In-orbit measurements and analysis of radio interference in the UHF amateur radio band from the LUME-1 satellite
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2976
EDITED VERSION: https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/13/16/3252
UNESCO SUBJECT: 3325.05 Radiocomunicaciones ; 3325 Tecnología de las Telecomunicaciones ; 3325.06 Comunicaciones Por Satélite
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
Radio interference in the uplink makes communication to satellites in the UHF amateur radio band (430–440 MHz) challenging for any satellite application. Interference measurements and characterisation can improve the robustness and reliability of the communication system design. Most published results focus on average power spectrum measurements and heatmaps. We apply a low complexity estimator on an SDR (Software-Defined Radio) to study the interference’s dispersion and temporal variation on-board a small satellite as an alternative. Measuring the Local Mean Envelope (LME) variability with different averaging window lengths enables the estimation of time variability of the interference. The coefficient of variation for the LME indicates how much the signals vary in time and the spread in magnitudes. In this article, theoretical analysis, simulations, and laboratory results were used to validate this measurement method. In-orbit measurements were performed on-board the LUME-1 satellite. Band-limited interference with pulsed temporal behaviour and a high coefficient of variation was detected over North America, Europe, and the Arctic, where space-tracking radars are located. Wide-band pulsed interference with high time variability was also detected over Europe. These measurements show why operators that use a communication system designed for Additive White Gaussian Noise (AWGN) at power levels obtained from heatmaps struggle to command their satellites.
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