User talk:Duggabe

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Tech writing presentation[edit]

This is a DRAFT.


  • GNU Radio Main Page
  • A Newbie's Guide to the GNU Radio Universe


  • Amateur radio operator since 1953
  • Electrical Engineering degree 1961
  • Computer programmer since 1962
  • Retired 2003
  • Started working on GNU Radio 2019

What is GNU Radio[edit]

GNU Radio is a free and open-source software development toolkit that provides Digital Signal Processing blocks to implement Software Defined Radios. It is an entirely volunteer organization with contributors from all over the world.

Why did I get involved?[edit]

I discovered GNU Radio when reading an amateur radio manual. I thought it was a fascinating concept to use software instead of hardware to create a radio. After reading the "discuss-gnuradio" mailing list for a while, I noticed a recurring topic of "GNU Radio documentation is terrible". Looking at it, I had to agree, and decided to do something about it.

Learn by Doing[edit]

  • When I got involved, the switch to using a Wiki was new. Many of the blocks were just skeletons with no real content. For example, is yet to be documented after more than four years.
    • I had to learn to use MediaWiki.
    • I had to learn what a block did before I could write about it!
    • After the first year of working on them, I had done over 150 blocks and written or updated about 10 tutorials.

Help others to Learn[edit]

I have found that the best way to learn about a technical subject is to study a turorial about it. However, there were very few tutorials, and the ones which existed were out of date because of newer software releases of GNU Radio.

Adopting a Style[edit]

It was rather surprising to me that there was no formal guidance for the style of the Block Docs or for tutorials. As I started working on the Block Docs, I derived a skeleton format which covered all of the items I found in various blocks. That gave a consistent layout from one block to the next. I also got some guidance from my mentor at GNU Radio based on unwritten expectations of how a block should be documented.

For the Tutorials, there was much more latitude to create / use my own style. My basic approach was to write for a beginner with only the Prerequisites as a background. Other than that, I used an "Assume nothing" approach.

Some examples[edit]

One of my more popular tutorials is Along with that, I wrote the Block Doc for the which is the key block in generating the FSK signal.

In doing my work on the documentation, I wanted to make sure that what I wrote actually worked. So for each of my blocks and example flowgraphs, I created and tested them before I published them. For several of them, I created a complete working system using SDR hardware to operate with an amateur radio station. For example, implements an amateur radioteletype station.