Pentek 7152 Software Radio PMC Module

Pentek, Inc. introduced their Model 7152, which is a Quad 200 MHz, 16-bit A/D Digitizer with a 32-Channel Digital Down Converter (DDC). Configured in a PMC format, it features a high-performance, pre-installed DDC IP cores (for Xilinx FPGAs) for designers who want critical signal processing functions already installed and functioning. It is ideal for real-time software radio, beamforming, signal intelligence, and radar systems.

The Pentek Model 7152 features numerous functions essential to many communications and radar applications. Proprietary signal processing techniques provide features such as 200 MHz sampling rate DDCs, channel summation and power meters with threshold detectors. Comparable solutions using ASICs or conventional FPGA structures would be much more expensive to implement. Multiple DDC chips and boards would be required to reproduce what is accomplished in one FPGA on a single module. Other existing DDC IP cores in the market not only use resources much less efficiently, but they also deliver limited performance. The unique FPGA architecture combined with the high channel count and wider ranges of decimation and bandwidth makes Pentek’s Model 7152 PMC module a very high-performance, streamlined and economical solution.

The 7152 features 32 power meters that continuously measure the individual average power output of each of the 32 DDC channels. The time constant of the averaging interval for each meter is programmable up to 16K samples. In addition, 32 threshold detectors automatically send an interrupt to the processor if the average power level of any DDC falls below or exceeds a programmable threshold. The built-in power meters and threshold detectors offload these tasks from a downstream processor, and present average power measurements for each channel in easy-to-read registers. Power calculation and thresholding are essential functions for signal monitoring, spectral scanning, automatic gain control (AGC) loops, and beamforming and diversity receivers.

A second set of new features makes the module ideal for beamforming applications. Each DDC channel offers programmable gain and phase adjustments, which can be applied individually or synchronously to all 32 channels. A summation block adds the complex outputs of selected DDC channels. By adjusting the phase offset and weighting of the individual channels, followed by summation, the antenna is in effect ‘steered’, rotating the azimuth angle to enhance receptivity in a particular direction.

The 7152 PMC module is also available in a variety of additional form factors: the 7652 is a PCI board, while the 7252 and 7352 are 6U and 3U Compact PCI boards, respectively. The 7152 is supported with ReadyFlow® Board Support Packages running under Linux®, Windows® and VxWorks®. The associated model numbers are 4994A for Linux, 4995A for Windows and 4996A for VxWorks. These are complete software packages that include examples and driver interfaces for the operating system.

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