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The VXSDR-20 - a 5-20 GHz Software Defined Radio

The VXSDR-20 is a software defined radio that can transmit and receive at 160 million samples per second from 5-20 GHz. We built it for our own use, but we'd be interested to know if others might need a radio like this.

Picture of the VXSDR-20 boards

VXSDR-20 Software Defined Radio

We do early-stage research and development, and we've been using software defined radios for over a decade in communications, sensing, and navigation; we've used them everywhere from 10 Hz - 5.8 GHz in many different applications. We love having affordable, programmable, general-purpose tools that let us set up experiments and demonstrations quickly and reliably, and change configurations or fix problems easily.

We built the VXSDR-20 so that we could keep doing that in the 5-20 GHz range where there aren't many cost-effective commercial alternatives. It's similar to the other capable software defined radios we've been using; the major difference is the frequency range covered. Because R&D is never predictable, we also made the design modular so we could change data transfer interfaces, sample rates, and frequency coverage in the future.

The VXSDR-20's basic specifications are given below, and you can see status updates and performance measurements at If you'd like more information, or to talk about using it, you can contact us at


Analog RF and IF

  • 5.0 - 20.0 GHz transmit and receive (usable to 22 GHz)
  • 5 - 9 dB receive noise figure
  • 10 - 15 dBm output power
  • low-IF design (160 MHz IF)
  • TX output and TX/RX input/output (field replaceable SMA)


  • 14-bit 160 MSPS A/D for receive
  • 16-bit 160 MSPS D/A for transmit
  • JESD204B interfaces
  • Intel Cyclone 10 FPGA

Control and Data Transfer

  • 10 gigabit Ethernet interface (SFP+)
  • simultaneous full rate transmit and receive
  • PPS and 10 MHz inputs for synchronization


  • 12 V DC power input
  • 22 W active, 16 W idle


  • 9.4 inches (23.9 cm) long (including connectors)
  • 4.1 inches (10.5 cm) wide
  • 1.0 inches (2.4 cm) high