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Agilent RF Surveillance Solutions

Presented by: Giuseppe Savoia

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Todays Surveillance Issue

Surveillance systems must be capable of measuring unknown or

unfriendly transmissions and possibly extract the target information content.

Direction Finding (DF) and geolocation are usually associated with these
types of systems as signal recovery and knowledge of the emitter location is

Surveillance of wireless signals is rapidly expanding in the areas of spectrum

regulation, public safety, boarder and coastal security and military

In the government and military areas, these transmissions are often

characterized in a category called Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).
Who needs Signal Monitoring?

Typical Users:

International Defense Agencies

International Government End-users and Contractors
Military and Commercial Test Range and Frequency Managers
Prime Contractors involved in RF Range tests International
Worldwide Aerospace Service providers
Regulatory Agencies (similar to FCC in US)
Commercial Spectrum Monitoring
Commercial Manufacturers of Communications Systems
Measurement Needs

Make off-the-air measurements

Hunt RF interference in a crowded spectrum
Detecting small signals in a large band
Ultimately need to control the RF airspace
May need to shut down illegal transmitters
May need to clear the test range of emitters before a test
May need to get a baseline on the environment
Need a complete solution for high performance RF survey
Investigating the RF Spectrum
RF Spectral Monitoring Challenge

Signals of interest are not in your control

Signals of interest can be at any frequency
They may be short duration
Signals of interest are intermittent
They may be low power
RF environment is not in your control
There may be thousands of irrelevant signals of varying
power, duration, and bandwidth
RF Spectral Monitoring Challenge

Maximize Probability of Intercept (POI)

POI - The probability that a search system will detect the
presence of a signal of interest.
RF Spectral Monitoring Solution
Signals of interest are not in your control
Signals of interest can be at any Wide
frequency Bandwidth

They may be short duration High Speed

Signals of interest are intermittent
They may be low power
RF environment is not in your control
There may be thousands of irrelevant Signal
signals of varying power, duration, and Detection
bandwidth Tools
RF Spectral Monitoring What You Need

You need high speed RF search

Signals may come and go
Wide spectrum to search
AND Speed
Swept AND
Analyzers only provide
You need high resolution speed OR resolution
Signals may be near other signals
Signals may be near noise

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Basic System Components

E1439D ADC
E2730B tuner (2.7 GHz)
E2731B tuner (6.0 GHz)
E9821A Signal

IEEE-1394 (Firewire)
connects PC to
E8491B VXI Slot 0

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Modular and Scaleable

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System Architecture
Short tuner High speed Additional processing
settling time digital I/O to preserves the high
allows fast transfer the resolution (maybe
frequency steps. data at real- 500,000 points!), and
time rates. finds signals of interest.

Tuner Digitizer Processing

Wide IF bandwidth (high Multiple Digital

sample rate) reduces the Signal Processors
number of steps. (DSP) working in
High dynamic range to parallel to compute
accurately digitize multiple the spectrum.

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RF Sweep
100. Speed vs. Resolution (E3238S)
Sweep Speed (GHz/Sec)

4 GHz/Sec
Or 250 mSec/GHz
1. E3238S is
over 1000 times
Example: faster!
0.1 1GHz Span
2 kHz RBW
(500,000 points!)
5 Minutes
1,000. 100. 10. 1. 0.1
Resolution (RBW kHz)

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Display and Measurement Resolution

1 GHz

100 MHz

10 MHz


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What is a search and collection system?

Search Classify Monitor

Rapid hunt for Sort for energy & Collect/exploit signals of

energy/signals signals of interest interest
Operator judgement Handoff Rx
Automated software Tape/disk recorder
algorithms Modulation analyzers
Automated detectors Locate/track

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E3238S Signal Detection Tools

Signal Detection Tools are needed to reduce the data to

information just the signals of interest

Alarm Tasks
Energy Handoff
Energy History
Alarm Snapshot
and High Detection
Speed Threshold Freq. List

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The RF Spectrum
Detect new RF spectral energy
Is energy of search

Detect &

Is signal Narrowband
of collection
Computational interest?

SOI Payload

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Universal Signal Detector

Universal Signal Exploits characteristics of an RF transmission that can be

Detector used to automatically identify signals of interest

Bandwidth Filter, Bandwidth

Frequency Plan Frequencies, or frequency bands

Shape of power spectrum

WidebandDetectors RBW
Detector Averaging

Narrowband Confirmers Modulation Recognition

Confirmer Format, Symbol rate, bandwidth,

Recording or Streaming Automatic, simultaneous, gap-free recording of

signal of interest (raw IQ, AM, or FM)

Detectors employ both wide and narrowband technologies to maximize POI

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Universal Signal Detection Flow
Automating the wideband search process

Does RF energy exceed spectral threshold? no

Extract energy features and put in database CF, BW, etc
Is energy of
Do energy features meet pre-defined alarm criteria? no
Execute pre-defined energy alarm tasks

