Experimental radio applications at the FCC

This summarizes a selection of applications for the Experimental Radio Service received by the FCC during July and August, 2012. These are related to medium-frequency communications, meteor radar, space-to-space communications, UAV communications, synthetic aperture radar, TV white space, 600 MHz LTE, disaster communications, cellular content caching, GSM, passive intermodulation distortion, ultra-wideband, TDD, ground-mapping radar, Doppler radar, and ground surveillance radar.  The descriptions are sorted by the lowest frequency in the application.

  • John D. Langridge filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to operate on 465-478 kHz. “The goal is to study the feasibility of cost effective equipment development for a possible future amateur market.  A large amount of interest appears to exist within the amateur community. A significant number of experimental stations running significantly more power in this frequency range have been able to operate in this region without impact to primary users.” Operation will be in Duncanville, Texas.
  • Pennsylvania State University filed an application with exhibits for experimental license “to accomplish engineering and scientific research activity with two main goals: 1) Develop a prototype of next generation meteor radars with improved ability for deriving neutral winds, temperatures and individual meteor properties; 2) Develop a more accurate characterization of the global meteor flux and its effect on upper atmospheric physics. The proposed activities require the operation of a 50 MHz radar in Pennsylvania capable of observing at least two of three primary types of meteor reflection: 1) the commonly used specular meteor trails; 2) the recently understood non-specular trails, which result from plasma instability and turbulence generated field aligned irregularities (FAI); and 3) meteor head-echoes, which are a radar target moving at the speed of the meteoroid. Since the proposed system can detect and resolve in time and space at least two mechanisms, we can study the observation biases introduced by each technique.” Operation is to be at Pine Grove Mills, Pennsylvania on 49.80 and 49.92 MHz.
  • Universities Space Research Association filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to test the use of satellite phone constellations (i.e., Iridium, Orbcomm) to communicate with small satellites in low earth orbit. The special temporary authority would cover the use of two picosatellites (A cube 10 cm on a side) in low earth orbit. (The entire experiment will use three picosatellites, including one not communicating with the Orbcomm or Iridium systems.) Short-burst data modems will communicate to mission control using the Orbcomm and Iridium constellations. Nexus smartphones will be used for control of two of the satellites. Approval is pending; the FCC told the applicant that “since the request below involves space-to-space communications with the Iridium and Orbcomm satellites, both Iridium and Orbcomm would also need to be file STAs for their side of the communications link.”  Operation is to be on 148-150 and 1616-1626 MHz.
  • Boeing filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to “test and develop a narrowband voice and data range extension relay communications package for unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) applications. The communications relay package is installed on the unmanned aerial vehicle and will communicate with various radios on the ground.” This is related to the FCC’s Notice of Inquiry on Utilizing Rapidly Deployable Aerial Communications Architecture in Response to an Emergency (PS Docket No. 11-15). Operation will be on 150-155, 164, 167.8375, and 168.325 MHz with fixed operation at Huntington Beach, California, mobile operation at 15,000 feet above ground level at Camp Roberts, California, and mobile operation at 400 feet above ground level at Simi Valley, California.
  • USC Information Sciences Institute filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to to control and receive data from a university-built “CubeSatellite.” To be demonstrated, in particular, is a “1/2 meter deployable dish that is surface tracking by closing a 2.4 GHz link from ground to space to ground.” Operation will be from several locations in the U.S. on 437 and 2425 MHz.
  • Mirage Systems filed an application with exhibit for experimental license “to test and further develop new applications of its airborne synthetic aperture ground penetrating radar . . . across the bands 400-900 MHz and 1200-2000 MHz.” “For over 10 years, the Department of Defense has funded Mirage Systems in developing a radar that can image buried targets (landmines, IED’s, UXO, etc.) from an airborne platform.  Mirage is now considering utilizing this technology for gas and water pipeline mapping.  The technology is an enhancement to a standard Synthetic Aperture Radar, utilizing low frequencies in the UHF and L Bands, which can both penetrate the ground and still have enough resolution to eliminate false alarms and correlate surface features.” “The objective of this test is to verify the minimum amount of bandwidth required to maintain performance of the sensor (i.e. still able to resolve buried targets). Operation is requested for 500-2000 MHz in the vicinity of Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake at Noone, California.
  • MEOW Global Networks filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to “conduct research and experimentation using vacant spectrum in the television broadcast bands (the “TV white spaces”) for the testing of various modulation schemes and routing protocols for portable devices in TV white space. MEOW Global Networks’ mission is [to] provide hardware, software, and networking solutions for machine to machine communications over TV white spaces.” Operation will be in San Francisco and Mountain View, California on 518-524, 530-536, and 542-548 MHz.
  • Qualcomm filed an application with exhibit for experimental license. Qualcomm is conducting a “limited duration developer trial of up to 300 WWAN enabled (GSM, HSPA+, LTE) development ‘tablet’ form factor platforms.” The focus is on software development for next generation devices. Operation will be at various locations in the U.S. on 704-716, 824-849, 710-1755, and 1850-1910 MHz. This application is for the continuation of tests that have begun under a separate special temporary authority that will expire in October.
