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Experimental Radio Applications at the FCC

This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during June and July 2011. These are related to AM broadcasting, cognitive radio, land vehicle testing, ultra-wideband, ground penetrating radar, synthetic aperture radar, LTE, autonomous aerial refueling, SONAR telemetry, surveillance radar, wind-farm obstruction lighting, seismic activity detection, directed energy weapons, unmanned helicopter flights, precision electronic warfare, shaped-offset QPSK, Ku-band antennas, TV white space, and missile telemetry. The descriptions are sorted by frequency.

Gerald Whitney filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to test a prototype AM broadcast transmitter system covering 2-16 MHz at a carrier power of 1 kW. The system, part of a U.S. Department of Defense project, includes a frequency-agile transmitter, antenna tuning unit, and antenna. Testing will be done in Victor, New York.

Curtis-Wright Controls filed an application with exhibit for special temporary authority to demonstrate its 3d-Radar brand of ultra-wideband ground penetrating radar (GPR) for prospective non-federal customers as it awaits expected FCC grant of its Part 15 waiver request for the device. Operation will take place at various locations in the U.S. on 140-3000 MHz, with frequency notching to preclude transmissions in the bands 608-614 MHz, 1400-1427 MHz, 1660.5-1668.4 MHz, and 2690-2700 MHz, in accordance with an NTIA authorization. The company filed its Part 15 waiver request with the FCC in June 2010 seeking authorization to operate the device for non-federal use (ET Doc. No. 10-167). The company understands the FCC’s Office of Engineering and Technology is working on an order that would permit non-federal use of the device. The company notes that NTIA, with FCC coordination, has already approved the use of the device for federal use on a nationwide basis.

Carlson Wireless Technologies filed an application with exhibit for special temporary authority to test voice and data connections among multiple Chevron Oil oil-field facilities using TV white space frequencies. Test results will be compared to the performance of a current 900 MHz system. Operation will be at several California locations in the 174-216 MHz and 470-698 MHz bands.

Southern Methodist University filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to operate a cognitive radio testbed. The testbed is backed by a National Science Foundation grant.  Operation will be on several frequency bands between 400 MHz and 6100 MHz in the Dallas area. The testbed will be used to study wireless performance in mobile and stationary environments. Featured in the testbed is real-time multi-band operation, which can be used to aid design of context-aware and cognitive algorithms that use multiple frequency bands to adapt to dynamic environmental conditions. One goal of the research is to develop an open-access database of wireless performance in multiple scenarios.

L3 Nova Engineering filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to demonstrate a seismic activity sensor network. Testing will take place in Great Falls, Virginia on 420-440 MHz.

Sierra Nevada Corp. filed an application for special temporary authority to test equipment that will facilitate formation flight between two aircraft. This supports DARPA’s Global Hawk autonomous aerial refueling demonstration program that is intended to accomplish the first-ever fully autonomous rendezvous, refueling, and formation flying of two unmanned aircraft. Each node of the system consists of a GPS receiver, processor, and other equipment including the UHF data link that is the subject of this application; one node would transmit data to the other such that the receiving node would be able to calculate its position and orientation relative to the transmitting node. The testing will take place in Salt Lake City, Utah on 420.25-426.60 MHz.

Raytheon BBN Technologies filed an application for special temporary authority test distributed-transmit beamforming using RF modules developed under DARPA’s Precision Electronic Warfare (PREW) program. “Specifically, BBN Technologies seeks to demonstrate the capability to synchronize clocks from up to 10 RF modules remotely using UHF band frequencies, and project RF energy at specified frequencies that results in the coherent combining of focused power within a small geographic area of interest using the these radios to enable high data rate transmissions and longer ranges.” According to DARPA, “the goal of the Precision Electronic Warfare (PREW) program is to demonstrate technologies and a prototype system that will enable the fielding of an ad hoc sparse array consisting of multiple airborne and/or ground nodes that can perform surgical jamming. The PREW system should be able to project RF energy that results in the coherent combining of focused power within a small geographic area of interest (AOI). When operating outside the AOI, the system must minimize the coherency of the RF energy to limit the impact to collateral systems.” Testing will occur at Sky Meadow State Park, Delaplane, Virginia on 437-493 MHz, 877-953 MHz, and 2400-2480 MHz.

Airvana filed an application with exhibit for experimental license to develop and test prototype LTE infrastructure equipment on 698-716 MHz, 728-757 MHz, 776-787 MHz, 806-824, MHz, 851-869 MHz, 1910-1915 MHz, and 1990-1995 MHz. Airvana says it will evaluate handoff performance among sectors, network capacity, quality of service, multi-path performance, average data rates, and interference performance. The testing is to take place nationwide.

Lockheed Martin filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to conduct testing in support of the Extended Area Protection System (EAPS) missile test program under sponsorship of the U.S. Army. The EAPS interceptor is a small ground-launched missile system under development as a performance demonstration program of hit-to-kill technology. The hardware requiring licensing consists of two systems. The first is the telemetry system providing downlink of flight telemetry data from the interceptor to a launch control trailer. The second is the unmanned ground system that provides uplink of flight control data from the launcher control trailer to the interceptor. Testing will take place in Texas on 2270.5, 2280.5, 2281.5, 4401.5, 4410.5, and 4411.5 MHz.

