Title page for ETD etd-08102012-134341

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Peng, Senlin
Author's Email Address slpeng@vt.edu
URN etd-08102012-134341
Title A Multi-constellation Multi-Frequency GNSS Software Receiver Design for Ionosphere Scintillation Studies
Degree PhD
Department Electrical and Computer Engineering
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Scales, Wayne A. Committee Chair
Bose, Tamal Committee Member
Farhood, Mazen Committee Member
Morton, Jade Yu Committee Member
Reed, Jeffrey Hugh Committee Member
  • GNSS
  • Ionosphere scintillation
  • Software receiver
  • Vector tracking loop
Date of Defense 2012-07-27
Availability unrestricted
Ionospheric scintillations can cause significant amplitude and/or phase fluctuations of GNSS signals. This work presents analysis results of scintillation effects on the new GPS L5 signal based on data collected using a real-time scintillation monitoring and data collection system at HAARP, Alaska. The data collection setup includes a custom narrow band front end that collects GPS L1, L2 IF samples and two reconfigurable USRP2 based RF front ends to collect wideband GPS L5 and GLONASS L1 and L2 signals. The results confirm that scintillation has a stronger impact on GPS L2 and L5 signals than on the L1 signal. Our preliminary results also show that carrier phase and amplitude scintillations on each signal are highly correlated. The amplitude and carrier phase scintillation are also correlated among the three signals.

In this study, a multi-constellation multi-band GNSS software receiver has been developed based on USRP2, a general purpose radio platform. The C++ class-based software receiver were developed to process the IF data for GPS L1, L2C, and L5 and GLONASS L1 and L2 signals collected by the USRP2 front end. The front end performance is evaluated against the outputs of a high end custom front end driven by the same local oscillator and two commercial receivers, all using the same real signal sources. These results demonstrate that the USRP2 is a suitable front end for applications, such as ionosphere scintillation studies.

Another major contribution of this work is the implementation of a Vector tracking loop (VTL) for robust carrier tracking. The VTL is developed based on the extended Kalman filter (EKF) with adaptive covariance matrices. Both scalar tracking loop (STL) and VTL are implemented. Once an error in the scalar loop is detected, the results from the VTL are used to assist the STL. The performance of the VTL is compared with the traditional STL with three different data sets: raw GPS RF data with short signal outages, RF data with strong scintillation impacts collected during the last solar maximum, and high dynamic data with long interval signal outages from a GPS simulator. The results confirm the performance improvement of the VTL over scintillation impacts and show that the VTL can maintain signal lock during long intervals of signal outage if the satellite ephemerides are available and the pseudorange estimation is within one code chip accuracy. The dynamic performance improvement of the VTL is verified as well. The results show the potential of robust tracking based on VTL during scintillation and interference.

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