Long Distance Wireless Radio Frequency Link for the ITS Statewide Network

This project will investigate the microwave propagation conditions in the evaporative duct over Gulf of Mexico, between the Florida Keys and the western panhandle of Florida. Two locations will be chosen, one in the panhandle and one in the Keys, for the purpose of installing temporary microwave propagation stations. The temporary microwave propagation stations will be designed and built so as to investigate the characteristics of the evaporative duct. Propagation tests will be conducted to help determine whether the conditions are appropriate for the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) to consider installing a permanent network-connected microwave communications link between the panhandle and the Keys to help address the statewide Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) network vulnerabilities discussed above. The temporary microwave propagation stations will be constructed on mobile trailers provided by the FDOT and staged at the District 2 radio shop in Lake City, Florida. Once construction is complete, the propagation stations will be system tested to ensure functionality prior to deployment. The system testing will also provide an opportunity to perform any necessary system performance baseline assessments. After system testing the FDOT trailers will be delivered to the chosen sites in the panhandle and the Keys by qualified FDOT drivers. Once delivered, the research team will deploy the trailers and begin field testing. Field testing should last as long as necessary to determine how useful the b-LoS link will be. The optimal field test period would include both summer and winter months (to cover a wide range of evaporative conditions) so the schedule includes deployment in mid-summer 2016 and testing completion in mid-winter 2017, assuming a project start in early 2016. Field testing will include propagation tests at multiple appropriate microwave frequencies. Not less than two microwave frequencies are to be used and the FDOT will have final approval over their selection. The field tests are to be one-way tests, transmitting from the chosen temporary microwave propagation station location in the western panhandle to the chosen temporary microwave propagation station location in the Keys. Propagation conditions are to be checked at various times of day by sequencing through the available microwave frequencies. In particular the variation in the signal attenuation along the b-LoS path is to be studied. Additional path variables such as polarization variation should also be studied as time permits. All field test results shall be logged and time stamped for post-test analysis. Once completed, the field test results will be analyzed and recommendations presented to the FOOT in a final report. The final report must state whether or not the results indicate a b-LoS link between the western panhandle and the Keys is possible. If such a link is possible, the report must recommend what steps the FDOT should take next to work toward implementing such a link.