UC San Diego Researchers Succeed in Rapid Port of FM3TR Waveform to Spectrum's Multi-Purpose Radio

June 18, 2009 / By Maureen C. Curran

Dennis Bauman
Last fall, Dennis Bauman (second from right), joint program executive officer for JPEO JTRS, visited Calit2's SDR lab.

San Diego, California and Burnaby, British Columbia, June 18, 2009 — Researchers at the University of California San Diego division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2) have successfully ported an existing implementation of the Future Multiband Multiwaveform Modular Tactical Radio (FM3TR) waveform to a different software-defined radio (SDR) platform: the SDR-4000 from Spectrum Signal Processing.

The Calit2 researchers completed the port in just four months after receiving the equipment. They conducted the successful work as part of the Calit2/JTRS Software-defined Radio Project, under support from the Joint Program Executive Office for the Joint Tactical Radio System (JPEO JTRS) program.

Bill Hodgkiss and John Armantrout
Bill Hodgkiss (left) and John Armantrout

"The FM3TR project with Calit2 demonstrates that with software-defined radio technology, a Software Communications Architecture [SCA]-enabled waveform can be rapidly ported to an industry commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) system, such as Spectrum's SDR-4000," said Dr. Richard North, technical director for JPEO JTRS. "The JPEO JTRS is proud to support the adoption of SDR technologies through programs like the JTRS Open Information Repository [IR]."

The JTRS Open IR contains material donated by the JTRS JPEO as a courtesy to the open-source SDR development community. The plan is that the IR will continue to grow over time with additional contributions not only from JPEO JTRS and Calit2, but the user community as well. The original JTRS FM3TR waveform code and documentation are currently available in the JTRS Open IR; the waveform code and documentation for this ported vesion will be available in the IR shortly.

Spectrum Signal Processing by Vecima (Spectrum), an advanced custom radio provider, made the announcement today that the FM3TR waveform has been successfully ported to Spectrum's flexComm™ SDR-4000 software reconfigurable transceiver. The ported waveform can now be readily employed by all of Spectrum's SDR-4000 users.

The porting team
Jeff Cuenco, Wenhua Zhao, Anthony Nwokafor, Minh Luu, Zhongren (Arnold) Cao, Per Johansson

"Spectrum offered a comprehensive solution that enabled us to begin our development immediately, while remaining on schedule and on budget for the completion of the FM3TR port," said Bill Hodgkiss, principal investigator on the Calit2/JTRS SDR Project. He added, "The Spectrum solution tightly integrated the hardware, software - including a complete SCA Core Framework, a hardware abstraction layer and application protocol interface (API) library, and all the necessary development tools." Hodgkiss is also associate director of the UC San Diego division of Calit2. The Calit2 team successfully demonstrated and presented the FM3TR port at the joint meeting of JTRS Science and Technology Forum and the SDR Forum 61st General Working Meeting, held earlier this year in San Diego at Calit2.

Calit2's SDR testbed
Calit2's SDR-4000 SDR Testbed

"Our work with the JPEO JTRS during the past year has been, and is, a unique opportunity for a university to get an insight into the technology challenges facing the defense industry in the communications area," noted Per Johansson, a Calit2 principal engineer and the project manager of the Calit2/JTRS Project. "It has been a chance for us to work in a real commercial environment with equipment and tools that are not typically found in a university setting. The close collaboration we have with JTRS JPEO has been key for us to be able to get up to speed in such a relatively short time."

Johansson summed up, "It's been a great learning experience for us. With this port, we became familiar with this environment, and knowing what we know now, we can take the next step and start looking at something where we design it from the start." Next, the team will build a SCA-enabled version of the APCO Project 25 (P25) public safety waveform, again using the SDR-4000; follow-on support from JPEO JTRS began recently.

"A healthy open-source SDR development community is essential to reduce the costs of fielding these powerful radio technologies. FM3TR is a waveform we believe will be useful not just to Spectrum's SDR-4000 customers, but to the entire community of developers," said Mark Briggs, VP Marketing at Spectrum. "This program at Calit2 is an excellent example of effective government, academic and industry partnership, producing meaningful results for the good of the community."


About the SDR-4000

The SDR-4000 is a multi-purpose software reconfigurable transceiver that comes with a comprehensive software stack including an SCA Core Framework with development tools, Spectrum's quicComm™ hardware abstraction layer and API library, and a real-time operating system (RTOS) with an integrated development environment. The SDR-4000 has been proven to support physical layer implementations of other JTRS waveforms including:

  • Wideband Networking Waveform Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (WNW OFDM)
  • Soldier Radio Waveform Electronic Warfare (SRW EW)
  • Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System (SINCGARS)
  • For more information on the SDR-4000, please visit www.spectrumsignal.com/products/3u.

