Broadcast receiver based on FreeRunner (openmokast): Answers to some questions

Michael Shiloh michael at
Tue Sep 16 12:17:41 CEST 2008

I collected some questions from the community, which Jean-Michel 
Bouffard, a Research Engineer at the Communications Research Centre in 
Canada, graciously agreed to answer. I hope to see his work inspire 
similar projects:

(Note: The attachment (*) Jean-Michel mentions below will be placed on 
downloads or some such place shortly)


It will be a pleasure answering some of your questions.

> In particular, people are interested in whether the plastic or the 
> hardware will be available to the public, even in small, experimental 
> quantities, and beyond, whether you know of any commercial modules that 
> might be substituted for your custom modules.

The plastic part was designed from the case CAD files that were released
on the website. I attached (*) a model that can be seen using
the free edrawings viewer ( We will
most probably release the source ProE model of the backplate extension
as soon as the author agrees.

  From the source ProE model, we have ordered a small quantity of 3D
printouts in ABS from a local company (
Other provider of such custom ABS parts could also be or

For the hardware module, it was provided by a manufacturer but we are in
a discussion process with them so nothing will be released for now.

To sum it all up we are not planning to release any hardware ourselves
but after we release the extension ProE files, people will be able to
order plastic parts themselves. And hopefully our discussion with
receiver manufacturer(s) should result in a receiver commercially
available with the driver included in openmokast. So I suggest that you
register to our RSS feed
( to stay current
with the news.

> We are also interested in details such as how the hardware was 
> connected. We note with pleasure that the software is open-sourced, and 
> wonder how independent the hardware layer is, so that it might be 
> replaced with drivers for e.g. an off-the-shelf receiver of some sort.

The hardware uses a USB interface so it was connected to the USB port of
the FreeRunner from inside the case. When setting USB in "host mode" and
the "host mode" in type "1", the FreeRunner is able to power the
broadcasting receiver from its battery.

> I personally am fascinated by your previous work with Gumstix and SDR, 
> as I am an amateur radio operator (KA6RCQ). It has been an interest of 
> mine to fashion some sort of ham SDR on external hardware, and then to 
> use the FreeRunner as the GUI and the audio IO device. Is any of your 
> work on this available to the public?

This work on SDR was conducted by a completely different team from the
CRC so I cannot say if they have ever released some of their work to the

> Regards,
> Michael

Thanks for your interest...

Jean-Michel Bouffard
Research Engineer | Ingénieur de recherche
Communications Research | Centre de recherches sur les
   Centre Canada | communications Canada
Email: jean-michel.bouffard at | Cour.: jean-michel.bouffard at
Web site: | Site web:

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