International Report

Lüneburg Chooses R & S Law Enforcement TETRA Solution

The regional administration of Lüneburg, Lower Saxony has awarded Rohde & Schwarz (R & S) subsidiary R & S Bick Mobilfunk GmbH a contract covering the supply of a terrestrial trunked radio (TETRA) standard ACCESSNET® - T mobile radio network for use by the Lower Saxony police force. A key role for this particular law enforcement agency is the security of radioactive waste storage sites in the region and the new ACCESSNET® - T system will be used primarily in support of such work. Other factors in the selection are said to include the architecture's fast call setup and group call capabilities, its security against eavesdropping and its ability to integrate with global system for mobile communications (GSM), integrated service digital network (ISDN) and open standard equipments.

The equipment being supplied comprises a DSS-500 basestation, a local exchange unit (with an integrated radio basestation) and several TETRA terminals. Scheduled for delivery during November 2001, the TETRA system used operates within the 380 to 400 MHz frequency band, with the DSS-500 basestation providing gateway functions to branch and special networks and facilitating the architecture's ability to address GSM and ISDN equipments. Here, the implementation is via a digital S0 interface that allows the user to switch into a subscriber dial telephone network.

MRTI Launches New Countermeasures R & D Programmes

Russia's Moscow Radiotechnical Institute (MRTI - Moscow, Russian Federation) has revealed that it is working on two countermeasures research and development (R & D) programmes under the respective system designations Ranets-E and Rosa-E. Taking these in the order given, the Ranets-E system is described as a mobile microwave protection system that is designed to provide microwave protection against high precision weapons and act as an evaluation tool capable of determining the electromagnetic resistance of military electronic systems to high power microwave radiation. As such, the equipment comprises an antenna assembly, a high power transmitter, a control subsystem, a power supply unit, and a test and measurement set. In its operational guise, Ranets-E is vehicle mounted, while in its evaluation configuration, a trailer-mounted application is used to provide a laboratory microwave environment in which to test systems such as missiles. The 5000 kg Ranets-E system is described as operating within the centimetric wavebands, as having an output power of up to 500 MW, an antenna gain of up to 50 dB, a pulselength of 10 to 20 ns and a pulse repetition rate of up to 500 Hz and as having an effective range of up to 10 km.

The Rosa-E system is described as being a containerised jamming system that is aimed at tri-service weapon targeting radars. Comprising antenna, cooling system, control system, primary power, high voltage and microwave channel assemblies, the Rosa-E architecture can be customised to meet specific customer requirements and is billed as being suitable for ground-based, airborne and shipboard applications. The equipment's operating wavelengths are described as being centimetric with a 25 percent signal bandwidth. Power consumption is given as 50 to 100 kW, with radiated output being 5 to 10 kW. System weight and volume are noted as being 600 to 1500 kg and 0.8 to 2 m, respectively. For its part, MRTI is understood to have been established as part of the Russian Academy of Sciences during 1946 and bills itself as being a leading Russian applied radio science centre.

Finnish DEBIE to Track Space Debris

On 22 October, the European Space Agency's (ESA) PROBA (Project for On-Board Autonomy) demonstration satellite was successfully launched into a polar orbit carrying (amongst other equipment) Finnish contractor Patria's Debris In orbit Evaluator (DEBIE) sensor. Originally developed by UniSpace Kent (Canterbury, England) and productionised by a consortium made up of Patria (prime and sensor electronics), Metorex International (mechanical design and manufacture of the equipment's sensor unit) and Space Systems Finland (flight software), DEBIE is designed to determine the parameters of sub-millimeter size particles of space debris and micrometeoroids that cannot be tracked by radar or optical telescope from Earth. As such, the device will be used to help develop more accurate statistical models that can be used in the development of more effective and economical ways of protecting spacecraft from damage by such material.

As applied to PROBA, DEBIE comprises two 10 x 10 cm detection sensors, a data processing unit and associated wiring, and weighs approximately 2.36 kg. Space debris is detected by a combination of the measurement of impact ionisation, particle velocity and foil penetration. Functionally, each 10 x 10 cm sensor incorporates a foil, Piezo-electric transducers and high voltage sensing wire grid. When a particle hits the foil, it generates a signal that is proportional to its impact momentum and a cloud of free electrons and ions from the foil. Here, energetic particles penetrate the foil and create a plasma cloud behind it, the electrical charge from which is collected by the high voltage sensing wires. By combining these measurements with the impact signal data collected by the Piezo-electric transducers, DEBIE can determine the mass and velocity of the impacting particles.

The DEBIE sensor can be equipped with up to four sensor units to provide "all round" coverage and as of November 2001, a multi-sensor configuration was scheduled to be installed aboard the International Space Station during 2004. Each sensor unit measures 157 x 135 x 47 mm and in its four sensor configuration, the device has a power consumption of less than 4 W.

RF Engines Launches 'Radical New Way' to Improve Spectrum Analyser Performance

UK contractor RF Engines used the 30 October - 1 November 2001, Baltimore-based International Test Conference to showcase its Pipeline Frequency Transform™ (PFT) which it claims offers a radical new way to improve spectrum analyser performance. Capable of simultaneously processing digital signals across a wide spectrum in real-time, the basic PFT architecture utilises a series of frequency splitting stages to sub-divide the signal-of-interest band. Accordingly, stage one splits the band in half; stage two splits these two bands into four and so on until the required number of sub-band bins has been achieved. Decimation at each stage ensures a constant data rate throughout the pipeline and a continuous data throughput without loss. Gain across each bin is flat (typically less than ±0.2 dB) and bin-to-bin isolation can be tailored via the use of optimised filters within each stage to meet the dynamic range requirements of the particular application. So configured RF Engines claim that an N-point PFT is the functional equivalent of a parallel bank of N individual down-converters. For large N values, the company believes that its solution requires significantly less silicon than an equivalent bank of down-converters. By way of example, a 16K point transform is said to require 14 PTF stages as against 16,384 digital frequency converter modules.

RF Engines' PFT is available in the form of a licensable intellectual property core/engine that can be included in a programmable logic device or a system-on-chip configuration. Architecture performance has been demonstrated in a PFT implementation on four field programmable gate arrays where it was possible to handle a 100 MHz plus bandwidth signal at 8-bit resolution and extract 1024 channels with sharp channel filter characteristics of, typically, a filter stop band of better than 75 dB. RF Engines also claim that PFT can perform a 1024 point transform up to 20 times faster than a fast Fourier transform implemented on a digital signal processor.