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Advanced Spectrum Monitoring


OBJECTIVE: The contractor shall develop a methodology and system to reliably characterize the RF spectrum in an area and provide the data in real-time to a central control over bandwidth limited communications channels. DESCRIPTION: Background: The Electronic Proving Ground (EPG) and the Intelligence Electronic Warfare Test Directorate (IEWTD) are Developmental and Operational Testers for tactical electronic warfare systems, tactical communications, and large radio frequency (RF) networks. These systems are expected to be able to operate effectively in a very dense and complex RF Environments. Much of this testing is performed on open air ranges and the RF environment must be documented during these tests. In our testing we often are tasked to generate a tailored Electromagnetic Environment (EME) specific to the area of interest for the System Under Test (SUT) or to play out a specific operational scenario. Some scenarios are so specific that a set of signals and protocols must be transmitted in the correct sequence with the exact content in order to test an SUT. These special signal sets may be transmitted with additional environment signals or they may be in a more benign environment. Often spectrum analyzers are set up adjacent to each SUT to record the spectrum that it experienced and comparisons are made post test to see if all the primary/target signals were available and not interfered with to evaluate the performance of the SUT. Obviously a more efficient way of testing is needed as this has become more laborious as the spectrum becomes more crowed and complex. Also the RF spectrum is continuously monitored on our test ranges to maintain documentation of our test environment and detect encroachment of unauthorized or out of limit users. Current wide bandwidth digital systems The problem with spectrum analyzers is that they are scanning devices and can miss short duration signals. Also they will report every noise spike above a threshold and miss any low amplitude signal below it. They will report continuous signals over and over scan after scan. Many of the SUT"s will be set up at arbitrary locations without dedicated communications infrastructure and to have a real-time data stream from the spectrum analyzer would require a significant bandwidth for the amount of data being provided. Thus most of the time data is recorded and processed after the test day is over. Some wide bandwidth digital systems can approach this capability but cost approximately $500K per site, are very complex, and not ruggedized to survive the field test environment. Description: The goal of this project is to develop methodology and instrumentation to improve overall RF spectrum surveillance (detection) and reconnaissance (signal exploitation) performance in tactical settings with innovative and adaptive architectures that are reliable, low cost, and have very high probability of intercept performance. The system should recognize that spectral signal density is a relative parameter and consistently adapt the surveillance resources to this changing signal space. This will include sampling techniques and spectral bandwidths better matched to the actual incident signal environment and without degradation to the surveillance performance. With better architectures, the reconnaissance performance effort in recovering signal internals will achieve high performance capabilities with similar reductions in data transmit bandwidth. PHASE I: Identify adaptable, high performance surveillance and reconnaissance receiving system architectures that provide quantifiable improvements to the performance obtainable within an existing RF data link while maintaining a high probability of intercept. Propose low-cost means to implement the adaptive architectures and obtain high performance surveillance and reconnaissance data and transport it across the existing RF link, typically a form of 802.11. Propose a path to produce a rugged, survivable, field system and an estimated cost to produce the system in small runs of 10 units and the potential of 50 units. PHASE II: Develop the selected approach on a full VHF/UHF spectral band using prototype low-cost receiving systems with adaptable spectral data collection means and methods. Use the EPG range as the surveillance and reconnaissance target and the current bandlimited RF links to document an improved capability. Baseline the existing performance and compare with that obtained with newer prototype, low cost surveillance and reconnaissance receiving systems over the same existing RF links. A significant cost performance ratio is expected to make this an attractive commercial product. Refine estimated costs for production runs of 10 and 50 units. PHASE III: The intention for Phase III is to procure a production ready capability based upon the successful demonstration of Phase II. The form of this capability is unknown at this time but expected to be readily adaptable to existing RF monitoring systems and current EPG test operations. There will be many other Government customers for this technology to increase the fidelity and reduce the cost of their own range spectrum monitoring, also for use with military electronic surveillance systems. Commercial applications for this technology would include broadband spectrum monitoring and receiving systems. REFERENCES: [1]"Chicago Spectrum Occupancy Measurements & Analysis and a Long-term Studies Proposal", Mark A. McHenry, Peter A. Tenhula, Dan McCloskey, Dennis A. Roberson, Cynthia S. Hood; Paper [2]"Lessons Learned from an Extensive Spectrum Occupancy Measurement Campaign and a Stochastic Duty Cycle Model", Matthias Wellens and Petri Mahonen, Paper [3]"Evaluation of Spectrum Occupancy in Indoor and Outdoor Scenario in the Context of Cognitive Radio", Matthias Wellens, Jin Wu and Petri Mahonen, Paper
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