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The Digilent Zmod SDR Is a Comprehensive Tool for RF & SDR Applications

May 25, 2024 — by Giorgio Mendoza 258 views

Digilent recently launched the Zmod SDR which is a sophisticated digitizer specifically designed for software-defined radio and RF applications. This device includes a dual-channel ADC with an integrated front end, suitable for any SYZYGY compatible carrier board.

The Zmod SDR features dual-channel, single-ended channels with a 14-bit resolution, delivering an absolute resolution of 61 μV. The input range is ±1 V, and it offers a maximum sample rate of 122.88 MS/s. This high rate allows for under-sampling, capable of capturing signals with frequencies much higher than the baseline sample rate’s Nyquist frequency would normally allow.


Zmod SDR Bottom View
(click image to enlarge)

The input impedance is set at 50 Ω at 10 MHz, and the analog bandwidth ranges from 35 kHz to 470 MHz at -12 dB, and 100 kHz to 200 MHz at -3 dB. These specifications ensure the Zmod SDR can handle a broad range of RF signals, suitable for both advanced research and practical applications in modern radio communication.

Enhanced precision in signal capture is achieved through the on-board low-jitter clock generator and the low-noise design of the Zmod SDR. These features are important for accurately acquiring fast radio signals, which is often required in sophisticated radio and communication projects.

Eclypse Z7 Development Board
(click image to enlarge)

Compatibility with the Eclypse Z7 host board allows the Zmod SDR to be supported by GNU Radio and Digilent’s WaveForms software suite. This compatibility extends the device’s utility, providing a familiar interface for SDR experts and simplifying the introduction for new users.

For those engaged in custom design applications, particularly using 7-series FPGA boards like the Eclypse Z7 and USB104 A7, Digilent offers an IP core for Vivado. This core eases the configuration and start-up of the Zmod, efficiently integrating the acquired data into the user’s design through an AXI stream interface.

Zmod SDR Top View
(click image to enlarge)

To assist users in leveraging the capabilities of the Zmod SDR, Digilent provides comprehensive guides and demos. These resources are accessible via the Support Materials tab, providing essential information to help users quickly begin and effectively advance with their projects.

Further information

Included in the package are four M3 x 5mm screws for attaching the device to compatible host boards. The Zmod SDR is currently priced at $249.00 on the Digilent website.

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