PLANNING NATIONWIDE DIRECTION FINDING NETWORK

October 27, 2022
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Air traffic manager ROMATSA turned to ATDI to help manage Romania’s airspace.

ATDI is undertaking a coverage study and technical design service to enable the installation of a nationwide radio direction finder sensors (DF) network. The study aims to identify the optimal number of sites and locations for the installation of the DF sensor network.

The ATDI team will identify the best locations for direction finders from a database of sites supplied by various stakeholders. With the potential site locations defined, the DF equipment parameters are imported into HTZ, including antenna heights. ATDI will undertake DF coverage calculations, which are overlaid on a localised map to analyse their accuracy. For areas with poor coverage, additional site locations will be identified. During the site searching phase, potential new DF sites are identified. ATDI undertakes site surveys by modelling prospective coverage for the proposed new locations, with the results overlaid on a localised map to ensure accuracy.

Fig. 1 DF site search to identify the best coverage

The outputs from the study are a list of potential DF locations and associated antenna heights, plus DF coverage maps and a DF localisation accuracy map. The modelling is completed in HTZ Communications.

Simulation of DF localisation accuracy
Fig. 2 Simulating DF localisation accuracy

Romatsa
Romania’s air traffic controller steps up to growing pressure on how they manage their airspace. This project aims to optimise air traffic control operations by increasing capacity. Air traffic controllers identify targets corresponding to a flight in the VHF band with targets on the radar screen. By implementing direction finders, Romatsa can identify aircraft quicker, so improving response times and reducing risk.

Demand for a DF sensor network emerged in response to Romatsa’s management of the South East Europe Free Route airspace agreement, part of which determines the flight areas (hot areas) and the radar targets corresponding to them. Added to that, their management of the impact of COVID-19 on air traffic volumes and the re-routing of aircraft due to restrictions imposed by the war in Ukraine has also presented problems.

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