Talking With Satellites
This year I am leading a senior design team in developing a software defined radio that can talk with a satellite that Vanderbilt just launched. Compared to a normal radio, an SDR has most of the signal processing functions implemented virtually. This means that it can change its operation on the fly. An interesting application of SDRs is cognitive radio: that is, radios communicating with other radios in their vicinity and adjusting their frequencies to maximize their use of the bandwidth.
Our project involves integrating an SDR with a satellite tracking antenna system, processing the signal and passing it on to a satellite specific application to decrypt it. If we are successful, we will not only be able to talk to our own CubeSat, but have a chat with astronauts abroad the International Space Station. How cool is that!