Tuesday, October 4, 2016

FCC Grants Harris authorization for Ground and Fixed Airborne Radios (SmartSky)

FCC Grants for Harris Ground and Airborne radios

On the day SmartSky announced FCC approval, Tim Farrar sent a tweet out revealing the associated FCC Grant issued to Harris, for a ground radio head and an airborne radio system.  Tim noted that the grant was issued on the apparent date of application, and coincidentally upon the day that Gogo announced their unlicensed spectrum offering.  The test reports were completed earlier in the year.

Airborne and Ground radios communicate using a combination of control, forward and return channels.  Control channels are 540-900 kHz.  Traffic channels are 4.5-9 MHz.

Airborne Radio

Up to 1 Watt transmitter selecting one antenna between two Yagi (6 dBi) and two patch (4 dBi) antennas, for transmit and receive in one assembly.

A second receive-only antenna is installed on the belly of the airplane, 30" long and 3" wide.  With a wavelength of about 5", perhaps 6 - 12 elements, assuming each element is about 6 dBi, possible gain might been in the range of 13-17 dBi.

Ground Station

0.17 Watt, about 29 dBi antenna.

Harris is able to offer a bit more gain than expected by purely looking at power levels, by offsetting with slight reductions in duty cycle.

There is no mention of mobile operation.  Part 15C specifically limits operation to fixed applications. 

FCC 15C Authorization

Stay tuned!

Peter Lemme
peter @ satcom.guru

Follow me on twitter: @Satcom_Guru

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Peter Lemme has been a leader in avionics engineering for 35 years. He offers independent consulting services largely focused on avionics and L, Ku, and Ka band satellite communications to aircraft. Peter chairs the SAE-ITC AEEC Ku/Ka-band satcom subcommittee developing PP848, ARINC 791, and PP792 standards and characteristics. 

Peter was Boeing avionics supervisor for 767 and 747-400 data link recording, data link reporting, and satellite communications. He was an FAA designated engineering representative (DER) for ACARS, satellite communications, DFDAU, DFDR, ACMS and printers. Peter was lead engineer for Thrust Management System (757, 767, 747-400), also supervisor for satellite communications for 777, and was manager of terminal-area projects (GLS, MLS, enhanced vision).

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