Thanks to Aniket and Mandar, we will get a data acquisition card interfaced to a PC by next semester.
All the card does, is to accept AC voltages of 250 KHz bandwidth, digitize it (2-bit ADC) and sample it at Nyquist rate (500 KHz). Four samples (2x4 bits = 1 byte) are then packed together on the fly to form one byte. The resultant one-byte is stored on a PC for processing. So, the pipeline looks as below
--- signal ---- >>-- ADC -->>--Linux PC-->>- FILE
(0.5 V AC________3-level____bit packing
0.25 MHz band)___2-bit_________program
ADC has two comparators (NE 521 ?). Depending upon the input, one of the the following 00 (-2), 01 (-1), 10 (+1), 11 (+2) is the output of the ADC.
The sampler signal of 0.5 MHz samples the ADC output voltages. Four of the samples are fed to the acquisition card through data cables.
The data rates are slow, 500 k Bytes per second. Given the modern computer disk rates, it is possible to sustain a on-the-fly bit packing program in PC. The program accepts 4 bytes, and based on a precalculated table, stores corresponding 1-byte output onto a file.