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M17 Gnu Radio Testing

This is a quick 4-FSK flow graph for M17 RF transmit.

Source is a file of M17 type 4 data.

Sink is an ADALM Pluto SDR.

Modify source and sink to suit one's needs.

Gnu Radio flow graph Signal analysis

Impairment Testing

M17_impaired.grc and an M17 impairment test. It can implement Rayleigh or Rician fading models, AWGN, frequency errors, and timing errors.

Before running this test one should calibrate the transmitter and receiver so that the transmit and recieve frequencies are precisely aligned.

Adjust the lo_frequency variable to the desired transmit frequency.

M17_impaired GRC flow graph

Replace the sink with whatever is appropriate for your TX hardware.

This uses a rather long audio program to test the receiver.

M17_impaired UI

The impairments can get pretty severe. This is what a typical eye diagram of the received baseband signal looks like.

M17_impaired eye diagram

HackRF Flow Graphs

There are two enhanced flow graphs for HackRF. I use the HackRF for test more these days because it allows me to feed a 10MHz reference from my GPSDO for accurate frequency transmission.

The first is m17-arn-hackrf.grc which is used to transmit a long form audio broadcast from Amateur Radio Newsline. There is a script,, which I use to create the bitstream using m17-cxx-modr which may need to be modified to suit specific needs (changing the path to m17-cxx-mod or the name of the latest ARN MP3 file).

The second is m17-bert-hackrf.grc which is used to transmit a BER test bitstream.

Both have GUI controls to change the following impairments:

  • AWGN -- this is a noise voltage level, with 2.0 begin 0dB.
  • Frequency -- this is a frequency offset in % of 800Hz symbol unit.
  • Clock -- this is the symbol clock offset in PPM.
  • Fading -- this enables or disables frequency selective fading model.

Pluto Flow Graphs

There are two enhanced flow graphs for PlutoSDR. My Plutos have been modified to have accurate TXCOs and so can be used as reasonable reference units, but are not as accurate as a HackRF clocked by a 10MHz GPSDO reference.

These are similar to the enhanced HackRF flow graphs described above.

Making the AR Newsline Bitstream

We do not ship the AR Newsline bitstream because the content is owned by Amateur Radio Newsline and I do not have permission to distribute it.

There are two steps to making an AR Newsline M17 bitstream file. The first step is to go to the AR Newsline web site and download the latest MP3 file.

The second is to use ffmpeg to transform the MP3 to PCM and use m17-cxx-mod to convert it to a bitstream.

ffmpeg -i Report2328.mp3 -ar 8000 -ac 1 -f s16le -acodec pcm_s16le - | ~/m17-cxx-demod/build/apps/m17-mod -b -S M17 > Report2328.bin

There is a script, which can be modified to automate the process for you.


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