Radio Mobile is a free RF design software created by Roger Coudé.
The latest version available of this writing is 9.3.8. The installer files can be downloaded freely from Radio Mobile’s web site. These are individual zipped files so you will have to go through a number of unzip procedures before you can finally install the application. I found an easier way to install Radio Mobile (here) where there is an installer file that will install everything into your computer. The application can be installed in PCs with Windows 95 OS or higher.
After the installation, the next thing to do is to input into the application elevation data. The accepted formats include GTOPO30, SRTM and DTED that can all be freely downloaded. GTOPO30 is a digital elevation model for the world with 30-arc second resolution developed by the United States Geological Survey (USGS). SRTM and DTED are also elevation data that are both available from the the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA).
Providing elevation data to Radio Mobile can either be done automatically or manually. By default, it will automatically obtain from the internet elevation data if it is not found in your PC. You can also download the data into your local drive and let the Radio Mobile work from it when you are offline. There is a “use only local files” setting in the internet options of the application.
When the elevation data is already available for the application, you can now generate the map of a desired area where you will plot your predicted RF coverage plot.
One good feature of Radio Mobile I appreciated is the generated map can be merged with other map images like MapQuest and MapPoint. This provides important location data like country, city or street names and also enhances the overall look of the coverage plot.
After the desired map is generated, you now have to input several data like RF equipment parameters, antenna data and even environmental data like ground conductivity and climate. When all required parameters are provided, the desired RF coverage plot can already be calculated. These calculations can be from simple amateur radio base station propagation coverages, to wi-fi networks or to more complex digital TV coverage predictions. Another very useful application of Radio Mobile is for point-to-point microwave link calculations. With this feature, one can see the path profile of the radio link and check on the Fresnel zone between transmit and receive points.
I have tried using Radio Mobile in verifying the actual coverage of our in-house analog trunked radio system. I also have used it in designing the initial phase of our new TETRA digital radio system and the first site of our planned digital TV system. I am currently writing an article on a sample work using Radio Mobile which I will post very soon.
There is a Yahoo! Discussion Group for Radio Mobile where one can find tips and support from other users. Inquiries regarding the software can also be directly sent to the author Mr. Roger Coudé.