Pentek Introduces RTS 2502 Transceiver Development Platform

1/17/2006 - Pentek, Inc., the industry pioneer of VME board-level technology, unveiled the latest member of its RTS 2500 development platform systems for real-time wideband data acquisition, signal processing and recording. The RTS 2502 adds playback capability to the family, using the same data-capture front end as the company's popular RTS 2501 and adding four D/A channels with two upconverters for playback. The unit comes preconfigured as a data recording system with a graphical user interface (GUI) to make the RTS 2502 ready to use out-of-the-box. The RTS 2502 is a fully programmable development platform that targets transceiver applications such as military radios and commercial wireless base stations.

The combination of data recording and playback capabilities in a single unit makes the RTS 2502 especially valuable for developers, according to Pentek vice president Rodger Hosking. "Instead of using simulated signals and signal analysis tools during system development of radar or communication systems," said Hosking, "engineers take the RTS system into the field to capture and generate real-world signals in real time for direct validation of both signal-processing algorithms and system hardware." He added that both the recording and playback functions use an industry-standard 2-gigabit Fibre Channel interface to either a redundant array of independent disks (RAID) or just a bunch of disks (JBOD) storage system. "Recording time is limited only by the size of the hard drives and it easily scales to different applications," Hosking said.

As with other members of the RTS 2500 family, Pentek's SystemFlow software allows developers to easily customize features, interfaces and operations. The software's modular design includes code for the data acquisition system as well as user control software for the GUI on the host PC. Application program interface (API) library functions are provided with full source code so developers can either modify the example code to meet their needs or use it as a reference for custom software. SystemFlow software supports the entire RTS 2500 family, ensuring a consistent look and feel for developers across all platforms.

Inside the RTS 2502
Each card in a RTS 2502 system accepts signals through two 14-bit ADCs running as fast as 105 MHz and passes the signals through digital downconverters to Virtex-II FPGAs for signal processing and data handling. The unit can send raw or processed data to a disk array at speeds up to 160 Mbytes/sec for recording, and the unit can also send the data off-board through front panel data port (FPDP), RACE++ or Gigabit Ethernet ports.

The two playback channels each offer digital upconversion and dual 500-MHz, 16-bit DACs to produce either real or I/Q RF signals, drawing data from the disk array at up to 160 MB/sec or other I/O as desired. Multiple Virtex-II FPGAs provide signal processing, formatting and other data manipulation for the input and output channels. Pentek supports developers in using the FPGAs with its GateFlow FPGA Design Kit, a package that includes design information, software files, optimized DSP functions and development utilities. Pentek also offers GateFlow IP Cores that include FFTs, wideband and narrowband digital downconverters and a radar pulse compressor.

The RTS 2502 occupies a single 6U VME card, enabling as many as 20 units to fit into a standard card cage. The unit is highly modular, allowing for 40 input channels and 80 output channels with this configuration. In addition, with the Model 9190 Clock/Sync Generator, system developers can synchronize up to 80 I/O modules, each with a common clock and up to five different timing signals for synchronizing, triggering and gating functions.

SystemFlow API and Libraries
SystemFlow software has a modular design that includes API libraries for the target board as well as user-control libraries for the host PC. Windows dynamic link library (DLL) calls are written in Visual C++ and a GUI is provided as a front-end PC host system. The PC host front end communicates over Ethernet with the royalty-free eCos real-time operating system on the G4 PowerPC target board, which executes real-time application code.

API libraries for both host and target include full source code, allowing developers to easily modify both the platform front end and target code to meet their needs. The software package also includes a data viewer, written in LabView, that shows display plots of collected data in either time or frequency domain. Developers can use the viewer to preview data before storage or to review stored data.

Price and Availability
An RTS 2502 base system starts at $29,995 for hardware only and $41,495 with bundled SystemFlow and GateFlow software. Developers can use one software suite across multiple hardware platforms. Delivery is eight to 12 weeks ARO.

About Pentek
Pentek develops, manufactures and markets innovative DSP systems to original equipment manufacturers, distributors and value-added resellers. Pentek offers powerful VME, VXS, PMC, XMC, cPCI and PCI boards for data acquisition, software radio and digital signal processing featuring Texas Instruments C6000 DSPs, Freescale G4 PowerPCs and Xilinx FPGAs. Pentek's I/O includes A/Ds, D/As, FPGAs, digital up/down converters and more. Pentek equips all products with high-performance I/O including gigabit serial interfaces and offers strong DSP software support.

Pentek, SystemFlow and GateFlow are trademarks or registered trademarks of Pentek, Inc.

North American Sales Contact
Pentek, Inc., One Park Way, Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458-2311; telephone 201-818-5900, ext. 767; fax 201-818-5904; email

International Sales Contacts
VSystems SA in France at 130070060, VSystems Electronic GmbH in Germany at 892737630, VSystems s.r.l. in Italy at 119661319, VSystems AB in Sweden at 84441550, VSystems UK at 1494476000, Sela Electronic Systems in Israel at 36479969 and MISH International in Japan at 425387650, Beijing BetaOne Sysjob Ltd. in China at 1082784106 and Acetronix Co. Ltd. in Korea at 24202343.

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