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Digital transmission techniques for a long haul HF link: DSSS versus OFDM



This paper presents two digital transmission techniques for long haul ionospheric links. Since 2003 we have studied the HF link between the Antarctic Spanish Base, Juan Carlos I, and Spain; and we have described the link in terms of availability, signal-to-noise ratio, and delay and Doppler power profile. Based on these previous studies we have developed a test bed to investigate two digital transmission techniques, i.e., Direct-Sequence Spread Spectrum (DSSS) and Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing (OFDM), which can provide a low power, low-rate ionospheric data link from Antarctica. Symbol length, bandwidth, and constellation are some of the features that are analyzed in this work. Data gathered from the link throughout the 2010/2011 and 2011/2012 Antarctic surveys show that the spread spectrum techniques can be used to transmit data at low rate when the channel forecast is poor, but when the channel forecast is good multicarrier techniques can be used to transmit sporadic bursts of data at higher rate.

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