Pseudo Doppler Direction Finding System for Localizing Non-Cooperative VHF Transmitters with a Hybrid UAS
Gerhard III, William Edward
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Current radio direction finding techniques are limited in flexibility and focus on specific applications. Commercial off the shelf systems exist for a wide range of applications from navigation to search and rescue and wildlife tracking. However these systems rely on commercially available VHF receivers and are limited in transmission modulation techniques and frequency ranges. The majority of these systems are expensive which places them outside the reach of most individuals while the current open source designs require specialized skills and knowledge to build. The goal of this work was to design a low cost system capable of determining the approximate location of a non-cooperative VHF transmitter that could easily be implemented on a variety of unmanned systems. One unmanned aerial system was designed, built, and evaluated. Existing open source hardware and software systems were utilized for the development of the pseudo Doppler direction finding system, and work was conducted utilizing recursive Bayesian techniques to estimate the VHF transmitter's location. Results and explanations of system behaviors are presented along with limitations and possible modifications to improve performance and reliability.
General Audience Abstract
Radio direction finding uses specialized radio equipment to determine the direction that a radio signal is coming from. Commercial systems are often expense, and existing hobbyist designs require specialized skills, and both are not flexible in application or frequency. The same is true for commercially available drones, which tend to be expensive or face other limitations. In this work a low cost radio direction finding system that uses easily found open source hardware and software was built and evaluated, along with a low cost unmanned aerial system. Then using the data collected, a computer algorithm was tested that could estimate the transmitting radio’s location. After testing it was determined that all systems did work, but still had room for improvement. Future steps and system modifications are presented that could improve the system’s performance.
- Masters Theses