Direct position determination of multiple radio signals

Anthony J. Weiss, Alon Amar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The most common methods for position determination of radio signal emitters such as communications or radar transmitters are based on measuring a specified parameter such as angle of arrival (AOA) or time of arrival (TOA) of the signal. The measured parameters are then used to estimate the transmitter's location. Since the measurements are done at each base station independently, without using the constraint that the AOA/TOA estimates at different base stations should correspond to the same transmitter's location, this is a suboptimal location determination technique. Further, if the number of array elements at each base station is M, and the signal waveforms are unknown, the number of cochannel simultaneous transmitters that can be localized by AOA is limited to M - 1. Also, most AOA algorithms fail when the sources are not well angularly separated. We propose a technique that uses exactly the same data as the common AOA methods but the position determination is direct. The proposed method can handle more than M - 1 cochannel simultaneous signals. Although there are many stray parameters, only a two-dimensional search is required for a planar geometry. The technique provides a natural solution to the measurements sources association problem that is encountered in AOA-based location systems. In addition to new algorithms, we provide analytical performance analysis, Cramér-Rao bounds and Monte Carlo simulations. We demonstrate that the proposed approach frequently outperforms the traditional AOA methods for unknown as well as known signal waveforms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)37-49
Number of pages13
JournalEurasip Journal on Applied Signal Processing
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Angle of arrival
  • Array processing
  • Emitter localization
  • Time of arrival


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