Development of Broadband Underwater Radio Communication for Application in Unmanned Underwater Vehicles
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This paper presents several novel designs of small form factor underwater radio antennas operating in the 2 MHz, 50 MHz and 2.4 GHz bands. These antennas efficiently excite surface electromagnetic waves (SEW) which propagate along the surface of seawater. The antenna operation is made possible due to implementation of an impedance matching enclosure, which is filled with de-ionized water. Enhanced coupling to surface electromagnetic waves is enabled by the enhancement of the electromagnetic field at the antenna apex. These features allow us to make antenna dimensions considerably smaller compared to typical free space designs. They also considerably improve coupling of electromagnetic energy to the surrounding seawater. Since SEW propagation length is considerably larger than the skin depth in seawater, this technique is useful for underwater broadband wireless communication. We conclude that the developed broadband underwater radio communication technique will be useful in networking of unmanned underwater vehicles.