SkySense: Terrestrial and Aerial Spectrum Use Analysed Using Lightweight Sensing Technology with Weather Balloons



Given the availability of lightweight radio and processing technology, it becomes feasible to imagine spectrum sensing systems using weather balloons. Such balloons navigate the airspace up to 40 km, and can provide a bird’s eye and clear view of terrestrial, as well as aerial spectrum use. In this paper, we present SkySense, which is an extension of the Electrosense sensing framework with mobile GPS-located sensors and local data logging. In addition, we present 6 different sensing campaigns, targeting multiple terrestrial or aerial technologies such as ADS-B, AIS or LTE. For instance, for ADS-B, we can clearly conclude that the number of airplanes that are detected is the same for each balloon altitude, but the message reception rate decreases strongly with altitude because of collisions. For each sensing campaign, the dataset is described, and some example spectrum analysis results are presented. In addition, we analyse and quantify important trends visible when sensing from the sky, such as temperature and hardware variations, increased ambient interference levels, as well as hardware limitations of the lightweight system. A key challenge is the automatic gain control and dynamic range of the system, as a radio navigating over 30km, sees a very wide range of possible signal levels. All data is publicly available through the Electrosense framework, to encourage the spectrum sensing community to further analyse the data or motivate further measurement campaigns using weather balloons.

International Conference on Mobile Systems, Applications, and Services
Yago Lizarribar Carrillo
Yago Lizarribar Carrillo
PhD Student

Anything related to SDR, Machine-Learning, Wireless Communications or Robotics and I’m all ears.