  • Landover Wireless Corp. filed an application with exhibits for experimental license to “evaluate and demonstrate LTE based wireless broadband communications equipment in the mid to upper portions of the 600 MHz RF Spectrum band.” Among the tests is “whether such equipment can co-exist with UHF television networks utilizing the ATSC standard.” Operation will be in Columbia, Missouri on 639-649 and 681-691 MHz.
  • Screened Images, Inc. filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to  “demonstrate the functionality of a Managed Access mobile radio communications system, which provides for the controlling and access of cellular communication within a correctional setting.” The demonstration is to take place at Avenal State Prison in Avenal, California on 869-894 and 1930-1990 MHz. A similar application was filed for a demonstration at South Mississippi Correctional Institution, North Leakesville, Mississippi.
  • TLC Solutions filed an application for special temporary authority to “test the communications portion of the Prepositioned Expeditionary Assistance Kit, a National Defense University government program.” The system “is intended to provide limited essential services in the immediate aftermath of a disaster event. The kit includes a hybrid power supply, water desalination, communications and situational awareness components. The communications component consists of a small cell phone system and a . . .  satellite comms unit. The cell phone system is a GSM pico cell that puts out 5W and is selected to operate in the 900 MHz band. Its not intended for use in the US. Rather, the system is designed for use in less developed countries, and only as a stop-gap measure with a 2-mile radius until the indigenous cell phone system comes back on line. The . . . system includes a scanning feature to select a part of the spectrum that is not being used locally. The operator selects the most appropriate 200 KHz-channels for transmit (between 925-960 MHz) and receive (880-915 MHz).” Testing is to take place in Starke, Florida on 884-885.2 and 929-930.2 MHz.
  • Intel filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to demonstrate “Edge Cloud applications for Smart Cells, showing the benefits of caching at the edge of the network for enhanced user experience.” The equipment is described as a “small cell base station with a fully integrated cloud computing platform. Smart cells combine a cellular/Wi-Fi small cell with a powerful communications-tuned computing platform based on Intel architecture. The two main hardware platforms contained in the Base Station are an Intel Architecture Processor and a Ubiquisys G3 WCDMA Radio module.” Operation is requested on 1920-1930 and 2110-2120 MHz in San Francisco.
  • Nicholas Burrows filed an application for special temporary authority to operate an experimental GSM network at the ToorCamp conference, which was held last month at Neah Bay, Washington. Operation was to be on 1958-1960 MHz.
  • L-3 Communications Datron Advanced Technologies Division filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority. L-3 says it builds TT&C S-Band communication antennas, and has been experiencing high passive intermodulation (PIM) distortion that causes transmit interference in the receive band. It wants to perform factory PIM testing at its location. “We will radiate a CW signal at 2120 MHz with the antenna pointed at zenith. We will radiate for only a few minutes at a time to measure our system PIM level in the 2200-2300 MHz receive band.” The application requests operation on 2025-2120 MHz in Simi Valley, California.
  • ManTech Advanced Systems International filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to evaluate “the performance of Through the Wall Sensors in laboratory and mobile operational environments and to investigate the use of these systems in law enforcement scenarios.” Operation is to take place at several locations in the U.S. on 2436-6097, 2495-6101, and 3101-3499 MHz.
  • Qualcomm filed an application with exhibit for experimental license to conduct testing of TDD technology. Operation will be at San Diego and Bridgewater, New Jersey on 2668-2690 MHz.
  • SRI International filed an application with exhibit for experimental license to test a ground-mapping radar. “The airborne radar is a custom X-band radar designed and built by SRI International.  The radar is intended to demonstrate radar processing algorithms. The radar consists of a low- power electronics unit, a custom-built transmitter, and directional antennas.” Testing is to take place in Ann Arbor, Michigan on 9200-10050 MHz. The application was filed in early July and is not yet approved; there have been some issues related to frequency coordination with the FAA.
  • DopplerTech filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority “to utilize its 2 company owned CW Doppler Radar’s (sic) in support of the U.S. Air Force KEP Warhead Test.” “The warhead is to be propelled down the …  test track on a rocket sled and then detonated at the end of the track. The DopplerTech Doppler radars will be positioned so as to collect …  data on the parts of the warhead and their associated velocity, drag coefficient, beta, and dispersion patterns.” Operation will be at Holloman Air Force Base in Alamogordo, New Mexico, on 10.0 and 10.1 GHz.
  • MITRE Corporation filed an application with exhibits for special temporary authority to test a new radar system it’s developing. “The radar is aircraft mounted and designed for ground moving target indications (MTI) to support ground surveillance needs of Department of Defense and other government agencies.” “The primary purpose of this testing is to collect airborne radar data needed by our development team to fully integrate and troubleshoot the radar as well as to refine the signal processing and exploitation algorithms in the system. The radar is designed to operate bistatically with a transmitter on one aircraft and a receiver on one or two other aircraft. The angular difference in the paths (transmitter to target to receiver) is 10 to 20 degrees. The antennas are steered to look at the ground for moving targets approximately 3 to 7 km from the aircraft, looking to the side of the aircraft.” Operation is to take place in the Grand Junction, Colorado area on 10.135-10.265 and 10.335-10.465 GHz.

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