Pentek Enters cPCI Market with COTS 3U and 6U Multiband Receivers

5/25/2004 - Pentek, Inc., the industry pioneer of VME board-level technology, announced it’s first entry into the cPCI market: a 3U 16-channel multiband receiver board and a 6U 32-channel multiband receiver board featuring 14-bit A/D converters and Virtex-II FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) for signal processing. Both boards consist of one or two Model 7131 digital receiver PMC modules and a PMC-to-cPCI adapter assembled and tested as a single cPCI board.

Both cPCI boards were designed to maximize configuration flexibility, switching and optimized synchronization for software radio applications such as synchronous data communications, wireless basestations, direction finding, satellite communications, wireless LAN, high-frequency sonar and telecommunications.

Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek, Inc. commented, “Drawing on nearly twelve years of expertise and success with software radio technology, these multiband receivers represent Pentek’s first offerings for CompactPCI systems. For years, system designers have used our leading technology solutions to meet demanding application requirements in software radio, signal processing and data acquisition. Our proven track record in handling multi-channel synchronization, flexible FPGA design strategies and a system level approach to challenging applications, now delivers a valuable new resource to CompactPCI system engineers.”

Flexible Configuration, Switching and Synchronization
The Model 7231 accepts four analog RF inputs at +4 dBm full scale into 50 ohms on front panel SMA connectors, while the Model 7331 offers two analog inputs. Each input is transformer coupled and digitized by an AD6645 14-bit A/D converter with options for maximum sampling rates of either 80 MHz or 105 MHz. The sampling clock can be driven from an internal 80 MHz or 100 MHz crystal oscillator, from an external 50 ohm clock source supplied to a front panel SMA connector, or from the front panel LVDS Clock/Sync bus.

A/D converter data is delivered to eight Graychip GC4016 quad multiband digital receiver chips on the Model 7231 or four quad receiver chips on the 7331. The maximum input sampling rate for the GC4016 is 100 MHz. Each GC4016 includes four receiver channels capable of independent center frequency tuning from DC to ƒS/2, where ƒS is the sample clock frequency. Additionally, A/D data can be delivered directly to the FPGAs, bypassing the digital receivers for wideband applications.

The front panel LVDS Clock/Sync bus allows one board to act as a master, driving the sample clock, sync, gating and trigger signals through the LVDS Clock/Sync bus. This supports synchronization of local oscillator phase, frequency switching, decimating filter phase and data collection across multiple boards.

When used with Pentek’s Model 9190 clock and sync generator, the boards can support up to 1280 channels, each sharing a common clock and synchronization signals, for very large multi-channel systems including beamforming applications.

Configurable FPGAs
The 7231 and 7331 are both equipped with Xilinx Virtex-II FPGAs. Data from the A/D converters and from the GC4016 digital receivers is delivered into the FPGAs, which perform a wide range of user-selectable data packing and formatting functions. Dual port memories inside the FPGAs provide efficient PCI bus transfers by buffering receiver and A/D data.

In addition to these standard, factory-defined functions, Pentek makes the wealth of unused resources in these FPGAs easily available to users to add their own custom signal processing functions. By choosing either the Xilinx Virtex-II XC2V1000 (standard) or optional XC2V3000 FPGAs, users can implement extremely complex DSP algorithms and take advantage of flexible custom I/O through the cPCI P3 and P5 connectors.

cPCI Interface
Industry standard 64-bit 66 MHz PLX9656 PCI interface chips ensure full conformance to all PCI bus timing specifications. A PCI bridge connects the two PCI interfaces to the cPCI backplane.

Development Tools for a Variety of Platforms
Pentek’s three-fold GateFlow FPGA Resources include the GateFlow FPGA Design Kit supporting user-developed FPGA code, GateFlow IP Core Libraries for high-performance FFTs (Fast Fourier Transforms), digital receivers and radar pulse compression algorithms, and the GateFlow Factory Installed IP Cores that allow customers to take immediate advantage of FPGA technology with zero FPGA development effort.

Third-party and Pentek software development tools are available for a variety of platforms including Windows and Linux.

For the latest pricing and availability information, please contact Mario Schiavone by phone at (201) 818-5900 ext. 229, or by email to

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