HackRF Exceeds Kickstarter Goal Within Hours


Earlier today, Michael Ossmann, founder of Great Scott Gadgets and creator of the Ubertooth One Bluetooth development platform, unleashed his latest project on Kickstarter to staggering success: in just a few hours, the campaign exceeded its $80,000 goal with no signs of slowing down. Michael’s success is yet another in a long line of extremely popular open hardware campaigns on Kickstarter, and once again proves how the community is willing to support open products.


Michael’s newest creation, the HackRF, is an absolute revolution in low-cost software defined radio (SDR). We’ve reported in the past on the latest trend of using create cheap SDR receivers with re-purposed USB TV tuners (RTL-SDR), and while those projects have offered an incredible amount of capability for the cost (usually around $20 USD), they absolutely pale in comparison to the HackRF.

To start with, the HackRF has a much higher frequency range than any of the other SDR devices in its price range. Most RTL-SDR devices can receive between 50 MHz and 2200 MHz, with a gap in the 1000-1200 MHz area. This represents a lot of interesting areas to explore, but falls just shy of the high frequency ranges used by consumer technologies such as Bluetooth and WiFi. But the HackRF can operate from 30 MHz all the way up to 6000 MHz, an absolutely unheard of upper limit for a consumer-level SDR device.

But what’s more, while RTL-SDR and other devices like the FUNcube Dongle are limited to reception only, the HackRF can actually transmit on any frequency within its operating range. This opens up a whole new world to radio experimenters, where you can achieve two way communication with essentially any kind of wireless device in existence (and some which haven’t even been invented yet).

Those who got early access to the HackRF hardware in prototype form have already come up with some incredible hacks for this board, such as running your own POCSAG pager network.

Price Breakthrough

With so many people using hacked $20 TV tuners for SDR experimentation, you may get the impression that it’s a cheap hobby to get into. But the fact is, “legitimate” USB SDR receivers like the FUNcube Dongle sell for around $190 USD, and devices which are comparable to the HackRF (in terms of frequency range and transmit capability) are well into the thousands of dollars.

So how much will it cost you to get a HackRF?

While the $199 early adopter level has long since sold out, you can still get your hands on a HackRF (complete with case and antenna) for as low as $275. Whether you’re looking to “graduate” from your hacked TV tuner setup, or if it’s you first foray into radio experimentation, the HackRF is an absolutely unbeatable deal.

In fact, it’s not unreasonable to say that the availability of such a capable piece of hardware at this price point will trigger a whole new wave of RF hacking and creations. The HackRF could do for wireless communications what the Arduino did for microcontrollers, or what the Raspberry Pi did for embedded ARM boards.

Source | Kickstarter

Congratulations to Michael Ossmann on this resounding success. We’re very excited to see what the community will come up with when they have this kind of power in their hands.

About Tom Nardi

Tom is a Network Engineer with focus on GNU/Linux and open source software. He is a frequent submitter to "2600", and maintains a personal site of his projects and areas of research at: www.digifail.com .