Article by Peter G3LTF on Galileo (January 2006)
The Wirral & District
Amateur Radio Club
Potential Interference To Galileo From 23cm Band Operations
This paper describes the proposed Galileo system design and its applications with particular reference to the E6 (1260-1300MHz) band. It covers some of the political issues driving the programme and the frequency allocation situation. It describes the operation of typical receivers and their ability to deal with interference and gives practical illustrations of these effects. The likely effect of the Galileo E6 channel transmissions on 23cm receivers is analysed and found negligible. However there is the potential for 23cm transmissions to interfere unless the Galileo receivers are designed and built to withstand them when operating in the E6 channel. In order to work robustly in the expected electromagnetic environment Galileo receivers will need to use the most advanced technology available. Finally the likely course of events is discussed and arguments that we might use to continue our use of the band are presented.
3. Galileo, History and Background
The Galileo programme is intended to provide the European Union (EU) with its own Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS). Currently there are two major systems, the USA’s Global Positioning System (GPS) and the Russian GLONASS. GPS was designed as a military system and, until 2000, the open signal’s accuracy was intentionally degraded. The US has now pledged to maintain the full capability, free, open service signals and will give 6 years notice of any change to this position. Although essentially a military system, the civil applications have been wide ranging and are the basis of many businesses as well as supplementing and improving many existing navigation systems even though the users recognise that the US could degrade or jam the services should it judge that necessary for its security. GLONASS will not be discussed further, as it does not overlap our allocation and its future status is unclear.
Two programmes have been implemented to overcome some of the deficiencies of GPS as they affect the civil aviation industry, these are the USA’s Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) and the EU’s European Geostationary Navigation Overlay System (EGNOS). Their purpose is to monitor the accuracy and quality of the GPS signals and provide an instantaneous warning via geostationary satellite and data link should they degrade.
The EU view is that having its own GNSS is essential to its economic and infrastructure development and that it cannot rely on GPS for reasons of availability and reliability of the signals. Furthermore, GPS gives no performance guarantee. There is a benefit to both GPS and Galileo in having more satellites in space, particularly in situations such as cities where the view of the sky is restricted. Because both systems would operate in the same frequency band and with comparable modulation schemes, it will be relatively easy to build receivers to use all the satellites in view.
In 1999, after many years of studies of candidate systems the EU launched the Galileo programme. The definition phase ran from1999 to 2001 and covered the definition of the architecture and services to be provided and the development and validation phase started in 2002. In this phase, the European Space Agency (ESA) will procure and launch two satellites, the first of which will be launched at the end of 2005. In 2007 the plan is to launch a mini constellation of four satellites to test the system in orbit. The cost of this phase is estimated as €1.1Bn and will be EU funded. The deployment phase, building and launching 26 satellites and building and deploying the ground segment is estimated as €2.1Bn with two thirds coming from industry and the rest from the EU. Full Commercial operation is still planned to begin in 2008 according to the website even though the award of the contract to the selected concessionaire is now not expected before the second quarter of 2006. The four principal countries involved in the work are France, Italy, Germany and the UK all of whom will benefit under “juste retour” with jobs and the housing of ground facilities.
Independent observers find this
timescale unrealistic even without the usual funding delays and full
operation in 2010 at the very earliest is probably more realistic.
4. Galileo System Description
The system will operate in essentially the same way as GPS. Thirty satellites in 23,600 km orbits will carry atomic clocks and transmit accurate time signals using spread spectrum modulation together with orbit data and other messages. A receiver synchronises itself to the satellites in view and by measuring the range to four of them can determine its position in three dimensions and obtain standard time. Higher quality receivers will use two or more frequencies making separate measurements to correct for ionospheric delay. The ground system, fully duplicated to provide resilience, will control the satellites through a series of uplink stations around the globe.
The services planned to be
offered by Galileo are the following:
There is little more than this available about the services because of course what is actually offered will by decided by those who are awarded the concession to develop and operate Galileo. Somehow the services have to generate an ecconomic return in the face of a free service (GPS) with long established applications world wide.
The latest published information, reference , on the mapping of the services to the frequency bands is from June 2003.
The three Galileo bands are as
5. The Politics of Galileo
It is important to understand a few of the key issues around the development and deployment of this system. It is being strongly backed by the European Commission as part of the drive to be independent of the USA, but because of its high cost (€3.2Bn to get it up and working is seen by some as an underestimate and, of course, the running costs are additional to this figure), it is essential to have industry involved in the funding in a Public-Private Partnership (PPP).
The competition to choose the
concessionaire to undertake the development and running of the system
was terminated in early 2005 and the two contenders were asked to join
forces and submit a combined proposal. The decision is now scheduled
for some time in mid 2006. Obviously there is currently no information
on what the concessionaire will offer; however, it is likely that
there will be two income streams, one from the IPR involved in
equipment licensing and one from the two subscription services, the CS
and the PRS.
