280 CASES: A Novel Low-Cost Ground-based GPS Software Receiver

Monday, 24 January 2011
Geoff Crowley, Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates, San Antonio, TX; and P. M. Kintner Jr., M. Psaiki, T. E. Humphreys, S. Powell, B. O'Hanlon, A. Reynolds, and G. S. Bust

GPS receivers can be used for monitoring space weather events such as TEC variations and scintillation. The new CASES GPS sensor developed by ASTRA, Cornell and UTAustin represents a revolutionary advance in dual frequency GPS space-weather monitoring. CASES is a paperback-novel-sized dual-frequency GPS software receiver with robust dual-frequency tracking performance, stand-alone capability, and complete software upgradability. This sensor measures and calculates TEC with a relative accuracy of a few 0.01 TECU at a cadence of up to 100 Hz. It measures amplitude and phase at up to 100 Hz on both L1 and L2, for up to 12 satellites in view. It calculates the scintillation severity indicators S4, ô0, and óö at a cadence that is user defined. It is able to track through scintillation with {S4, ô0, amplitude} combinations as severe as {0.8, 0.8 seconds, 43 dB-Hz (nominal)} (i.e., commensurate with vigorous post-sunset equatorial scintillation) with a mean time between cycle slips greater than 240 seconds and with a mean time between frequency-unlock greater than 1 hour. Other capabilities and options include: Various data interface solutions; In-receiver and network-wide calibration of biases, and detection and mitigation of multipath; Network-wide automated remote configuration of receivers, quality control, re-processing, archiving and redistribution of data in real-time; Software products for data-processing and visualization. The low price of the sensor means that many more instruments can be purchased on a fixed budget, which will lead to new kinds of opportunities for monitoring and scientific study, including networked applications. Other uses for CASES receivers include geodetic and seismic monitoring, measurement of precipitable water vapor in the troposphere at meso-scale resolution, and educational outreach.
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