Pass CF and span to

Handoff receiver(s)

Process is based on external

collection process
Visual alarm
Audio alarm

energy info

Center frequency

+ others ( shape)

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Automating the narrowband collection process

Detect, demod, and decode signal

Mod type, ASCII

Extract signal info and put in database
message, etc
Is signal of
Does signal info meet pre-defined criteria? no
Execute pre-defined signal alarm tasks

collection process

Execute another
Process is based on internal
Visual alarm
Audio alarm

signal info
Mod type
ASCII message
Baud rate

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Energy Detection Thresholds

Level threshold

Auto (noise-riding)


Noise threshold

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Energy Detection

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Others tools to detect /exploit (Universal Signal Detection
and Multi-Channel Continuous Recording)

Not only detect signals based on their energy but

Detect signals of interest based on their characteristics

Spectral shape
Modulation type
Symbol rate

and record them for analysis

(or stream them for in-line processing)

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Narrowband Confirmation
Confirm the Signal of Interest with
narrowband modulation recognition


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Modulation Types Confirmed

FSK 16 QAM Pure Carrier

3-level FSK 32 QAM Noise
4-level FSK 64 QAM Unknown Digital
(reports symbol rate of other
8-level FSK 128 QAM digital modulation formats)
Analog FM (includes multi- 256 QAM
level FSK not shown above)
AM Modulation
MSK (includes GMSK and
Offset (aka Staggered) QPSK)
AM DSBSC Attributes
FM MSK LSB Frequency
USB Bandwidth
QPSK (includes DQPSK) OOK (aka ASK) Symbol Rate
/4 QPSK (incl. /4 DQPSK) FM OOK Frequency Deviation

8 PSK 4PAM (aka 4-level ASK)

16 PSK Manual Morse
V.29 Modem Machine Morse

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E3238S SQL Database

The E3238S system has an integrated

relational database
Relates Energy History and Signal
Adds antenna, receiver location, and
direction to Energy History
Adds periodic updates of amplitude,
location, and direction to Energy History
Stores data from multiple instances of E3238S
E3238S using one license E3238S E3238S
Query DB directly with SQL or use
E3238S commands through the
command socket
User selectable storage duration
with automatic clean-up
No additional cost

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Handoff Receiver Drivers
Aro AR5000A WJ-8607
Cubic VXI-3250 WJ-8611
Cubic VXI-3550 WJ-8615P
Cubic VXI-3570 WJ-8621
Cubic R-2411/U WJ-8629
Cubic R-2412/U WJ-8629A
Icom IC-R20 WJ-8711
Icom IC-R8500 WJ-8712A
Icom IC-PCR1000 WJ-8712P
R&S EK-895 WJ-8721
Ten Tec RX-331 WR-G303e
Drivers for other handoff receivers may be
developed with Host User Programming
(option ASD) or contact factory AEs

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E3238S Option WRP - Features

Delivers continuous, gap-free, full IF

Can be added to both HF and V/UHF
E3238S Signal Detection and
Monitoring Systems
Monitor the RF spectrum in a
continuous loop recording mode
Record now, analyze later
Playback data into the E3238S DSP
taking advantage of all detection and
narrowband collection functions
Playback data at different rate to
change POI vs. processing time

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Integration with
TCI Wideband DF Processor
Simultaneous DF on all detected signals
Configurations for Fixed-Site, Temporary,
and Mobile
V/UHF 20MHz 3GHz frequency coverage
20MHz instantaneous bandwidth
3GHz per sec DF scan rate

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Wideband Direction Finding (WDF)

High Speed integrated search, collection and wideband DF

Equivalent to thousands of simultaneous parallel narrowband DF
Allows search and collection processes to be qualified by direction-of-
interest and LOB.
DF caching allows E3238S collection system to go back in time and
precisely re-compute direction on short-duration signals of interest
Intuitive new displays show signal directions by azimuth, color, or
tactical polar display
Integrated mapping facility plots emitter LOB on GeoTIFF maps
Industry standard KML output provides tactical DF overlays for popular
geographic information system (GIS)
Supported DF systems:
1. Now: Variety of Wideband DF subsystems from TCI International, Inc. provide
solutions for mobile, fixed-site and temporary site applications
2. Other systems may be supported in future.

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Seminar Summary

Off-the-air spectral monitoring presents challenges with unknown,

non-collaborative, short-duration emitters
High speed AND high resolution are required for measurement of
closely spaced, transient, and/or weak signals over a wide RF span
High-speed spectral survey creates enormous amounts of data that
signal detection tools must reduce to information just the signals of
Multiple simultaneous channels of data can be recorded in a
narrowband mode
A commercially-available high-speed survey system from Agilent is
optimized for wideband signal survey and narrowband collection

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Demo of E3238S/N6820E