The development of an error-correcting scheme for use with a six-tone HF modem

Stanfield, Calvin (1997). The development of an error-correcting scheme for use with a six-tone HF modem. PhD thesis The Open University.



This thesis describes the development of an error correcting system for a H.F. modem employing 6-tone Multi-Frequency Shift Keying (MFSK) as its modulation scheme. The modulation scheme was chosen to be compatible with equipment already in service and to eliminate the need to modify the existing communications infrastructure.

A convolutional code together with either Viterbi decoding or Fano decoding is chosen to provide the error correction because of the potential power of such codes and because it is possible for these combinations of code and decoding method to work with any alphabet size. To detect whether correction has been successful a Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) is embedded within the data block before encoding.

A method of using a convolutional code to provide variable rate is presented. The method uses a systematic code so that it is possible for the scheme to have a quick look to see if the first data transmission has been received error free. A search for good codes is undertaken and the effect the alphabet size has on the code spectra discussed. It is shown that a good generator sequence for a binary code is also a good generator sequence for non-binary codes.

To decode the convolutional code both the Viterbi maximum likelihood decoder and the Fano sequential decoder are studied. It is argued that the Fano sequential decoder is the better choice for this application because it makes better use of system resources which will be limited in the field equipment. It is also shown that the performance of multi-level codes is better than binary codes and that an alphabet size of around 6 is optimum.

The throughput of the variable rate scheme and a number of fixed rate schemes is examined. It is shown that the variable rate scheme provides the best throughput at all data rates and that the throughput improvement at the higher data rates is greatest. The effect of interleaving is also examined and results presented.

To support the variable rate scheme a protocol is developed that can be used on practical H.F. channels. The potential problems with errors on both the forward and return channel are analysed and mechanisms to deal with these built-in.

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