Implementation of the Listen-Before-Talk Mode for SeaSonde High-Frequency Ocean Radars
Journal of Marine Science and Engineering
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Resolution 612, in combination with Report ITU-R M2.234 (11/2011) and Recommendation ITU-R M.1874-1 (02/2013), regulates the use of the radiolocation services between 3 and 50 MHz to support high frequency oceanographic radar (HFR) operations. The operational frame for HFR systems include: band sharing capabilities, such as synchronization of the signal modulation; pulse shaping and multiple levels of filtering, to reduce out-of-band
... -band interferences; low radiated power; directional transmission antenna, to reduce emission over land. Resolution 612 also aims at reducing the use of spectral bands, either through the application of existing band-sharing capabilities, the reduction of the spectral leakage to neighboring frequency bands, or the development and implementation of listen-before-talk (LBT) capabilities. While the LBT mode is operational and commonly used at several phased-array HFR installations, the implementation to commercial direction-finding systems does not appear to be available yet. In this paper, a proof-of-concept is provided for the implementation of the LBT mode for commercial SeaSonde HFRs deployed in Australia, with potential for applications in other networks and installations elsewhere. Potential critical aspects for systems operated under this configuration are also pointed out. Both the receiver and the transmitter antennas may lose efficiency if the frequency offset from the resonant frequency or calibration pattern are too large. Radial resolution clearly degrades when a dynamical adaptation of the bandwidth is performed, which results in non-homogeneous spatial resolution and reduction of the quality of the data. A recommendation would be to perform the LBT-adapt scans after a full measurement cycle (1-h or 3-h, depending on the system configuration) is concluded. Mutual cross-interference from clock offsets between two HFR systems may bias the frequency scans when the site computers controlling data acquisitions are not properly time-synchronized.