GPS receiver performance characterization under realistic ionospheric phase scintillation environments



[1] It is well known that ionospheric scintillation has the potential to affect all types of GPS receivers, even dual-frequency military precise-positioning service versions. In a previous effort the degree of degradation to Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) operation caused by scintillation, on the basis of simulated data input to an actual WAAS reference receiver under carefully controlled laboratory conditions at Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, was analyzed and reported [Morrissey et al., 2000]. This degradation is manifested in increased errors for carrier phase and code range measurements and in a higher probability of loss of GPS signal track. However, the results supported the assessment that scintillation should not be a problem for WAAS receivers in the conterminous United States, except perhaps during the very rare occurrence of a “severe geomagnetic storm.” The previous work was briefed in a number of fora, and a detailed report was widely distributed throughout the ionospheric community along with a request for identification of any “gaps” in the results that could be addressed with further testing. From the feedback received, the following tests were conducted: (1) tests with long-duration deep amplitude nulls, corresponding to the GPS signal moving with the ionospheric disturbance; (2) tests with phase scintillation waveforms derived from 50 Hz ionospheric scintillation monitor (ISM) data previously collected by the U.S. Air Force (Philips Laboratory) at Antofagosta, Chile; (3) tests of a modified military single-frequency receiver (Enhanced Miniaturized Airborne GPS Receiver (EMAGR)) side-by-side with the WAAS receiver, with emphasis on maintaining lock at L1; and (4) tests at values of input carrier-to-noise ratio (CNR) lower (i.e., down to 36 dB Hz) than those used in the original tests. The tests with deep amplitude nulls were reported by Morrissey et al. [2002], and the tests with realistic input phase scintillation waveforms were reported at the Ionospheric Effects Symposium (IES) 2002. The current paper is based upon the IES 2002 results as modified by recent testing. Both these amplitude and phase results include EMAGR and low CNR performance.