TV Signals: Viable Alternate to RADAR
The same frequency signals that carry our favorite television shows can also be dedicated for other purposes. The UK based NATS team has already been working on the concept and performing trials to use standard TV signals to detect an aircraft.
NATS ATC are working and testing the reliability of TV signals for detecting remote objects. This so called “passive radar” signals, uses the combination of television and radio broadcasts to highlight any objects. The instrument uses many antennas and detect the bounced back/reflected signals which then gets processed by computers which accurately pinpoints the position, speed and direction of any nearby aircraft.
The experiments mainly took place over London for over the period of 2 years. They tracked nearly 30 aircraft at once,up to 10,000 feet. According to the NATS System Engineer Nick Young, “the use TV signals may become a reality one day. The currently installed radar instruments are huge and expensive on the other hand, TV signals are economic and free from any interference.”