Back in 13, San Francisco-based debuted the original bladeRF SDR (Software Defined Radio) module — a $400 board that went beyond what a USB TV dongle could achieve and allowed you to communicate over a broad spectrum of frequencies.

The board comes in two versions — the 2.0 micro xA4 and the more powerful 2.0 micro xA9. (📷Nuand)

Five years later, Nuand has announced a revision of the favorite board with the new bladeRF 2.0, which comes in two versions — the bladeRF 2.0 micro xA4 and bladeRF 2.0 micro xA9, both offering the same 47MHz to 6GHz frequency range, and 61.44MHz sampling rate, with the latter outfitted with Intel’s 301KLE Cyclone V FPGA.

Both versions provide 2X MIMO support with a 47MHz to 6GHz frequency range. (📷: Nuand)

Both versions of the blade RF 2.0 are backward compatible with the original, meaning they can use the same software that was written for the original. As far as hardware is concerned, the xA4 ($480) sports Intel’s Cyclone V FPGA with 49kLE, 2X2 MIMO with 61.44MHz sampling rate, 56MHz filtered bandwidth, automatic gain control, as well as automatic IQ and DC offset correction.

The xA4 is also with 128-tap digital FIR filtering, USB 3.0 SuperSpeed support via a Cypress FX3 peripheral controller (with an integrated 200 MHz ARM926EJ-S processor), factory calibrated SiTime MEMS VCTCXO, and a 32-pin I/O header.

Each version of the bladeRF 2.0 features onboard bias tee to provide optional 5V to active antennas and accessories. (📷: Nuand)

The more expensive ($720) xA9 uses most of the same hardware and feature set as the xA4, except it’s outfitted with the more powerful Intel Cyclone FPGA with 301kLE, which houses a larger amount of logic gates for increased signal processing.

In terms of software, each board can take advantage of Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X-based PCs, as well as other third party programs, like GNU Radio, Pothos, MATLAB, and more. Both versions are now available along with a few accessories, including cases and power amplifiers.

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