Bell Helicopter Textron filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to conduct testing and development in support of eventual unmanned helicopter flights. Testing will take place in the vicinity of Arlington, Texas on 2282.50 MHz.

Teletronics Technology Corp. filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to test a new transceiver with both OFDM and burst-mode shaped-offset QPSK (SOQPSK). The transceivers are said to provide “maximum transmission and reception distance under harsh environmental conditions.” Operation will be in the vicinity of Newtown, Pennsylvania on 2360-2390 MHz.

North American Eagle, a project testing the capability of a land-based vehicle to safely transition through supersonic speed, filed an application and exhibits for experimental license to operate a Wi-Fi network consisting of five Tropos model 7320 mesh routers mounted on eight-meter towers and one Tropos model 4310 mobile-mesh router mounted in the vehicle’s nose cone. Video and vehicle operational data will be sent to the base stations. Operation is to take place on dry lake beds near Black Rock, Nevada and Diamond Valley, Nevada on 2400-2483MHz (for data) and 5725-5850 MHz (for video). Transmitter output power will be 30 watts. (Wi-Fi at 800 MPH will be a challenge.)

Raytheon filed an application with exhibit for special temporary authority to test a critical-infrastructure-protection radars system. The system uses a 90-degree-quadrant staring radar with moving target indication designed for perimeter intrusion detection applications around secure facilities such as airports, seaports, utilities and other critical infrastructure. The system is based on Raytheon’s SR1500 Short-Range radar, which is under development. The plan is to deploy a network of low-power, short range (1.5 km) radars at fixed locations around critical infrastructure sites of the Port Authority for New York and New Jersey to provide perimeter security. An Ethernet-based network provides communication between multiple radar and electro-optic sensors. Testing will take place at various locations around New York City on 3100-3500 MHz.

L3 Communications filed an application and exhibits for special temporary authority to test a SONAR telemetry transmission system for military use. The system would send SONAR data from a small boat at a rate of 10 Mbps. The link will also carry video from cameras on the boat to allow operators to confirm normal operation of the hardware. The SONAR data and video will be transmitted to a larger manned ship at a range of a few miles. Testing will take place on the Pacific Ocean, between San Pedro and Catalina Island, in the bands 5200-5679 MHz and 5689-5800 MHz.

Laufer Wind Group filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to conduct tests in connection with the development of a radar-activated FAA obstruction lighting system for wind farms. Testing will take place in New York and New Hampshire on 9380-9440 MHz.

Lockheed Martin filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to evaluate Ku-band satellite technology for high-data-rate communication to helicopters. It intends to test ViaSat’s proprietary technology said to maintain the flow of data transmission in the presence of momentary path blockage from rotor blades. Test antennas will be mounted on stands underneath the rotor blades. Testing will be in Owego, New York on 14.0-14.5 GHz.

Raytheon filed an application with exhibit for special temporary authority to test a radar system for mobile surveillance system based on the DRS MSTAR commercial-off-the-shelf radar. The radar, in conjunction with electro-optical/infrared cameras, is intended for use in monitoring international borders. Testing will take place near McKinney, Texas on 16.75-17.25 GHz.

General Dynamics filed an application with exhibit for experimental license to operate an airborne radar system in support of ground imaging research using synthetic aperture radar techniques. Separate transmit and receive antennas would be mounted to a rotational pedestal on the underside of an aircraft. The gain of the antennas is 40 dB at 94 GHz, and they have a 1.5 degree half-power beamwidth in both the azimuth and elevation planes. The radar will use a pulsed linear-FM chirp waveform, centered at 94 GHz with a bandwidth of 600 MHz. The width of the waveform pulse will be approximately 20 microseconds and operate at a pulse repetition frequency of approximately 10 kHz. Peak ERP will be 5,000 Watts. Operation will be in the vicinity of Ypsilanti, Michigan.

Ducommun LaBarge Technologies filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to test its model SG-DDR50 security system, a directed-energy weapon that uses millimeter-wavelength energy to “stop, deter, turn back, and otherwise discourage a trespasser, thief, or belligerent and threatening person at relatively long distances.” “The system consists of an electrical power source, a device producing millimeter wavelength electromagnetic energy, an energy director projecting a narrow energy beam towards a target, and mounting and connecting equipment.” “The SG-DDR50 uses the susceptibility of skin nerve endings to millimeter-wavelength electromagnetic energy to report a sensation of intense undesirable heat on the skin of the person in the energy beam, all while doing no harm.” “The purpose of the experimental license is to align the system to operational specifications using infrared imaging of patterns on a sensitive carbon impregnated teflon [sic] target . . ..” Testing will occur in Huntsville, Arkansas on 94.5-95.0 GHz. Transmitter power and ERP are both specified as 800 Watts on the FCC application form. According to the applicant, “[t]he nature of this test configuration does not lend itself to be characterized by traditional measures, such as ERP, ERIP, Peak Power, and the like.”

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