Dreamcatcher 3.05 - END OF LIFE - $49 clearance price

Dreamcatcher 3.05 is at the end of its life. It is being replaced by a lower-cost receiver which utilizes the ESP32-S2 wifi microcontroller from Espressif Systems. Dreamcatcher 3.05 is available at a reduced price of $49 until the existing inventory is sold out.

Dreamcatcher 3.05 is capable of transmitting and receiving across a frequency range of 85 - 6000 MHz. The combination of the RFFC5072 from Qorvo and SX1281 from Semtech allow for a wide range of amateur radio communications, including uplinking to QO-100 and terrestrial communications between two (or more) Dreamcatchers.

Although Dreamcatcher and the Skylark operating system will continue to receive the Othernet broadcast, all ongoing software development will focus on the receiver. Dreamcatcher 3.05 and Skylark will receive any new types of content as files-only.

For those who are interested, the full schematic of Dreamcatcher is available here.

The new receiver will be limited to reception at ~2400 MHz and will not run Linux. It will consist primarily of the ESP32-S2-WROVER module, Semtech SX1281, and 14V bias-tee to power an external LNB. Compared to Dreamcatcher 3.05, it will have limited functionality, but will be sufficient as a broadcast data receiver.

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We are looking forward to more details of the new receiver. Ken

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If Dreamcatcher 3.05 is going to be deprecated would you make the case design, you have shown in one of the older posts available for us ? I guess that it will never be made “by factory” but at least these users who have access to 3D printers can print it. Otherwise the work you’ve spent on the design will be lost. Thanks

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Sure, I can release the files for the dome case. Is that the one you are interested in?

Yes, exactly, that would be great. Thanks !

BASE_9-17-19.STL (4.9 MB)
PLATFORM_9-17-19.STL (5.3 MB)
PBC-COVER_9-17-19.STL (3.1 MB)
SWIVEL_9-17-19.STL (13.3 MB)
CONE-CLAMP-LONG_9-17-19.STL (8.2 MB)
RADOME_9-17-19.STL (23.5 MB)

HOUSING-ASSEMBLY_9-17-19.STEP (9.9 MB)
FLAT ANTENNA MOUNT.STEP (31.3 KB)
FLAT ANTENNA MOUNT-2.STEP (50.3 KB)

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I am a bit confused by this development. I was under the impression you were pretty much ready to launch based on the dreamcatcher?

Does it really make sense to switch to a new platform at this stage?

The cost of Dreamcatcher is higher than it needs to be in order for a retail product to be successful, especially if the product is meant to sell in emerging markets.

If the software side for the Dreamcatcher is going to be depreciated, is there a way you can put out the source code so some of us can keep our existing Dreamcatchers operational for the foreseeable future?

BTW: I just ordered four DC 3.05’s and I still have three operational DC 3.02/3’s.

Now, the new receiver will only receive data at 2.4GHz? That, seems quite a bit odd.

The Software will be maintaned, so you should be able to keep your DCs on the Othernet Beam.

If you want to use it for something different then Othernet, there is an Armbian Image avaliable already.

The old Receiver also works on 2.4GHz, but it has a converter OnBoard that makes it possible to rx / tx at other Frequencies. That wll be removed on the new one.

This may be a basic question but how will both receivers be able to receive the same beam if the new receiver doesn’t have a converter onboard?
The North America beam is at 12,103 MHz so based on what you said, I am assuming this is being downconverted to 2,400 MHz. How will the new receiver do the same or is it going to be a new beam (and a new LNB?) that is at 2,400 MHz?

The LNB does the conversion the same as it does now, the downconverter on the current Dreamcatcher is not really used for the normal Receiving as far as i know.

So The Sat transmits at ~12ghz, the LNB receives it,downconverts to somewhere near 2400mhz and amplifies it, then the CHip on the DC as well as the new Board can receive it.

@JosephB This is a very good question. The RFFC5072 (mixer/synth) was put on the Dreamcatcher so that any frequency band could be supported. There was a time when I was hunting down capacity on all kinds of different satellites, from VHF up to X band. But the frequency agility comes at a cost; you can see how expensive this component is.

Another reason to include the RFFC5072 is to support the entire Ku-band, from 10.7 - 12.75 GHz. This offers a lot of flexibility when it comes to selecting specific beams, satellites, and operators. But cost is king and the only way to create a media service as pervasive as broadcast radio is by designing receivers that are just as cheap as broadcast radios. For me, the holy grail is a retail price of $20, but we’re nowhere close to that figure right now.

The priority of cost reduction is also why the Allwinner A13 is being replaced with a much less powerful microcontroller, the Espressif ESP32, which handles processing and wifi in one component. It also offers a tiny bit of storage, in the event that a microSD is not available or becomes corrupt.

Returning to your question: The SX1281(basically the same part as the SX1280), has a specified frequency range of 2400 - 2500 MHz. In actuality, the functional range is roughly 2200 - 2700 MHz. Let’s assume that we only use an LO of 9750 from a standard LNB.

9750 + 2400 (standard spec of SX1281) = 12,150 MHz
9750 + 2500 (standard spec of SX1281) = 12,250 MHz

9750 + 2200 (actual range of SX1281) = 11,950 MHz
9750 + 2700 (actual range of SX1281) = 12,450 MHz

Each radio will be tested across the wider range before it is packaged for sale.

The current downlink frequency in Europe is too low, so that frequency will change in the coming weeks.

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Makes a lot more sense now. Thanks @Tysonpower and @Syed.