Furthermore, the existence of EGNOS and WAAS enhances the reliability of GPS for civil aviation and gives it much of what it wants without contributing to the costs of Galileo. Everybody would like the Galileo satellites to be available so that the coverage of GNSS, in urban canyons for example, would be improved, but no one wants to pay for them.
6. Is there a Requirement for a Galileo PRS?
There are serious issues around the PRS concerning the extent to which it will be used, for example, by European government agencies such as customs and immigration or by the police and paramilitary. The advantage being put forward to these agencies is that PRS will offer a more secure service to them than the open GPS and that in the event that the open services of both Galileo and GPS were jammed in order to prevent their use by a hostile power, there would still be a service available. The encryption and other tricks on the PRS signal would also give protection against spoofing or meconing (see later). There is a cost involved however; both in new equipment and in user charges and the agencies will have to assess the costs against the risks. Some of the costs have probably not been recognised, for example the costs of certifying a police helicopter to use Galileo PRS rather than GPS as the input to its navigation system will be frightening.
There are also persistent stories that some countries wish to use the PRS for military purposes. Whilst there would be no objection to using the Galileo signals for tracking material or for logistics purposes by peacekeeping forces, the application to weapon guidance would raise serious issues. Another factor often overlooked in the discussion of the PRS is that to make the system robust requires much more than just protection of the signal in space, it requires secure ground support facilities on a regional basis ; this is costly. It all adds up to a lot of money to pay for independence of the US system which is well established and which, with the second civil frequency added in 2010, will have a high level of robustness.
The recently published report of
the UK House of Commons Transport Committee, reference , voiced
serious concerns about the PRS - “The uses described for the PRS are
hazy; the UK government has said it does not want to use it… The
Committee urges the UK government to ensure that there is a real
demand, that access can be properly controlled, and that it would not
allow the use of PRS for military applications”.
7. The Frequency Allocation Situation
At the World Radiocommunication Conference in 2003, (WRC-03) a Primary status allocation was approved with no power flux-density (pfd) limits for the radio navigation satellite service (RNSS) in the 1260 -1300 MHz band.
The allocation was a result of studies conducted since WRC-2000 on sharing between RNSS and the radiolocation service in this band. The WRC invited interested parties to continue appropriate technical, operational and regulatory studies (including an assessment of the need for a pfd limit) on RNSS systems in the 1215 to 1300 MHz band. The purpose of the studies was to ensure that the RNSS would not cause harmful interference to the radiolocation (radar) service. All studies were to be conducted as a matter of urgency and in time for WRC-07. They are reported under WP 8B.
There is a possibility for radar targets to be obscured by the signal from a Galileo satellite because the high gain of the radar antenna and tests carried out in the USA on working radars have demonstrated the potential problem, reference . Some proposed measures to achieve compatibility include tailoring the RNSS signal to reduce overlap with the radar band, pfd limits on the RNSS signal and frequency separation. It is clear from the material already submitted to WP 8B that the USA is concerned about interference to its L-band ATC radar network, however many countries operate ATC and defence radars in this band so it is a much wider problem.
Wind profiling radars operate in
the band 1270 to 1290 MHz and a recent study examined the level of
protection that these would require in the presence of Galileo E6
The position of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) is “To support the incorporation of a single regulatory mechanism applicable to RNSS in the whole band 1215-1300 MHz as a necessary protection for important radars used for civil aviation purposes, and to support the incorporation of the agreed mechanism within an adequate regulatory framework having full mandatory force for current and future RNSS systems”
The challenge to Galileo was to get a satellite up and running by April 2006 in order to claim the frequency allocation. This was achieved, on schedule, on December 28 th 2005 by Giove, the satellite built by Surrey Satellite Technology Ltd. (SSTL). The satellite carries a number of pieces of equipment, such as atomic clocks, for trials purposes. The radiated frequencies are not known but it is believed it is also able to monitor the radiation environment, but whether this includes the radio spectrum is unclear.
8. Potential interference from Galileo to 23cm amateur operations
The Galileo signal at the
earth’s surface is very weak and spread over a wide bandwidth, and
will only be a source of interference to EME stations with large
antennas. As a typical 23cm EME system uses a large, typically >3m,
antenna, the satellite will only be present in the beam for a short
However, fortunately the EME standard is for left hand circular polarisation (LHCP) on receive and so there is an additional attenuation of the cross polarisation performance of the dish and feed, typically 20dB. Thus the operator will not experience a noise increase. With a 10m dish the increase will just be noticeable.
