Communications? Increase transmission output with larger amplifiers?

I so wish I had a beta code but I guess Ill just hope I get selected after the Toor Con folks register.

Anonymous said...

You are asking for a lot of private information to sign-up. What is your privacy policy regarding this generous offer? Thanks...

Benjamin Fiset-Deschenes said...

Thank you for the answer! This device seems quite useful. I would really like to get one!

It BW is really interesting. Are there any drop in signal reception on certain frequency on the usable spectrum?

Michael Ossmann said...

Anonymous: My privacy policy: I will only use your mailing address to send you cool stuff. I will not share your mailing address with anyone not helping me send you cool stuff. I will not sell information about you. I will keep your email address indefinitely if you opt to sign up for the email list.

Michael Ossmann said...

Benjamin: The frequency response is not flat, but Jawbreaker is usable throughout the entire range from 30 MHz to 6 GHz. Roughly: best performance 2300 to 2700 MHz, good performance 30 to 2300 MHz, fair performance 2700 to 6000 MHz with the worst being at the upper end.

baj said...

This is awesome! I've been following for quite awhile. Hope to get in on one of the extra units.

Paul Goddard said...

Awesome stuff, can't believe I only just heard about this project today. I registered for the give-away but assuming I miss out I'll definitely be buying one if my budget allows (being sick isn't cheap sadly).

Mohit Kumar said...

I have been following this project since it started! And have been visiting the webpage n the git almost everyweek to see new developments! This is a great thing1 this will certainly bring a change in RF research and hacking! I have registered myself for the beta hoping to get one!

Jose Maria Herrero said...

I'm impressed by the specifications, I'm sure a lots of hacks will appear 20Msps is amazing compared to the 2Msps of my RTL-SRD. The 30MHz-6GHz is usable for rx and tx? I understand that the 30Mhz limitation comes from the mixer, 0-30 rx can be achieved in any way?

Michael Ossmann said...

Jose: Yes the entire 30 MHz to 6 GHz range is usable for both RX and TX (half-duplex). Unofficially, I've had good luck down to about 10 MHz. To get even lower you would need an upconverter/downconverter.

pfalcon said...

Thanks for your work on this project and for the generous offer! The only field I miss in the registration is "Why you need one?", so I could paste links to my blog/github account, to show that I'm not a random hoarder and actually can get some use of it and hopefully contribute back to the community ;-).

Splinter said...

Now, since the deadline has been prolonged by 7 days, although the original idea was quote:"to be fair to the people on the waiting list ... I established a deadline for the use of invitation codes ", and since the people who have registered without the beta invitation codes, to get their quote: "spot at the top of the beta list", because quote: "It's free! ... There are more Jawbreakers than codes, so you can also get on the waiting list for additional units even if you do not have a code. ", will have a chance to get their beta Jawbreaker only if they attend a pricey SDR introductory course, I'm a little bid disappointed, but not surprised.

Aeroengineer1 said...

I cannot see how you can complain. Perhaps I just read your comment in the wrong light. For myself, I am just excited to have a chance to get one of these even though I have not attended one of the presentations. I have been playing with the RTL dongle and it has been a lot of fun. I would like to be able to have a unit that can work from the 75MHz that I use for my RC subs to the 2.4GHz that I have for my little RC helicopter. I hope that I signed up early enough to be high enough on the list to get one.

I can think of a few other potential uses for it down the road.

Anonymous said...

Awesome project ... I hope to get into one of the additional units.
... the best performance from 2300-2700 MHz, good performance 30-2300 MHz, fair return 2700-6000 MHz ...
mmm. , SDR over satellite signal's L,C and X Band... anxious to try it ..
regards
(jnqn2010)

Anonymous said...

Those of us who signed up without a code. Should we expect anything via email as to whether or not we will receive a unit?

Nick Swift said...

Thanks for your efforts, it's been fascinating to watch the project/wiki to develop. I wait with baited breath if I'm a lucky Beta RFhacker...

Valentijn van Achte said...

In the latest HAK5 eps. they talk about the hackrf.
http://youtu.be/qE2LEBvFAtM

tormentoftantalus said...

Can hackrf jawbreaker be used for talking on ham frequencies, with ham it upconverter or two way CB band communication?

also, when will the jawbreaker be available to purchase?

Thanks

Michael Ossmann said...

torment: Yes, HackRF can transmit on several ham bands. The new HackRF One design performs even better than Jawbreaker in HF. It works very well down to 10 MHz and can operate down to 5 MHz or so at lower output power.

For the latest on HackRF availability see: http://greatscottgadgets.com/hackrf/.

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