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Use of software-defined radio receivers in two-way satellite time and frequency transfers for UTC computation
BIPM Bureau International des Poids et Mesures, France.
NIST National Institute of Standards and Technology, USA.
TL National Standard Time and Frequency Laboratory, Taiwan.
Observatoire de Paris, France.
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2018 (English)In: Metrologia, ISSN 0026-1394, E-ISSN 1681-7575, Vol. 55, no 5, p. 685-698Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Two-way satellite time and frequency transfer (TWSTFT) is a primary technique for the generation of coordinated universal time (UTC). About 20 timing laboratories around the world continuously operate TWSTFT using satellite time and ranging equipment (SATRE19) modems for remote time and frequency comparisons in this context. The precision of the SATRE TWSTFT as observed today is limited by an apparent daily variation pattern (diurnal) in the TWSTFT results. The observed peak-to-peak variation have been found as high as 2 ns in some cases. Investigations into the origins of the diurnals have so far provided no complete understanding about the cause of the diurnals. One major contributor to the diurnals, however, could be related to properties of the receive part in the modem. In 2014 and 2015, it was demonstrated that bypassing the receive part and the use of software-defined radio (SDR) receivers in TWSTFT ground stations (SDR TWSTFT) instead could considerably reduce both the diurnals and the measurement noise. In 2016, the International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM) and the Consultative Committee for Time and Frequency (CCTF) working group (WG) on TWSTFT launched a pilot study on the application of SDR receivers in the TWSTFT network for UTC computation. The first results of the pilot study were reported to the CCTF WG on TWSTFT annual meeting in May 2017, demonstrating that SDR TWSTFT shows superior performance compared to that of SATRE TWSTFT for practically all links between participating stations. In particular, for continental TWSTFT links, in which the strongest diurnals appear, the use of SDR TWSTFT results in a significant suppression of the diurnals by a factor of between two and three. For the very long inter-continental links, e.g. the Europe-to-USA links where the diurnals are less pronounced, SDR TWSTFT achieved a smaller but still significant gain of 30%. These findings are supported by an evaluation of some of the links with an alternate technique based on GPS signals (GPS IPPP) as reported in this paper. Stimulated by these results, the WG on TWSTFT prepared a recommendation for the 21st CCTF meeting, which proposed the introduction of SDR TWSTFT in UTC generation. With CCTF approval of the recommendation, a roadmap was developed for the implementation of SDR TWSTFT in UTC generation. In accordance with the roadmap, most of the stations that participated in the pilot study have updated the SDR TWSTFT settings to facilitate the use of SDR TWSTFT data in UTC generation. In addition, the BIPM conducted a final evaluation to validate the long-term stability of SDR TWSTFT links, made test runs using the BIPM standard software for the calculation of UTC, now including SDR TWSTFT data, and started to calculate SDR TWSTFT time links as backup from October 2017. The use of SDR TWSTFT in UTC generation will begin in 2018.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 55, no 5, p. 685-698
Keywords [en]
diurnal, SDR, time transfer, TWSTFT, uncertainty, UTC, Analog circuits, Global positioning system, Modems, Radio, Radio receivers, Satellites, Software testing, Time measurement, Units of measurement, Coordinated universal time, Software Defined Radio (SDR), Time- and frequency comparisons, Two-way satellite time and frequency transfers, Software radio
National Category
Physical Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ri:diva-37288DOI: 10.1088/1681-7575/aacbe6Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85053907924OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ri-37288DiVA, id: diva2:1280327
Available from: 2019-01-18 Created: 2019-01-18 Last updated: 2019-03-28Bibliographically approved

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Rieck, Carsten

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