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The CC1120 is a Sub-GHz RF Transceiver from TI.

Things to investigate:

  • wake-up/sniff mode
  • antennas - helical, 868 "big white ones", 173MHz
  • collision avoidance/detection
  • good integration into a 6LowPan stack
  • matching antenna to ice/snow
  • our own "kidney boards" - tuning? using..
  • range tests, packet loss tests

Technical Details:

  • +16dBm max output power
  • -123dBm receiver sensitivity (-110dBm @ 50kbps)
  • 169/315/433/868/915/920/950 MHz ISM/SRD Bands
  • Data rates up to 200kbps
  • QFN32 package
  • Reference PCBs use a 4-layer design.
  • 169MHz and 868MHz variants use the same PCB layout and Schematic, just different component values.
  • Datasheet: CC1120 Datasheet
  • CC1125 looks to be a good alternative with same specs except higher receive sensitivity (-129dBm)

More Technical Details:

  • The state of the radio can be obtained by reading the status byte when any command strobe is sent. This means a quick way to read the status is to send a SNOP.


As of May 2014 there are two errata that apply to the CC1120:

  • Parts with a PARTVERSION equal to 0x21 can fail on automatic calibration. A work-around, by performing two "manual" calibrations, is presented in the CC1120 errata.
  • SYNC Mode 110 and 111 result in an extra bit being transmitted (17-bits rather than 16-bits). The work around is to use SYNC Mode 111 to transmit 16-bit long sync words.

Further bugs have been discovered with the way the CC1120 interacts with different micro controllers.

  • On the Zolertia Z1 (MSP430 F2617T), burst access to the TX FIFO results in the CC1120 only responding with the status byte to all reads, writes and strobes. The workaround is to use non-burst access to write to the TX FIFO however this significantly increases the amount of SPI traffic.