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MSc Dissertation: Clifford van Dyk


Van Dyk, Clifford Leonard. The Design and Implementation of a Wideband Digital Radio Receiver. MSc Dissertation. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 2002.


Historically radio has been implemented using largely analogue circuitry. Improvements in mixed signal and digital signal processing technology are rapidly leading towards a largely digital approach, with down-conversion and filtering moving to the digital signal processing domain. Advantages of this technology include increased performance and functionality, as well as reduced cost.

Wideband receivers place the heaviest demands on both mixed signal and digital signal processing technology, requiring high spurious free dynamic range (SFDR) and signal processing bandwidths. This dissertation investigates the extent to which current digital technology is able to meet these demands and compete with the proven architectures of analogue receivers. A scalable generalised digital radio receiver capable of operating in the HF and VHF bands was designed, implemented and tested, yielding instantaneous bandwidths in excess of 10 MHz with a spurious-free dynamic range exceeding 80 decibels below carrier (dBc).

The results achieved reflect favourably on the digital receiver architecture. While the necessity for minimal analogue circuitry will possibly always exist, digital radio architectures are currently able to compete with analogue counterparts. The digital receiver is simple to manufacture, based on the use of largely commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, and exhibits extreme flexibility and high performance when compared with comparably priced analogue receivers.