Distributed Passive Sensor Network for the Geolocation of RF Emitters

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The ability to localize an RF emitter has emerged in both commercial and military technology, and is an important capability in modern cognitive radios to achieve spectral awareness. Of importance, is the accuracy of the geolocation of the RF emitter. In this thesis, we address the blind localization problem given a network of software-defined radio receivers that monitor the spectrum to determine the presence of an unknown emitter. We discuss the underlying challenges and various approaches to the geolocation problem that can be utilized. In particular, two algorithms that are used extensively in literature are investigated: time-difference of arrival, and power-difference of arrival. In the first part of the thesis, the algorithms are presented, and the error performance is characterized analytically, and then conducted through simulation. A more robust method which implements the fusion of both algorithms for an improved estimation. In the second part, we conduct a small- scale laboratory emulation of the geolocation algorithms on a network of radios to

contrast the simulation results of the algorithms from the emulation results. The results provided insight to the shortcomings of each algorithm, and potential extensions for further accuracy improvement.