There is a further factor to be considered and that is the spectrum shape of the Galileo signal: this tapers towards the band edges and so there is a further (estimated) 6dB reduction in the noise received. Systems using noise measuring receivers to measure moon noise (for dish pointing or system calibration) or to observe radio stars in this band will be more adversely affected. For example a 500kHz wide receiver with a 10m dish and receive system would see a noise increase of about 30dB as a satellite went through the beam which would make it virtually useless.
9. The operation of GNSS receivers and their typical response to interference.
In order to assess how amateur transmissions might interfere with Galileo receivers it is essential to understand a little about how these receivers might operate and about their capability to reject interference.
The signal structure of GPS and
Galileo is similar and so the receiver characteristics of both will
also be similar.
A separate signal (in Galileo) also carries data giving the satellite orbit and other essential information which the receiver then decodes. When the receiver has gone through this process with four satellites, it is able to calculate its 3D position and velocity, and its clock is synchronised to the system standard time.
Measurements to additional satellites will improve the accuracy of the measurements and provide resilience against intermittent loss of signal. Modern GPS receivers perform some of this process in digital form: in 5 years time virtually all of it will be digital. When a receiver is tracking a signal from a satellite the bandwidth of the code and carrier tracking loops can be very narrow. The code loop might be as low as 0.1Hz, the carrier loop 1kHz or less. The satellite’s motion is highly predictable and so a stationary receiver, once the carrier is locked on, can easily follow the Doppler change.
However, if the receiver is moving, for example in a vehicle, then a sudden change of direction could cause the carrier loop to lose lock. To prevent this, either the receiver must allow the loop to operate at a wider bandwidth or the tracking loop must be “aided” by inputs form another sensor. In a fighter aircraft, for example, this aiding comes from the inertial reference system, in a vehicle it could come from a much simpler low cost gyro or dead reckoning system. These forms of coupled sensors are expensive. It is obvious from the foregoing that while a receiver is in tracking mode with the carrier and code operating as narrow bandwidth loops, it has a high ability to reject interference due to the narrow bandwidths. The loop characteristics are similar to a flywheel and a short interruption of one or more signals can be accommodated by the receiver.
There are many techniques that can be used to extend the ability of the receiver to keep tracking the satellite(s) in the presence of interference. Some examples are:
· Tracking the code alone if the
carrier lock is lost.
Where receivers are most vulnerable is in the acquisition phase. If a receiver starts absolutely from scratch, i.e. unknown position, velocity and time (PVT), then it will have to search with wide loop bandwidths in order to find the signal and lock to the code. The more information it has about its PVT the faster it can acquire and the narrower the loops can be. Once a receiver is giving good PVT data then it is more difficult to interfere with, or jam. Where problems can arise is when the receiver is forced into a re-acquisition mode and where interference prevents it from then re-acquiring.
There is, obviously, a vast difference in receiver performance between those designed for leisure walking and those designed for civil aviation or for the most demanding military environments. A simple small receiver does not have the room for quality front end filtering or high dynamic range for example.
Finally spoofing must be mentioned, this is a technique for interfering with GNSS operation by transmitting either a simulated signal or a delayed version of a real signal with the aim of making the receiver display an incorrect position. In the proposed PRS it is intended to include cryptographic techniques to prevent this abuse.
10. Practical Interference Scenarios
This section will examine some
A pertinent question, (perhaps
even an FAQ) is …“so why hasn’t this problem occurred with GPS which
has been in use for a decade or more?” The answer is that the simple
GPS L1 (1575.42MHz) receivers are, indeed, vulnerable to interference
but that their (approximately) 2MHz wide frequency channel is clear
because it is protected to aeronautical standards. These receivers can
be disrupted by relatively simple jammers designs for which are
available over the internet but there are few reported instances of
A study of interference to Civil GNSS applications by out of band interference has been undertaken for the Australian Global Navigation Satellite System Coordination Committee, reference . Testing of the performance of typical GPS receivers in the presence of potential interference sources was carried out using commercial receivers.
The study concentrated on interference affecting the GPS L1 signal and it looked, in particular, at the possibility of interference from the harmonics of UHF TV transmitters to GNSS. By a mixture of measurement and simulation the study determined that the typical third harmonic radiated from a 480kW TV Transmitter would disrupt GPS operation over a 3.5 km radius. There are plenty of high power TV transmitters in the UK who’s second and third harmonics fall on the L1 frequency, but the writer has not heard of problems being reported.
At the other end of the scale
there is a report of a 2mW jammer disrupting GPS operation over a
1nautical mile radius in a sea trial. This would represent about
-100dBm at the receiver, exactly the level predicted by theory. In the
lower part of the GNSS band both GPS and GNSS have to cope with the
pulsed signals from the aeronautical distance measuring equipment (DME)
and from TACAN and JTIDS / MIDS which are pulsed navigation systems
and data links respectively.
