Research with the Avionics Engineering Research Center

Natasha Norris

Natasha Norris,
Junior, Electrical Engineering

Athens, OH 3 December 2014

One of the many opportunities available to students at the Russ College is undergraduate research. I participate in research in the Avionics Engineering Research Center here at Ohio University. The Avionics Engineering Research Center is well known for its contribution to GPS navigation technology over the years.

My first project identified the effects of jammers on airplane GPS receivers. Jammers are also known as personal privacy devices; they emit RFI, or radio frequency interference to block a GPS signal and prevent the individual from being tracked. My current research uses a high-gain dish to look at a variety of effects on the GPS signal as it travels to the receiver.

I am utilizing MATLAB to create the code for data processing and satellite tracking from the high-gain dish. The program tracks one satellite for a specified time period. The narrow beam-width allows the dish to focus on one satellite at a time. The dish will track the satellite’s location from two line elements. Two line elements are orbital elements that describe the orbit of the GPS satellite. They will be used to compute the location of the satellite at a specific time and adjust the dish.

During tracking, the signal’s C/No (carrier-to-noise) ratio will be monitored to make sure the signal strength is accurate and the satellite number being monitored will be reported. After the raw signal is collected, the second MATLAB program will compute the distortions on the signal.

Co-ops are also a great opportunity to gain hands-on engineering experience. I have not participated in a co-op so far; I am debating whether I want to take one this summer or stick with research. Working with research in your undergraduate career can be as productive of an experience as participating in a co-op, you just have to figure out which one suits your career plan.

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