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The DATV-Express Project

The DATV-Express is a digital Amateur TeleVision exciter/transmitter (assembled board with software) that can operate on ham radio bands from 70 MHz to 2.45 GHz.

We are a small group of Amateur Radio Operators involved with Amateur TV (ATV) who have come together to provide an economical answer to the question that hams interested in digital-ATV have been asking for a long time: Where can I economically purchase MPEG2 encoder boards and Digital-ATV exciter boards?

A ham-grade set of MPEG-2-and-DVB-S boards from SR-Sys in Germany cost about US $875.00. The cost of commercial-grade digital-TV boards is even higher. This high cost is known to prevent many hams from trying Digital-ATV. Because of this, a group of hams in the US and England got together at the end 0f 2010 to start a project that will lower the cost of DATV considerably.

We hope that this web site will provide information that can be used by the Amateur radio's digital-ATV community for getting into this exciting mode of Amateur Radio.

The picture below (courtesy of G8GTZ & GB3HV) shows how digital-ATV can improve signal quality over analog-ATV using the same antenna and power-level.

 

This open-source project is known as DATV-EXPRESS. The team members are:

  • Art Towslee - WA8RMC - electronics design
  • Charles Brain - G4GUO - software design
  • Tom Gould - WB6P - PCB Layout design
  • Ken Konechy -W6HHC - Project Management and publications

System Block Diagram for DATV-Express for Linux

The most important concept about the DATV-Express board is that it is software-based SDR radio. While the system block diagram for a typical Digital-ATV DVB-S transmitter using the DATV-Express board is shown below, the modulator chip and software can also produce several other types of modulations and protocols, such as COFDM for DVB-T and 32APSK for DVB-S2.  

System Block Diagram of typical DATV-Express transmitter set-up for DVB-S running Ubuntu OS

 

And what does the board look like?

commercially-assembled boardThe DATV-Express PCBA is sold fully-assembled and fully-tested

System Block Diagram for using with Windows OS

The DATV-Express project team has BETA-released the Express_DVB-S_Transmitter software for the Windows OS. This Windows-based software allows using any Intel/AMD 32-bit or 64-bit desktop PC or notebook computer to drive the DATV-Express hardware board using DVB-S protocol for DATV.. The Express_DVB-S_Transmitter software allows eliminating the Hauppauge hardware encoders by using FFmpeg CODEC encoders in software,

System Block Diagram using WINDOWS OS with DATV-Express set-up for DVB-S

 

System Block Diagram for using with ODROID U3

The DATV-Express project team has also released DATV-Software for the very small "micro-PC" called ODROID model U3. The small ARM-based ODROID can eliminate the need for a full-size PC or even a bulky notebook computer to drive the DATV-Express hardware board. 

System Block Diagram using ODROID with DATV-Express set-up for DVB-S

 

This is just the beginning. Keep watching this web site for updates.

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