RadioSlate Tablet Gives You a Discrete, On-the-Go Platform for HackRF and LimeSDR Experiments

Designed for handheld use, the aluminum-framed RadioSlate runs Windows or Linux and can host a software-defined radio internally.

Gareth Halfacree
2 years agoCommunication

Internet of Things (IoT) specialist Yian IT is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for an all-in-one tablet designed for radio frequency work, combining a rugged design with general-purpose compute and microcontroller capabilities with a HackRF or LimeSDR software-defined radio.

"RadioSlate is a sturdy aluminum tablet with an industry-favorite software-defined radio (SDR) board — your choice of HackRF or LimeSDR — tucked away behind its touchscreen," the company explains of its latest creation. "Whether you’re a Ham radio operator, a network engineer, a mobile base station designer, a security auditor, or some other variety of SDR enthusiast, RadioSlate lets you do your thing, even if that thing requires you to go outside and walk around, get unusually close to transmitters and receivers, keep one hand free for other tasks, or manage all of the above without drawing undue attention to yourself."

The tablet is based around a low-power Intel Core M3 8100Y dual-core processor running up to 3.4GHz, 8GB of LPDDR3 memory, and 64GB of eMMC 5.0 storage, all located behind a 1024x600-pixel touchscreen display. For connectivity, the tablet includes dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.2 radios plus wired gigabit Ethernet, and can accept peripherals on one external USB Type-C port or three internal USB Type-A ports. There's are two internal M.2 ports — one M-key, one E-key — and a 3.5mm audio jack for sound output.

It's the support for high-performance software-defined radios which makes the RadioSlate stand out: Both the HackRF and the LimeSDR Mini are supported, though the former requires modification to add a TCXO clock, additional shielding, and the removal of the USB port and SMA clock ports; the latter installs unmodified on an custom aluminium mounting bracket.

The tablet supports both Linux and Windows operating systems, shipping with an unspecified but "recent" Long Term Support (LTS) edition of Canonical's Ubuntu Linux. The battery life is not specified, and nor are the batteries included: To make international shipping easier, the company has opted to require the user to supplier their own 18650 lithium-ion batteries plus a CR927 battery for the real-time clock.

For more information on the project, and to be alerted when the campaign goes live, head to Crowd Supply.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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