An Analysis of Helicopter Rotor Modulation Interference

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1 May 1973

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In satellite-to-helicopter communications, interference exists on the incoming signal when the receiving antenna is located below the rotor blades. A bound is established for the performance of a coherent fixed-tone ranging system operating at L band in this interference environment. The scalar diffracted field beneath the rotating blades, at L band and above, is found to satisfy the criterion of Fresnel diffraction, and is computed using the techniques of Fourier optics. The diffracted field is expressed in terms of a narrow-band signal. The amplitude and phase components are calculated from a Fourier Series expansion using the FFT algorithm. The significant harmonics of the phase component of the interference combine with the baseband of the narrow-band, phase-modulated ranging signal. This results in CW interference, and in rearrangement of the first-order, sideband, ranging-tone channel powers. The degradation in ranging accuracy is evaluated by computing the signal-to-interference (SIR) ratio for a set of ranging tones. The post-detection (SIR)PD at the output of the correlator is shown to be a function of the amplitude of the phase harmonics of the interference, the relative difference between the ranging tone and interference center frequencies (a function of rotor speed), the rangetone modulation indices, and the post-detection filter noise bandwidth.