AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 30 Radio Frequency Interference
Special Session, Monday, May 31, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, 610/612

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[30.03] Promises and Limitations of RFI Canceling Solutions

J. R. Fisher (National Radio Astronomy Observatory)

Recent years have seen a kindling of interest in signal processing solutions to radio frequency interference (RFI) to astronomical observations. Over a dozen refereed papers and several dozen conference presentations on the subject are now in the astronomical and engineering literature. This work builds on several decades of signal processing development in the fields of acoustics and communications for which there are a number of standard texts. Radio astronomy has the unique requirement that interference must be suppressed below very low detection thresholds before the scientific results of observations can be considered reliable. These detection thresholds are several orders of magnitude lower than is typical of communications signal levels. Initial trials of coherent cancellation of TV and satellite signals and blanking of pulsed interference, such as radar and aircraft signals, are encouraging, but the signal processing power required for useful bandwidths is sobering. Simultaneous cancellation of many signals and compensation for multi-path propagation effects of distant transmitters add to the processing load and are challenges that remain to be tackled.

Spectrum management is becoming increasingly complex with greater emphasis on spectrum sharing in the time and spacial domains. This requires a better understanding of long-distance propagation effects and the techniques and economics of signal separation to guide the protection of the scientific use of the radio spectrum. The traditional concept of frequency allocations will be only one aspect of spectrum management in the coming years. Active users of the spectrum will expect us to devote some of our engineering and managerial resources to spectrum sharing agreements, Hence, we need to continually build a firm technical footing upon which to base our negotiating positions.

The NRAO is operated for the National Science Foundation (NSF) by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), under a cooperative agreement.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: rfisher@nrao.edu

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