RFM69HCW Wireless Transceiver - 915MHz

This is the 915MHz base RFM69HCW Wireless Transceiver that is found on our RFM69 Breakout. The RFM69HCW is an inexpensive and versatile radio module that operates in the unlicensed ISM (Industry, Science and Medicine) band, a set of frequencies set aside for low-power, short-range, license-free radios. It’s perfect for building inexpensive short-range wireless networks of sensors and actuators for home automation, citizen science and more.

This RFM69HCW module operates on the 915MHz frequency and is capable of transmitting at up to 100mW and up to 300kbps, but you can change both of those values to fit your application. For example, you can maximize range by increasing the transmit power and reducing the data rate, or you can reduce both for short-range sensor networks that sip battery power. At full power and with simple wire antennas, we can get messages from one side of a large office building to the other through numerous internal walls. In open air you can reach 500 meters or more. With more complex antennas and modulation schemes, similar parts have successfully transmitted from space to the ground (by very smart amateur radio enthusiasts; your mileage may vary)!

The RFM69HCW uses an SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) to communicate with a host microcontroller, and several good Arduino libraries are available. It supports up to 256 networks of 255 nodes per network, features AES encryption to keep your data private, and transmits data packets up to 66 bytes long.

SparkFun sells two versions of the RFM69HCW: this 915MHz version and a 434MHz version. Although the ISM band is license-free, the band itself is different in different areas. Very roughly, 915MHz is for use in the Americas, and the 434MHz version is for use in Europe, Asia and Africa. Check your local regulations for other areas.

  • +20 dBm - 100 mW Power Output Capability
  • High Sensitivity: down to -120 dBm at 1.2 kbps
  • High Selectivity: 16-tap FIR Channel Filter
  • Bullet-proof front end: IIP3 = -18 dBm, IIP2 = +35 dBm,80 dB Blocking Immunity, no Image Frequency response
  • Low current: Rx = 16 mA, 100nA register retention
  • Programmable Pout: -18 to +20 dBm in 1dB steps
  • Constant RF performance over voltage range of module
  • FSK Bit rates up to 300 kb/s
  • Fully integrated synthesizer with a resolution of 61 Hz
  • FSK, GFSK, MSK, GMSK and OOK modulations
  • Built-in Bit Synchronizer performing Clock Recovery
  • Incoming Sync Word Recognition
  • 115 dB+ Dynamic Range RSSI
  • Automatic RF Sense with ultra-fast AFC
  • Packet engine with CRC-16, AES-128, 66-byte FIFO
  • Built-in temperature sensor

RFM69HCW Wireless Transceiver - 915MHz Product Help and Resources

How to Build a Remote Kill Switch

May 31, 2016

Learn how to build a wireless controller to kill power when things go... sentient.

RFM69HCW Hookup Guide

April 29, 2016

The RFM69HCW is an inexpensive transceiver that you can use to create all kinds of wireless projects. This tutorial will help you get started.

SparkFun SAMD21 Pro RF Hookup Guide

October 4, 2018

Using the super blazing, nay blinding, fast SAMD21 whipping clock cycles at 48MHz and the RFM96 module to connect to the Things Network (and other Radio woodles).

Core Skill: Soldering

This skill defines how difficult the soldering is on a particular product. It might be a couple simple solder joints, or require special reflow tools.

3 Soldering

Skill Level: Competent - You will encounter surface mount components and basic SMD soldering techniques are required.
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Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

2 Programming

Skill Level: Rookie - You will need a better fundamental understand of what code is, and how it works. You will be using beginner-level software and development tools like Arduino. You will be dealing directly with code, but numerous examples and libraries are available. Sensors or shields will communicate with serial or TTL.
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Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

3 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Competent - You will be required to reference a datasheet or schematic to know how to use a component. Your knowledge of a datasheet will only require basic features like power requirements, pinouts, or communications type. Also, you may need a power supply that?s greater than 12V or more than 1A worth of current.
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Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #1609045 / about 4 years ago / 1

    is it possible to get up to 2km (open field, just low biuldings and some animals) 5kbps bidirectional comunication?

    • santaimpersonator / about 4 years ago / 1

      Hi there, it sounds like you are looking for technical assistance. Please use the link in the banner above, to get started with posting a topic in our forums. Our technical support team will do their best to assist you.

      That being said, you can find the datasheet for this transceiver under the Documents tab (just below the product pricing). Unfortunately, we don't provide link budget calculations for customers, as there are too many variables to consider. However, you can find more information online on that topic.

  • Member #1549475 / about 5 years ago / 1

    Is it possible to boost the range, (like, with a longer antenna) so that its like, a mile?

  • Member #646529 / about 5 years ago / 1

    Any chance I can run a stepper driver with this? Just two wires, one step, one direction? Or do I need a microcontroller on the receiving end, or two of these, one for each channel? Thx.

  • Member #900260 / about 7 years ago / 1

    I bought RFM69HCW Wireless Transceiver - 915MHz module. Can I use it for 868MHz also?

  • Sofia / about 7 years ago / 1

    Would this be good for a three part wireless setup? I don't want to go into any details as of yet, but it will be three separate parts that all operate together to achieve one outcome & they need to be separate but close together.

  • philfromseattle / about 8 years ago / 1

    How does this differ from product 12775? https://www.sparkfun.com/products/12775 It would be good let people know why it's worth the extra $5/

    • This product is the module alone. WRL-12775 is the breakout board, which breaks out the pins and is essentially a head-start on some of the common design problem-solving. Utility of the module versus the breakout board can vary project to project.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5

Based on 4 ratings:

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2 of 2 found this helpful:

amazing range

finally got this thing to work after finding out the default "sync" values are zero and will not work. then it only had a 10 meter range, until I figured out the default power values on the HCW don't turn on the power amps. Turned them on, and WOW, got the default 4.8kbps signal almost a 1/4 mile with buildings and cars between radios. I was impressed for $5.

1 of 2 found this helpful:

Works like a charm.

Unlike the RFM22B that needs a breakout board, save that $5 and get this without one. I ask Sparkfun for one on that one and was told no.

Easy to solder 22g wire. put 4 wires in BB for corners to start. Feed rest through and solder it up. Then trim.

Both Radio Head and RFM69-master libraries work great. Sparkfuns "hello world" demo is a great starting point.

I now own and use 10 of these. Great price/value.

Get a promini 3.3 and save yourself the headache of level shifters. A decent BOB would have deal with 5V logic on the board. Duh!

Works Beautifully w Sparkfun RP2040 Pro Micro and Micropython!

Well, it took me about a week to get an RFM69 library working for micropython (I couldn't find any for micropython that worked on 1.15...). Not this board's fault, just very little out there. My goal is purely local private net, so I haven't tried connecting w lorawan, but my understanding is this is not compatible. No serious issues w hardware, but do note that if you plan to use perma-proto boards to build your systems, as I do, you will need adapter boards, pin spacing is not .1" Great little board, and 1/2 the price of the RFM95. If you need a micropython driver, ping me or post a followup and I'll prioritize cleanup of the driver and upload to github.

cheap and easy wireless com

I'm using this along with the plainRFM69 library in a laser tag project and it has enabled me to create my own custom node network. I've implemented message forwarding/hopping, an RSSI based radar system, and node recovery when something drops out. It's really awesome https://github.com/iwanders/plainRFM69 https://hackaday.io/project/182841-ltto-hack