Reliable, integrated wireless communications; such as software defined radio systems, are essential for today’s military

Circuit Board Manufacturing for Software Defined Radio Systems for Military Technology

The importance of reliable communications networks can not be overstated for today’s military. This is obvious for theaters in which UAVs or drones may be deployed, while the pilot is hundreds or thousands of miles away. The same is true for any operation; including when air and ground are integrated, where situational awareness is required for mission success. One method that has proven successful in addressing this issue is software defined radio systems technology. Although this technology leverages software, your PCBA manufacturing must provide the quality and reliability necessary to enable the functional agility this technology can deliver.

What Is Software Defined Radio Systems Technology?

Software defined radio system example implementation

The image above shows wireless communication between two systems that operate at different frequencies. This capability is possible even though the two systems are not physically compatible (i.e. transmission and reception circuitry tuned to the same frequency) due to the use of software defined radio (SDR) technology. SDR can be defined as:


Software defined radio (SDR) technology is the utilization of software to perform analog signal processing activity that has traditionally been implemented in hardware.

The implications of this concept are far-reaching for military application. Compared with legacy communications method, SDR has the following advantages:

Advantages of Software Defined Radio System Technology

  • Ability to institute changes through software updates
  • Eliminating the need for HW upgrades
  • Utilization of advanced technologies; such as AI and ML
  • Compatibility with different waveform types
  • Quickly integrate systems with other partners (i.e., for military exercises and theater operations)
  • Use of DevOps strategy to continually enhance capabilities

As the list above illustrates, the intent of SDR is to shift the burden from HW to SW to produce capability enhancement. This capitalization on software-based technical advances; however, requires high-performance electronics and PCBAs for success.

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Developing PCBAs for Software Defined Radio Applications

One of the major draws for the use of SDR is the ability to simultaneously monitor and/or communicate with systems that operate on different frequencies and may use different communication protocols–for example, Wi-Fi, BLE, CDMA, GSM and others. Achieving this and the other advantages SDR offers, coupled with the sometimes harsh environments in which equipment and aircraft may have to operate, requires the development of highly reliable and durable PCBAs.

Tempo's Custom Avionics for PCB Manufacturing Service
  • AS9100D and IPC J-STD-001E with Space Addendum certified manufacturing processes.
  • ISO-9001, IPC-600 and IPC-610 commitment to quality certifications.
  • Execute your full development cycle from proto to validation, NPI, and low volume production.
  • Accurate quote in less than a day.
  • DFX support, including DFM, DFA, and DFT from Day 1 of design.
  • Entire turnkey PCB manufacturing in as fast as 4 days.
  • Extreme space environment targeted manufacturing.
  • Use reputable components suppliers to ensure quality, security and traceability.
  • Performs multiple automated inspections during PCB assembly to ensure quality for prototyping.

Meeting the high standards for electronics; such as for software defined radio systems, necessitates that you work with an experienced, certified CM. Tempo Automation is not only the industry leader for building high-quality, complex boards with the shortest turnaround, but we are experienced in building PCBAs that meet or exceed the highest manufacturing standards. We are also AS9100 certified and ITAR registered.

Tempo employs a white-box turnkey PCBA manufacturing process that promotes collaboration and transparency between engineers and CMs. This allows us to quickly deliver high-quality boards for both standard and non-standard designs that meet rigorous defense and aerospace industry criteria for prototyping and on-demand production. We also provide downloadable DRC files in Altium Designer, Cadence Allegro, Mentor Pads, other CAD formats, and Excel.

If you are ready to have your design manufactured, try our quote tool to upload your CAD and BOM files. If you want more information on the role of electronics in aerospace systems, contact us.

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