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CC1120EMK-420-470: Nanosatellite application

Part Number: CC1120EMK-420-470
Other Parts Discussed in Thread: CC1120, CC1175, CC1310, CC1125

Hi Team,

Our customer is considering the CC1120EM-420-470-RD for nanosatellite application and has some inquiries as follows:

Does the chip CC1120EM-420-470-RD can transmit data between nanosatellites to ground stations the distance between them is up to 400km with band frequency UHF from uplink and vhf of the downlink

  • If yes, can add a bloc of amplifier signal between the chip CC1120EM-420-470-RD and antenna to achieve that the signal can propagate a long distance of 400km
  • If yes, can use the transmitter and receiver with mode half duplex with a data rate is 4000kps?
  • If yes, is better to add two blocs in the design of my own board once from the transceiver(CC1120EM-420-470-RD ) and the second from the receiver (CC1120EM-420-470-RD ) or use only once that can transmit and receiver in mode half duplex?
  • Which kind of modulation should be used from carried data up to 400km?
  • how can design and choose the right antenna for CC1120EM-420-470-RD that can transmit data up to 400km?
  • which better to put in my own board of antenna  SMA antenna or PCB antenna?

please send any documents from my questions and thank you for helping 



  • Hi Danilo,

    From the information I can find, the CC1120 has been successfully used in other satellite designs.

      1. The customer can use this tool to estimate range: RF Range Estimator:
      2. A Front End Module (FEM) can be used to extend the range of the CC1120. In the frequency band(s) proposed here, the reference design

        CC1120 Skyworks EM 30 dBm 169 MHz (SWRR111): is an example. Other reference designs are available on the CC1120 page.

      3. Please also see SWRA398 (CC112x/CC1175/CC120x Operation in 274-320 MHz Frequency Band):
    1. The maximum data rate for the CC1120 is 200 kbps, from the CC1120 Datasheet: - the CC1310 SoC has a patch allowing data rates of up to 4000 kbps but the customer would need to evaluate their link budget to see if the range would be feasible.
    2. The CC1120 is capable of half-duplex so only one device should be needed for this (based on the information provided).
    3. The App Note SWRA479 (Achieving Optimum Radio Range): will be helpful here.
    4. SWRA161 (AN058 – Antenna Selection Guide): gives comprehensive information on antenna selection.

    We recommend that the customer becomes familiar with the documentation provided above in the first instance as it should answer the questions in this thread. 

    Please also note that our transceivers are not radiation hardened.


  • Hi Zack,

    Thank you for this information. Our customer has a follow up question below.

    Do you have the source where I can find what you mentioned about using CC1120 in other satellite design



  • This is only a brief search, but :

    There are also other TI Wireless Connectivity radios that have been used in CubeSat projects.

    There is a list detailing the radio section(s) of various CubeSat projects from 2003-2018 here (search "CC" to find the TI products used in these satellites, I counted 20+ TI CC radios used in various capacities): 



  • Hi Zack,

    Our customer has follow up inquiries below.

    Thank you for your responses, so I have the last inquiry
    1. From the schematic you send me "the frequency band(s) proposed here, the reference design CC1120 Skyworks EM 30 dBm 169 MHz (SWRR111)" I need a document of Skyworks with a frequency UHF is 433MHz,450MHz, or 470MHz.
    2. Please can you send me the test result of the Skyworks example
    3. I need a reference of circuit flash memory that can connect with STM32L431RCTx
    4. Can use CC1125 as the receiver? please send me an example that can work as receiver



    1. We do not have a reference design with that specific combination. What the customer will need to do is combine:
      1. The 420-470 MHz design CC112xEM_420_470 (SWRR221): with:
      2. A suitable FEM such as the SKY66115-11 (
      3. The customer will need to look at the SKY66115-11 datasheet for the required matching. The SMA output of the SWRR221 design is matched to a 50 Ohm impedance so it should be fairly straightfoward to interface the FEM and CC1120 designs. There is also the CC1310EM-SKY66115-4051 (SWRC334): reference design that they can use as guidance.
    2. Answered above.
    3. Asking internally, I am not aware that TI sells flash memory. As of the time of writing, our Wireless Connectivity LaunchPads typically use the MX25R8035FZUIL0. I would recommend asking in another E2E forum for this question.
    4. The CC1125 is a narrowband version of the CC1120, see:
      So, whether it is more suitable or not depends on their application requirements. The customer can use the same reference design SWRR221 as above for 420-470 MHz operation.



  • Hi ZC,

    Good day. I have a follow-up question,

    The customer is using "cc1125" for this application. they used UHF 433MHz for downlink and 144 MHz for UPLINK 

    Would it be better to use two chips, one for Transceiver and another for the Receiver? or use only one that can work with the mode transceiver and receiver half duplex to avoid interference between the signals? if yes how can they work this chip with VHF and UHF configure the band of frequency?

    In addition, is there an application note about designing RF circuits on PCB available that we can share? 

    Thank you.



  • We have not tested a design with this configuration:

    • You would need separate FEMs for TX/RX (uplink/downlink) due to the different frequency bands.
    • Use the TX path of the CC1120 Skyworks EM 30 dBm 169 MHz (SWRR111): design.
    • Use the RX path of the CC112xEM_420_470 (SWRR221): with the SKY66115-11 FEM (or similar).
    • The customer would need to connect the TRX pin as in the 169 MHz design (SWRR111). The RX network would then use the SWRR221 design (with an added FEM) but without the TX network (or L/C network attached to the RTX_SW pin).
    • Adding an RF switch before the antennas would then be recommended to provide isolation of the TX/RX paths.
    • We would also add a footprint for SAW filters on the TX and RX paths in case testing reveals that extra filtering is needed (allowing them to be bypassed if not needed).

    If a half-duplex design is acceptable then the above steps would be necessary. Otherwise the customer can use two chips, using SWRR111 (with the RX path removed) and SWRR221 (with a FEM and the TX path removed). The customer needs to decide themselves which design is more feasible for them.

    To configure the device the customer needs to look at:

    For PCB design guidelines: