Sunday, July 15, 2018

TDoA SuperDARN/Finland

Today signals from the SuperDARN radar in Finland were active around 12375 kHz and the most likely position matches quite well with the known CUTLASS radar position near Hankasalmi.

TDoA maps


TDoA cross correlations


There are pulse trains spaced by integer multiples of 2400 ╬╝sec (0,9,12,20,22,26,27), as descibed here:

SuperDARN pulse train

30 of these pulse trains are repeated, approximately each 95.3 msec, then there is a gap of two frames and some delay, and then the next 30 pulse trains follow:

SuperDARN pulse frames

The transmissions seem to repeat each minute with a small gap at the end of the minute.

Another way to verify the used pulse sequence is to compute the autocorrelation of each line of the plot above. All differences between all combinations of the individual pulses show up as peaks in the autocorrelation:
frame number vs. autocorrelation lag

Friday, July 13, 2018

KiwiSDR TDoA (LORAN)

Below is an example of using the new KiwiSDR TDoA extension on LORAN signals, see The bias on the most likely position is quite small. Note that despite the fact than one sample at 12kHz is 83.3μs long, the RMS values of the cross correlations are ≤ 6μs. This is because the peaks in the cross correlations are fitted with a 2nd order polynomial.

Fig 1

Fig 2


Fig 3


Fig 4


Fig 5


Fig 6


Fig 7

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Propagation delay maps based on IRI2016 electron density profiles

In order to understand better the propagation delay maps used for this blog post, the animation below was created. References for the used method are arXiv:1104.2248 and this well-known book.

Up to 2-hop propagation is considered. In case there is more than one mode of propagation, the smallest non-ground-wave propagation delay is shown in the maps. If there is no ionospheric reflection, the ground-wave delay is shown.
  • hop=0: no ionospheric reflection -> ground-wave propagation
  • hop=1: one reflection
  • hop=2: two reflections 
Propagation delays based on IRI2016 electron density profiles

Propagation delays based on IRI2016 electron density profiles

Saturday, July 7, 2018

KiwiSDR TDoA extension

KiwiSDR v1.196 includes a KiwiSDR extension (based on https://github.com/hcab14/TDoA)

Note that ionospheric delays are not taken into account, so depending on the geometry of receivers and the target the TDoA maps will be biased.

Many thanks to John Seamons, ZL/KF6VO.

In parallel I am working on a real-time version of TDoA using python/matplotlib/cartopy.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Interesting signal (TDMA?)

Today a signal on 5099 kHz USB (5100.8 kHz center) was picked up on several KiwiSDRs in the Northwest of Europe.

This signal consists of a sequences of sharp pulses and of tones:



Zoom around the tone:



Aligning the signal in frequency to the beginning of the tone, it becomes visible that there are two tones in three intervals. It might be a coincidence but the length of the intervals is close to 6/128 seconds which may or may not be relate to the information (here or here):

It is interesting that some residual modulation is visible, i.e., the phase is not perfectly constant or linearly rising.

The next three plots show abs(z) assuming different frame lengths:
  1. 854 samples (9.11/128 sec):



  2. 844 samples (9/128 sec):



  3. 281 samples (3/128 sec):



Monday, June 11, 2018

TDoA with propagation delays based on IRI2016 electron densities

This is a follow-up of this blog post where the method referred to there is applied to TDoA maps. The first example is a STANAG 4285 signal (FUO Toulon) centered on 8436.4 kHz (USB: 8432.6 kHz)

TDoA maps using ground-wave propagation delays


TDoA using propagation delays based on IRI2016


The maps using propagation delays based on IRI2016 electron densities match better the (assumed) true position of the transmitter. It is a small effect but noticeable, and can be seen better in the side-by-side comparison below:

TDoA comparison



Another example are the TDoA maps from the last blog post where the TDoA maps based on more realistic propagation delays are more consistent between the two measurements; both indicate a position on the South coast of Cornwall:

TDoA comparison


TDoA comparison


Sunday, June 10, 2018

TDoA code update

The TDoA code now does not explicitly use gnuplot any more. All plotting is done in octave. This will it make easier to extend the code (work in progress).

Recently some interesting signals have been independently observed by several people, see, e.g., tweet. These are frequency hopping signals.

Tuning a KiwiSDR to 7812 kHz two of the signal fit into its passband. Below are TDoA maps for these signals. Note that these maps are likely biased by the fact that some of the KiwiSDRs might receive the ground-wave signal and others a sky-wave signal.

TDoA maps


TDoA cross correlations


TDoA maps


TDoA cross corrlelations