Smart radio will be ground-breaking for military communications

The Army and Navy are working on a software-defined radio that would tune and calibrate itself.
Written by Melanie D.G. Kaplan, Inactive

In the not too distant future, soldiers stopping what they’re doing to tune into a radio frequency may seem as old school as M*A*S*H.

Engineers with the U.S. Army and U.S. Navy are working to build a so-called “universal radio” test-bed this year in Fort Monmouth, N.J., reports the Pentagon’s Armed With Science blog. This “smart radio” would be a ground-breaking step forward in mobile communications capability, because it would allow troops to easily switch between radio frequencies and network types. Plus, no more time wasted fiddling with knobs, trying to tune to a certain radio channel.

In the post, Tim Leising, director of the Software-Defined Radio lab at the Communications Electronics Research, Development and Engineering Center said:

“We’re investigating the possibilities for future radios. We’re trying to show the Defense Department that the concept of intelligent radio is possible. We’re trying to get the soldier a radio that they don’t have to fiddle with; all they have to do is turn it on.”

Unlike a car radio, which uses electronic hardware to receive AM and FM signals that are then played over your sound system, the smart radio would use a computer program to determine how signals are set and received, tuning and calibrating itself. It would adjust to receive wireless signals and TV broadcasts, act as a GPS device and access ham radio and walkie-talkie frequencies.

The CERDEC lab will work with the Navy Research lab to transfer work done previously on the Joint Tactical Radio System to theGNU Radio’sopen-source, free software environment.

Image: ViaSat

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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