Tactical Antenna Switching and Positioning System (TASPS)

Period of Performance: 05/10/2002 - 11/10/2002

$100K

Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Syntonics LLC
9160 Red Branch Road Array
Columbia, MD 21045
Principal Investigator

Abstract

To meet SOCOM's desire for an inexpensive, lightweight, autonomous UHF satcom antenna system that will operate onboard a maneuvering ship, Syntonics proposes to combine four technologies in a single system: (1) Electronically steered, phased-array flat panel antennas; (2) Integrated GPS, to facilitate signal auto-acquisition; (3) Beam dithering, to enable signal auto-tracking; (4) Signal strength comparison, to enable antenna auto-switching. This combination of four technologies will give SOCOM a user-friendly, highly automated antenna system that maximizes "up time" and minimizes user intervention. Portable satellite communications systems have become ubiquitous and the market for user-friendly satellite antenna systems is growing. The TASPS technology will directly appeal to any DOD user of portable SATCOM radios with intermittent blockages, such as arise onboard a maneuvering ship. Civilian agency users (e.g., Drug Enforcement Agency) who occasionally operate aboard ships also represent potential users of this technology. More significantly for commercialization, a one-antenna version of TASPS will appeal to mobile land-based users of SATCOM. Most land-based SATCOM antennas have no tracking ability, so a user must setup and remain stationary while communicating. TASPS' auto-acquisition and auto-tracking features will enable continuous communications while "on the move."