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LabVIEW, the USRP, and their Implications on Software Defined Radio

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2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Computational Tools

Tagged Division

Computers in Education

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.998.1 - 22.998.13



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Paper Authors


Thad B. Welch III P.E. Boise State University

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Thad B. Welch, Ph.D., P.E. received the B.E.E., M.S.E.E., E.E., and Ph.D. degrees from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Naval Postgraduate School, Naval Postgraduate School, and the University of Colorado in 1979, 1989, 1989, and 1997, respectively. He was commissioned in the U.S. Navy in 1979 and has been assigned to three submarines and a submarine repair tender. He has deployed in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and Arctic Ocean.

From 1994 – 1997 he was an Instructor and Assistant Professor teaching in the Electrical Engineering Department at the U.S. Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO. During 1996 – 1997 he was recognized as the Outstanding Academy Educator for the Electrical Engineering Department.

From 1997 – 2007 he was an Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Permanent Military Professor teaching in the Electrical Engineering Department at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, MD. During 2000 – 2001 he was recognized as the Outstanding Academy Educator for the Electrical Engineering Department. During 2001 – 2002 he received the Raouf outstanding engineering educator award. During 2002 – 2003 he was recognized as the Outstanding Researcher for the Electrical Engineering Department. He was an invited scholar at the University of Wyoming, fall 2004, where he was recognized as an eminent engineer and inducted into tau beta pi. In 2006 he co-authored “Real-time Digital Signal Processing, from MATLAB to C with the TMS320C6x DSK.”

From 2007 – 2010 he was a Professor and the Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Boise State University, Boise, ID. His research interests include real-time digital signal processing (DSP), the implementation of DSP-based systems, communication systems analysis, IED defeat, efficient simulation of communication systems, spread-spectrum techniques, and ultra-wideband systems.

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Sam Shearman National Instruments

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Sam Shearman is a Senior Product Manager for Signal Processing and Communications at National Instruments (Austin, TX). Shearman started with NI in 2000 and has worked in product management and R&D roles related to signal processing, RF / communications, and measurement. Prior to working with NI, Shearman worked as a technical trade press editor and as a research engineer. As a trade press editor for Personal Engineering & Instrumentation News, he covered PC-based test and analysis markets. His research engineering work involved embedding microstructures in high-volume plastic coatings for non-imaging optics applications. Shearman holds a bachelor of science with honors (1993) in electrical engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Atlanta, GA).

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Title: The Universal Hardware Driver and its Implications in Software Defined RadioThe universal software radio peripheral (USRP) family of products has become a popularplatform for hardware-based research and test bed validations conducted by universities in thesoftware defined radio (SDR) and cognitive radio (CR) fields. The recently released universalhardware driver (UHD) for use with the USRP now offers a simpler, scalable and easier to usecombined platform that will both broaden the accessibility of the technology and platform forhands-on applications and spur further adoption and use within university communicationsystems classrooms, teaching laboratories, and their natural follow-on coursework (e.g., SDR,CR, Digital Communications, Wireless Communications, and Satellite Communications).This paper will discuss the utilization of the National Instruments (NI) LabVIEW-based virtualinstrumentation with the USRP and UHD to rapidly create real-time communication systemsdemonstrations for the classroom and/or laboratory settings. The combination of the USRP,UHD, and LabVIEW enables implementation and exploration of both foundational and moreadvanced concepts related to signal processing and communications. Possibilities include AM,FM, PM, bandwidth, sampling theory, filtering, synchronization, equalization, and many others.Additionally, application of this powerful hardware and software toolset in a full semestercommunication laboratory setting will be discussed.Finally, a framework for the development and dissemination of these and otherdemonstration/laboratory exercises will also be provided.

Welch, T. B., & Shearman, S. (2011, June), LabVIEW, the USRP, and their Implications on Software Defined Radio Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18249

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