Radio Channel Measurements and Modeling for Smart Antenna Array Systems Using a Software Radio Receiver

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Virginia Tech

This dissertation presents research performed in the areas of radio wave propagation measurement and modeling, smart antenna arrays, and software-defined radio development. A four-channel, wideband, software-defined receiver was developed to serve as a test bed for wideband measurements and antenna array experiments. This receiver was used to perform vector channel measurements in terrestrial and air-to-ground environments using an antenna array. ent results served as input to radio channel simulations based on three geometric channel models. The simulation results were compared to measurement results to evaluate the performance of the radio channel models under test. Criteria for evaluation include RMS delay spread, excess delay spread, signal envelope fading, antenna diversity gain, and gain achieved through the use of a two-dimensional rake receiver.

This research makes contributions to the wireless communications field through analysis, development, measurement, and simulation that builds upon past theoretical and experimental results. Contributions include a software-defined radio architecture, based on object oriented techniques, that has been developed and successfully demonstrated using the wideband receiver. This research has produced new wideband vector channel measurements to provide extensive characterization results facilitating simulation of emerging wireless technology for commercial and military communications systems. Original ways of interpreting multipath component strength and correlation for antenna arrays have been developed and investigated. A novel geometric air-to-ground ellipsoidal channel model has been developed, simulated, and evaluated. Other contributions include an evaluation of two popular radio channel models, a geometric channel simulator for producing channel impulse responses, and analytical derivation results related to channel modeling geometries and multipath channel measurement processing.

In addition to new results, existing theory and earlier research results are discussed. Fundamental theory for antenna arrays, vector channels, multipath characterization, and channel modeling is presented. Contemporary issues in software radio and object orientation are described, and measurement results from other propagation research are summarized.

Vector Channels, Air-to-Ground, Airborne Communications, Aircraft Communications, Propagation Measurement, Wireless Communications, Channel Modeling, Smart Antenna, Software Radio, Multipath