FPGA modernises and cost reduces an Amateur Radio HF/VHF transceiver
Programmable logic simplifies assembly and test and reduces cost of VHF/HF transceiver
Technologies used


Industrial sector (PRODCOM code)
    323 Television and Radio Receivers, Sound or Video Recording etc.
Satelliet Televisie Nederland BV (STN), founded in 1982, in is a small company with three of in total 7 persons in product development. The sales of the company mounts up to 750 KECU. The products are all sorts of professional CATV equipment, delivered as OEM to big companies. Besides this, some transmission and measurement equipment is produced under the STN brand name. Production is subcontracted. The market for all STN products is for 90% found in NL, D, B and F. There is some export to the USA. The expertise of STN is RF design.

The objective of the AE is to improve the existing short-wave transceiver with a digital FPGA (FPGA, Field Programmable Gate Array). This digital technique is planned to take over all analogue frequency generation in all STN products. The digital products are much more stable and reproducible. The existing short-wave transceiver kit had an analogue variable frequency generator and tubes in the power amplifier and no digital functions. The product is sold as an assembly kit for radio amateur enthusiasts. The new FPGA technology assures a high reproducibility for the transceiver kit and gives also more digital control functions as several memory functions, easy frequency band switching, automatic mode switching, etc. A solid state amplifier will improve the robustness of the design. During development, it is very useful that changes in the trial design can easy be implemented just by reprogramming the FPGA. Moreover, the flexibility of reprogramming ensures easy adaptation for different technical demands in foreign countries and adaptation for later (possible) changes

The AE started on 01/01/1996 and ended at 31/01/1997. In this 13-month experiment 75 KECU was spent on education, on FPGA design, on solid-state power amplifier design and on digital design. The predicted payback period was 27 month after introduction, in 1997. Net ROI predicted was about 300% over three years. However, due business and market circumstances it is doubtful if the payback will be reached with this product.

STN is now capable of designing FPGA building blocks in other products. The markets of these products still are professional CATV equipment users, OEM products and the own STN RF products, (measurement equipment etc). Increment in capability of supplying more functionality is the most important for STN. The combination of FPGA and RF technology has generated, in 1997 and 1998, additional sales of 500 KECU and important market leads. The pay back of the investment has been realised by the end of 1998.

Being accustomed to asynchronous digital techniques, developing a FPGA demand a complete different design philosophy based on synchronous digital techniques. Next to STN learned, that specification phase of the design is very important. Thirdly, it was experienced that a complex design needs very stringent timing simulation and this is the only way to let this result in a correct working device.
Satelliet Televisie Nederland BV
Amerikaweg 4
4561PB Hulst
The Netherlands

Detailed information

You can also benefit from microelectronics

FPGA technology provided Satelliet Televisie Nederland BV with the means of improving its products and enhancing its market position. You can also achieve significant benefits by acquiring the right microelectronics technology and utilising it in your product or manufacturing process. You can get help from FUSE to realise this.

FUSE is a technology transfer programme, funded by the European Commission to stimulate the wider use of microelectronics technologies by European enterprises to increase their competitiveness and enhance their economic growth. The demonstrator described here is one of many examples in the public FUSE portfolio covering the whole spectrum of microelectronics technologies and spanning a wide range of applications and industry sectors.

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