RTK Radio Simulation

Radio Base Simulation Service

What is it?

The RTK Radio Simulation service is a simulation of an RTK Radio Base Station which is specific to your proposed site location or locations and with your hardware.  The service will provide an accurate map showing the radio signal propagation to help you choose the correct setup for your needs.  The service can also be used to optimise your current hardware by making recommendations on improvements or troubleshooting and finding solutions for blackspots.  The aim is to empower you to make informed decisions on Base Station installations without the trial and error factor.

Comparison between a 0.5W 1.5m Mobile Tripod base and a 25W 15m fixed installation base

Comparison between a 25 Watt 15m base station ( left ) and a 0.5W 1.5m mobile tripod ( right )

Having suffered with black spots in my RTK coverage for three years my radio installation provider convinced me I needed to upgrade my transmission power through a new radio, new cabling and a new antenna.  In reality all I needed to do was raise my mast by 5m and improve the quality of the antennas on my vehicles.  This investment saved me several thousand pounds, not including any follow up work if the new hardware didn’t improve the situation or the increased costs associated with a more powerful transmission license.

For a quote on a survey please use the contact form to the right, for more information on the service please read below.

What is the benefit ?

Installing a base station only to find you are not getting the coverage expected is a costly mistake, the potential black spots not only add frustration they diminish the value of your investment.

With an accurate simulation of the expected coverage you can be sure you are aware of problematic areas before any commitment is made.  Our simulations take into account the many variables of your station in-order to closely match that of the real world.

Base Details

Frequency

The higher the frequency the shorter the wavelength, the shorter the wavelength the less a signal will diffract around objects including hills and valleys.

Transmission Power

The transmission power is integral to any base station installation, too low and the radio signals will not reach the destination, too high and you may face extra costs from your communications regulator e.g OfCom or the FCC.  Finding the balance between what you need and the equipment needed to achieve that goal can be easily aided with a simulation.  More often than not informed placement of a base station will provide much greater benefit to simply increasing the transmission power.

Antenna Height
Advice on antenna height required to achieve required coverage

Advice on antenna height required to achieve required coverage

UHF ( Ultra High Frequency ) radio transmission is very much a line of sight solution, the higher the antenna, in most circumstances, the better the coverage.  However the practicalities often dictate what is feasible.  Using a survey you can instantly see the benefit to any infrastructure you may need to put in.

Antenna Gain

Antenna gain is usually defined as the ratio of the power produced by the antenna from a far-field source on the antenna’s beam axis to the power produced by a hypothetical lossless isotropic antenna, which is equally sensitive to signals from all directions.

In plain English, a radio emits a finite amount of power, with an antenna with a 0 gain emits its signal similar to a doughnut tight around the antenna, this limits the distance the radio waves can travel, however improves the coverage in hills and holes nearby.

Comparison of increased antenna gain

Comparison of increased antenna gain

A higher gain antenna will emit its power like a squashed doughnut, the radio waves travel further however the signal is in a narrower band so more likely to suffer from hills and shading.  Since an RTK signal is only truly valid for less than ~30km then an antenna which has a gain such that the transmission power reaches the horizon is not absolutely necessary.

Average climate

The atmospheric conditions like climate and weather vary in the different areas of the world, and affect both the refractive index of free air and play an important role in determining the strength and fading properties of radio signals. For instance, the refractive index gradient of air near the surface of the earth determines the way a radio ray is bent or refracted as it passes through the atmosphere.

Topography
Radio signal coverage

Poor radio signal coverage highlighted in valley bottom

Extensive elevation data for the surface of the Earth and taking into account the sensor height above ground, the target height above ground (nap of the earth flight), the topography, and the earth curvature.
The coverage uses the average earth radius to simulate earth curvature. This explains the difference observed with the radio coverage, where the radio beam tends to bend toward ground.

Landcover

Water, Evergreen, Broadleaf, Mixed Forest, Woodland, Grassland, Open/Closed Shrubland, Cropland, Desert, Urban Lowcover and Urban Highcover land cover are all accounted for.  All land uses affect the coverage, an area behind dense woodland will have a poor reception compared to open desert or signal over water.

Other Factors

We also take into account the loss in the cable from the transmission radio to the antenna, loss in the cable connectors, the types of radio used and the type of antenna on the vehicle to ensure that the simulation is as correct as possible.