Communications

8-channel phase coherent RF signal recorder released

27th April 2021
Alex Lynn

Pentek has introduced a new addition to the Talon series of recorders, the Talon Model RTR 2628 8-channel, phase coherent, 4U 19" rackmount RF signal recorder with integrated RF tuners and A/D converters. The rugged rackmount system is designed to operate under conditions of vibration and extended operating temperatures.

The Talon RTR 2628 accepts signals from eight antennas to provide eight channels of phase-coherent RF signal recording.  Each channel is tunable up to six gigahertz and captures up to 80MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. 

“With excellent dynamic range to pick up low-level signals, the Talon RTR 2628 is an ideal choice for spectrum monitoring applications that need to accurately interpret synchronised signals. Targeted applications including beamforming, direction finding, phased-array radars and multi-antenna diversity receivers can all leverage the phase-coherent capabilities of the Talon RTR 2628,” said Rodger Hosking, Co-founder and Vice President, Pentek.

Each input channel includes a 250MHz 16-bit A/D and an FPGA-based digital downconverter with programmable decimations from two to 65536 for instantaneous bandwidths from 80 MHz down to three kilohertz. RF signals up to six gigahertz in frequency can be tuned, sampled, digitally-down converted and streamed to disk in real-time at sustained aggregate recording rates up to 3.2 GB/sec. RF tuning frequencies, A/D sampling rates, DDC decimations and trigger settings are among the selectable system parameters, providing a system that is flexible, yet simple to configure and operate.

The RTR 2628 is configured in a 4U 19” rack-mountable chassis, with hot-swap data drives, front panel USB ports, and I/O connectors on the rear panel. It is optimised for cooling and ruggedised to operate in challenging environments. Systems are scalable to accommodate multiple chassis’ to increase phase-coherent channel counts and aggregate data rates. All recorder chassis are connected via Ethernet and can be controlled from a single GUI either locally or from a remote PC.

The RTR 2628 includes as many as 32 hot-swappable SSDs to provide flexible storage capacities up to 122 TB. The 2.5-inch SSDs can be easily removed or exchanged during a mission to retrieve recorded data. Multiple RAID levels, including 0, 5 and 6, provide a choice for the required level of redundancy.

All Talon recorders are built on a Microsoft Windows platform and include Pentek’s SystemFlow software, featuring a GUI (graphical user interface), Signal Viewer and API (Application Programming Interface). The GUI provides intuitive controls for out-of-the-box turn-key operation using point-and-click configuration management.

Configurations are easily stored and recalled for single-click setup. The Signal Viewer provides a virtual oscilloscope and spectrum analyser to monitor signals before, during and after data collection. The C-callable API allows users to integrate the recorder control as a front end to larger application systems. Enhancements to the GUI support efficient configuration of the recording channels.

The data format used for storage follows the NTFS standard, allowing users to remove drives from the instrument and read the data using standard Windows-based systems, eliminating the need for file format conversion. Pentek provides a Talon Recording System Simulator for evaluation of the SystemFlow software package. This free trial package is available for download here.

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