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RF Sensors for Spectrum Monitoring Applications: Fundamentals and RF Performance Test Plan

Report ID
Technical Report TR-15-519
August 03, 2015
Jeffery A. Wepman; Brent L. Bedford; Heather E. Ottke; Michael G. Cotton

Great emphasis is seen on the networking and data management aspects of spectrum monitoring, but far less attention is given to the radio frequency (RF) sensor systems used to collect the spectrum data. This report focuses on these sensor systems and, in particular, the commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) RF sensors used in the sensor systems. A test plan for evaluating the RF performance of COTS sensors is outlined. Evaluation of COTS sensors is an ongoing task of the Center for Advanced Communications (CAC) Spectrum Monitoring Program. The intent is to build a comprehensive cost/capability/performance matrix to help guide the selection of the appropriate COTS sensor for a given monitoring scenario. The test plan strives to standardize the tests and metrics, so that results can be compared from sensor to sensor.

Keywords: software defined radio; spectrum monitoring; RF sensor