Since Espressif released the ESP32-Cx series of RISC-V-based microcontrollers, they’ve been steadily increasing in popularity and lifting the banner of RISC-V along with them. The ESP32-Sx series isn’t going anywhere, but if you’ve wanted to hack on the new open architecture, the OKD Bee and the OKD Nova are affordable and easy to use!
Both boards have great quick-start pages (like this one for the OKD Nova) that show you how to get started using the Arduino IDE. The quick start guides also include excellent high-resolution images with the board pinouts, as well as information about the chip configuration, number of GPIO, etc. The RISC-V processor is part of an open architecture, so you can also quickly get started using open-source toolchains like MDK or Espressif’s own ESP-IDF. The ESP32-C3 also supports using PlatformIO, which integrates into VSCode and enables a full GUI debugging environment.
Note that both boards require external antennas; any 2.4GHz U.FL antenna will do. The nice thing about having an external antenna connector is flexibility in antenna choice; you can buy a bigger, high-gain antenna to get more range or get a tiny adhesive-backed flexible antenna to use inside a small enclosure. You can even find some enclosures on Tindie that have integrated U.FL to SMA connectors!
If you’ve ever wanted to play around with RISC-V and simultaneously tap into one of the most cost-effective wireless microcontroller platforms around, these boards are an excellent choice!