terrain-, and protocol-dependent: different systems have different transmitter densities and different typical transmitting powers. Any justifiable angular resolution requirement would be frequency-dependent, such that the survey would achieve lower resolution at lower frequencies and higher resolution at higher frequencies. This relationship has to do with the nature of multipath scattering versus frequency as well as with fundamental limitations in angular resolution—resolution improves with increasing aperture in wavelengths. The ability to locate emitters with sufficient accuracy to facilitate the identification of sources would be the goal of the survey, and given the dependencies mentioned above, the necessary spatial resolution would depend on the frequency and on what can be afforded.

Finding: Greater efforts to collect and analyze radio emission data are needed to support the enforcement of existing allocations and to support the discussion and planning of spectrum use.

Finding: Better utilization of the spectrum and reduced RFI for scientific as well as commercial applications are possible with better knowledge of actual spectrum usage. Progress toward these goals would be made by gathering more information through improved and continuous spectral monitoring. This would be beneficial to both the commercial and the scientific communities.


Current measurements of spectral utilization and its impact on passive systems may not be indicative of future spectral use. The drivers for additional spectral bands for intensive use, the allocation of additional bands, and the development of “smart” flexible radio technology will have a profound impact on future use. The following assessment for the time period 2008-2015 is based on well-established drivers, currently allocated spectral bands, and technology that is under development. This assessment has a high-to-moderate level of confidence. That said, the impact from regulatory changes can be profound—for example, increases in power levels or emission levels permitted outside the primary transmission band could create an RF environment much less useful for passive systems.

Assessment of Trends in Spectrum Use for 2008-2015

The current trend toward more intensive use of the RF spectrum will continue unabated for both commercial and government uses. Within the United States, the continued desire for higher levels of access to the Internet (Figure 4.3), coupled with the increased desire for mobility, will incite the development of new commercial systems. Technology is also a major driver for more intensive use. New mobile

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