About FM3TR and Calit2's ported version of FM3TR

The Future Multiband Multiwaveform Modular Tactical Radio (FM3TR) waveform is a test waveform developed and used as an instrument to promote international interoperability. The FM3TR waveform provides frequency hopping, over both VHF and UHF military bands (30 MHz - 400 MHz), using continuously variable slope delta (CVSD) modulation for voice digitizing. The FM3TR waveform defines two operational modes: voice and data. In the Calit2-ported version of FM3TR, the voice mode is used to support a push-to-talk (PTT) application and the data service primarily supports an instant text-messaging (ITM) application. Of these two applications, the FM3TR base code only supported the voice mode and a PTT application; therefore, the Calit2 team added a data mode to support the ITM application. Wherever possible, the FM3TR base code was reused to minimize additional development, this was also the case for the data mode and ITM application. The Calit2-ported FM3TR code and documentation will be available in the JTRS Open IR shortly; it is currently undergoing JTRS conformance testing which will ease wider use and adoption.


Spectrum Signal Processing is part of Vecima Networks Inc. Within the Vecima umbrella, Spectrum's primary focus is to deliver leading edge software defined radios and radio products to both commercial and military customers. Spectrum's products and services are optimized for satellite communications applications, as well as military communications, signals intelligence, surveillance, and electronic warfare. Key customers include commercial satellite communications providers as well as the US Government, its allies and its prime contractors. For more information on Spectrum and its flexComm product line, please visit www.spectrumsignal.com.

Vecima (TSX:VCM) is a leading designer and manufacturer of products that enable broadband access to cable, wireless and telephony networks. Vecima's products and solutions allow service providers to rapidly and cost-effectively bridge the network segment that connects the system core network directly to end users by overcoming the bottleneck resulting from insufficient carrying capacity in legacy infrastructures. Vecima is focused on providing leading edge technology to a number of markets, including SDR technology in commercial applications, DOCISIS 3.0 modules and systems like HyperQAM to existing and new customers, deep digital decoding through products such as CableVista to support the ongoing shift towards All Digital Cable Networks, and WiMax products to provide connectivity to end users in underserved markets worldwide. For more information on Vecima, please visit www.vecima.com.


The Joint Tactical Radio System, headquartered in San Diego, CA, was initiated in early 1997 to improve and consolidate the Services' pursuit of separate solutions to replace existing legacy radios in the Department of Defense inventory. The JTRS program has evolved from separate radio replacement programs to an integrated effort to network multiple weapon system platforms and forward combat units where it matters most - the last tactical mile. JTRS will link the power of the Global Information Grid to the warfighter in applying fire effects and achieving overall battlefield superiority.

JTRS is developing an open architecture of cutting-edge radio waveform technology that allows multiple radio types (e.g., handheld, aircraft, maritime) to communicate with each other. The goal is to produce a family of interoperable, modular software-defined radios which operate as nodes in a network to ensure secure wireless communication and networking services for mobile and fixed forces. These goals extend to U.S. allies, coalition partners and, in time, disaster response personnel. For more information, please visit http://jpeojtrs.mil/.


The UC San Diego Division of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), together with Calit2's division at UC Irvine, house over 1,000 researchers across the two campuses, organized around more than 50 projects. With a focus on discovery and innovation at the intersection of science, engineering and the arts, Calit2 constitutes one of the largest multidisciplinary research centers in the nation.

Created in 2000 by the State of California to maintain and extend its leadership in critical technologies, Calit2 brings together teams of faculty, student and staff researchers with leading telecommunications, computer hardware and software, and applications companies. Research is conducted on the future of telecommunications and information technology and how these technologies will transform a range of applications important to the California economy and its citizens' quality of life. For more information, please visit www.calit2.net.

The Calit2/JTRS Software-defined Radio Project is a collaborative research effort supported by JPEO JTRS involving SCA SDR development platforms (porting the FM3TR waveform), a high performance amplifier (HPA) test-bed and hosting the JTRS Open Information Repository (IR). For more information, please visit http://jtrs.calit2.net/. 


Certain statements in this news release may constitute forward-looking statements which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. When used in this news release, such statements are generally identified by the use of such words as "may", "will", "expect", "believe", "plan", "intend" and other similar terminology. These statements reflect Vecima's current expectations regarding future events and operating performance and speak only as of the date of this news release. Forward-looking statements involve significant risks and uncertainties, should not be read as guarantees of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be accurate indications of whether or not such results will be achieved. A number of factors including, but not limited to, the factors discussed under "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report dated September 25, 2008 available on SEDAR (www.sedar.com), could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are based upon what management of the Company believes are reasonable assumptions, the Company cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this news release, and the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

flexComm and quicComm are trademarks of Vecima Networks Inc. Other product and company names mentioned may be trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective holders.

Related Links

Calit2/JTRS Software-defined Radio Project
JTRS Open Information Repository (IR)
JPEO Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS)
Spectrum Signal Processing

Media Contacts

Maureen C. Curran, Calit2, 858-822-4084, mcurran@soe.ucsd.edu
John Armantrout, JTRS JPEO, 619-524-6302, john.armantrout@navy.mil
Mark Briggs, Spectrum Signal Processing, 604-676-6743, mark_briggs@spectrumsignal.com