Software-Defined Radio

Digital RF logo

Haystack’s Atmospheric and Geospace Sciences Group creates and uses data from a multitude of different sensors. These sensors often require extensive processing of radio frequency (RF) signals to create high-quality scientific measurements. With the need for flexible strategy in RF system development, Haystack has invested heavily in the use of software-defined radio (SDR) technology and techniques, including the development of SDR tools, activities within the large SDR research community, and educational programs.

Much of the SDR community uses open source software to interact with the radios, process data and create applications. Haystack Observatory has contributed to this community through the development of the Digital RF software package. At its core, this software package allows users to save and archive raw RF data along with needed metadata, which allows for reliable reprocessing of data.

Through the group SDR-Boston and its associated New England Workshop for Software Defined Radio (NEWSDR) collective, Haystack members regularly engage with a larger community of researchers who use SDR technology. This outreach has promoted greater cross-disciplinary collaboration between different researchers.

Open Radar Workshop 2020
Open Radar Workshop 2020

In order to better educate upcoming scientists and engineers, Haystack scientists and engineers launched the Open Radar Workshop series. The goal of this workshop series is to introduce senior undergraduate and early graduate students to SDR technology and techniques. This also gives students a chance to understand the capabilities of this technology with respect to use in a scientific measurement context.

For more information on the Open Radar Workshop series, please email