There is no doubt that GNSS will play an increasingly important, if not essential, role in the transport infrastructure operation in both Europe and the USA. The EU seems determined to possess its own system, independent of the USA and GPS.
However it still remains to be seen whether it can get the private sector to finance and run it for profit or whether it will have to heavily subsidise its operation.
All NATO countries have access to GPS and so, in the light of other priorities for military equipment spending, it seems very unlikely indeed that there would be pressure from the European military for an independent system, especially when the US have said they would jam it, (or worse!) if it were perceived as a threat. The Galileo funding issue is not yet settled for development or for operation.
If Galileo goes forward as planned, with a year or two’s delay, then as its usage becomes a more integrated and critical part of the infrastructure, the demand to have greater security, availability and reliability from the service will grow. This is happening already in the USA as the planned use of GPS for aircraft precision approach and landing comes closer to realisation. Air transport is more important in their infrastructure and so there is a need to see a way through to a highly robust civil GPS system.
The report by John A. Volpe, Transportation Systems Center, reference 4, reviewed this area and made many recommendations for improving robustness and availability, including research into interference mitigation and interference location. Everyone is beginning to recognise that the current GNSS does have vulnerabilities and that interference mitigation has to be an important and necessary component of the receiver system design where these are to be used in crucial systems.
Even if Galileo does not proceed we have to recognise that the 1260-1300MHz band will be used at some time for GNSS and that these systems will always have a rather weak signal at the earth’s surface. Sharing the allocation with radar is/was relatively painless for the Amateur Services. Radars, even civil ones, are designed to cope with interference by employing a whole library of techniques developed over many years. Furthermore, because the number of radars is small and they are large installations and easily physically protected, the techniques can be kept secret where necessary. Although there are some who are calling for these bands to be effectively swept clear of interference sources this is (in my own view) impractical, especially where they are not protected by the stringent aeronautical regulations. Therefore if it is required to have a robust PRS service in the E6 channel then those receivers will have to incorporate very extensive interference rejection measures. The limit will be set by what can be released from military anti-jam technology into this para-military area, bearing in mind the virtual impossibility of keeping large numbers of the PRS equipments secure.
12. What can the Amateur Services do about it?
While Galileo might be delayed, it is unlikely to be stopped, although it is a possibility. Even if it is, then at some time (probably post-2007) another GNSS will take the allocation. This might lead to some limitations on continuous transmissions such as beacons, TV repeaters and FM repeaters below 1300 MHz.
Non-continuous signals such as ssb/cw ought to be much less of a problem to a robust PRS receiver and one can argue that 23cm amateur transceivers will be available for many years to come and probably constitute the largest quantity of potential jammers available to any person or organisation wishing to cause disruption. Therefore the PRS receivers should protect against them and therefore we should be allowed to continue.
We must argue that, to a moving vehicle, the signal from a typical amateur ssb/cw transmission will be very intermittent and therefore the receiver should be little affected by it. It would be useful to take some measurements of these sorts of signal levels. Obviously the terrain masking effect would be less for the police helicopter scenario but it would still be present to a degree.
EME operations are typified by a
higher erp than normal "tropo" stations. However, the beam widths are
small and so the duration of interference is short and a well designed
receiver in a police helicopter for example would “flywheel” through
it. The side lobe levels are about the same erp as a tropo station and
the antennas, being large, are at low height, which considerably
increases the intermittency of the signal at a distance. Similar
considerations apply to satellite operations in the 23cm band which
take place in the 1260-1270 MHz sector.
At the IARU region1 meeting at Davos in September 2005 a similar paper to this one, C5.13, was presented by the RSGB but no actions were placed. In my opinion it would be useful in formulating our case to remain in the band if we had more information about the following issues.
Which nations have definite
plans to use the E6 services and for what applications they anticipate
it being used.
It seems to me that Galileo receivers which are robust enough to coexist with ATC radars should also be able to cope with intermittent amateur signals.
 J-L Issler, G Hein, J Godet,
et al. "Galileo Frequency and signal Design",
 House of Commons Transport Committee report on Galileo, HC 1210, Nov 25th 2004. See http://www.parliament.uk/transcom
 "Results of interference
susceptibility tests of a 1250-1300MHz band aeronautical primary radar
system with RNSS signals" ITU document 8B/60, August 20th 2004
 " Study of Interference to Civil GNSS Applications by Out of Band Interference", Consultancy Commission No P2001/0283, carried out for the Australian GNSS Coordination Committee, November 2001
 M. De Angelis, "Analysis of Air Traffic Control Systems Interference - Impact on Galileo Aeronautics Receivers", Institute of Navigation National Technical Meeting, January 2005
 The web site of the Royal Institute of Navigation. www.rin.org.uk/SITE/UPLOAD/DOCCUMENT/Vuln-Owen.pdf
P K Blair. OBE,
FReng, FIEE, G3LTF
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