Indexed on: 06 Oct '15Published on: 06 Oct '15Published in: Sensors (Basel, Switzerland)
In order to track the carrier phases of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) signals in signal degraded environments, a dual antenna joint carrier tracking loop is proposed and evaluated. This proposed tracking loop processes inputs from two antennas, namely the master antenna and the slave antenna. The master antenna captures signals in open-sky environments, while the slave antenna capture signals in degraded environments. In this architecture, a Phase Lock Loop (PLL) is adopted as a master loop to track the carrier phase of the open-sky signals. The Doppler frequency estimated by this master loop is utilized to assist weak carrier tracking in the slave loop. As both antennas experience similar signal dynamics due to satellite motion and clock frequency variations, a much narrower loop bandwidth and possibly a longer coherent integration can be adopted to track the weak signals in slave channels, by utilizing the Doppler aid from master channels. PLL tracking performance is affected by the satellite/user dynamics, clock instability, and thermal noise. In this paper, their impacts on the proposed phase tracking loop are analyzed and verified by both simulation and field data. Theoretical analysis and experimental results show that the proposed loop structure can track degraded signals (i.e., 18 dB-Hz) with a very narrow loop bandwidth (i.e., 0.5 Hz) and a TCXO clock.