Jawbreaker integrates three separate designs into a single circuit board, making it smaller and easier to handle. Since my previous post, I tested multiple wideband front-end designs, eventually settling on one called Licorice. Jawbreaker is a combination of Licorice, Lemondrop, and Jellybean into a single USB-powered software radio transceiver peripheral designed to operate from 30 MHz to 6 GHz.
This week I plan to finish validating the design and ordering PCBs of the next (likely final) revision. While I validate and revise the hardware design, Jared is hard at work on a USB driver for the LPC43xx microcontroller on the board. Prior to combining the three boards into Jawbreaker, I successfully tested both transmit and receive paths from the antenna all the way to the microcontroller, but the "last mile" USB communication from the microcontroller to the host computer was still incomplete.
I had planned to bring a finished Jawbreaker for everyone attending my software radio workshop at ToorCon San Diego later this month, but unfortunately it doesn't look like I'll have enough working units by then. Instead I will provide alternative hardware that will fully enable everyone to participate in the workshop exercises, and I will send Jawbreakers to the attendees when they are finished later. (There are still a couple of seats open in the workshop, by the way.)
A puzzling feature you might have noticed on Jawbreaker is the integration of a PCB trace antenna for the 900 MHz band. Although the board is designed for operation over a much wider frequency range, this antenna allows people to start experimenting with the board in the 900 MHz band immediately without any antennas, connectors, or anything at all other than a USB cable and computer. I want it to be easy for people to get started with the device because Jawbreaker is intended as the beta test platform for the HackRF project. We plan to assemble quite a few Jawbreakers and will distribute them to beta testers in the coming weeks. Beta hardware availability will be announced at ToorCon.