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Managing the congested RF spectrum across frequency, geography, and time is critical to ensure effective communications. Systems exist for producing radio frequency maps through the use of a constellation of communication satellites. These systems can provide the information necessary for re-allocating user terminal RF channels, eliminating the effects of undesirable signals from desirable user transmission signals, and reducing the power required by the user transmitter to effectively communicate. Such satellite-based systems use low Earth orbit satellites that communicate through terrestrial gateways. However, these satellite systems have certain geo-spatial and time-efficiency limitations depending upon the number and location of available satellites.
To address time and location issues connected to the use of satellites and to provide richer data from a terrestrial application, Navy researchers have developed a ground-deployable RF surveillance system. The system utilizes an electronic projectile containing a balloon and electronics payload launched from a hand-held unit. The payload is outfitted with transceiver instruments to detect sources of radio frequency transmissions within a defined geographic area. Upon reaching a particular height, the balloon and instrumentation is deployed from the projectile. After deployment, balloon elevation may be selected with a remotely controlled helium or hydrogen canister which provides lift. Multiple electronic projectiles and balloons may be utilized to expand the desired geographic area of coverage.
Once deployed, the system can detect, track, relay, or interfere with RF signals in an operational environment. The transceiver located on the balloon sends an RF signal to a mobile ground-based operator station. The relay contains data including location, detection signal, timestamp, duration frequency, and thumbprint. A ground-station unit places the information on a digital map.
This unique system allows an individual to use a small amount of mobile equipment to triangulate and manipulate RF signals. It can also provide video or audio feeds of the area, jam signals, or inject RF “noise” to interrupt communication. It could be used by soldiers, rescue workers, or a telecommunications technician, depending upon its particular application.
- RF mapping and signal relay for areas with no infrastructure
- Provides video and audio reconnaissance
- US patents 8,055,206; 8,001,901; 8,215,236; and 8,001,902 available for license
- Potential for collaboration with Navy researchers