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SAPERA: Spectric’s LPI/LPD Collection and Analysis Tool


SAPERA, Spectric Lab’s internal signal collection and analysis tool, has received a number of upgrades leading up to the Army’s Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Cyber, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (C5ISR) center’s Network Modernization Experiment (NetModX) demonstration event. These upgrades have significantly increased the ease-of-use for our engineers as well as providing them with new capabilities to leverage in demonstrating our products to C5ISR at NetModX. We will explain what our SAPERA tool is, how our team of engineers use it to support the Army, and how some of the recent key upgrades work. Particularly, we will discuss several stability upgrades as well as several added features to increase signal capture quality and analyzability.



SAPERA is Spectric’s internal signal collection and analysis tool. Our tool provides engineers with the ability to view the radio frequency (RF) spectrum and the signals therein using SigPlot(For more on SigPlot see: Using a local code playground to develop with SigPlot), take and view snapshots of those signals, and analyze them for hidden signals using a variety of techniques including cyclostationary techniques, autocorrelation, 2nd and 4th Power Spectral Densities (PSD), and more. These enable us to evaluate our products' LPI/LPD capabilities and demonstrate their resilience to these detection techniques.

Figure 1: Live View Power Spectral Density (PSD) Raster of 3 radio stations.

SAPERA's value is not only in providing a GUI to take, display, and analyze these snapshots, but in its ease of use, which enables the user to quickly take a snapshot and analyze it in one application. This enables near instant feedback on the performance of our signals, which in turn allows us to adjust our experiments and evaluate our solution without needing multiple applications and programs. Having an easy-to-use lightweight GUI in the field, makes it significantly easier to evaluate live metrics. In a demonstration environment, such as NetModX, where test time is limited, those extra seconds matter.


SAPERA: Updates for NetModX

In the months leading up to C5ISR’s NetModX event, a variety of updates were identified by our team, which have made the tool significantly more useful to our engineers. Specifically, we increased the stability of the tool and added several new capabilities, including sub-band tuning and histograms.

SAPERA's live view lets users monitor and collect live samples from the RF Spectrum, view those RF Snapshots, and perform various analysis techniques on the signals. These analyses allow us to detect our LPI/LPD waveform to ensure that it is behaving as expected and demonstrate its capabilities in a visual manner. Some of the key upgrades to the user interface were:

1. Adding a histogram to the Live view and the Recording view to allow the users to gauge signal capture quality before attempting to process the data. The histogram provides the user with instant feedback on whether the receiver is saturated, causing the incoming data to be clipped.

2. Improved stability when performing repeated analyses.

3. Improved Software Defined Radio (SDR) connectivity.

4. Updating the PSD plots in the live view without requiring a restart.

5. Adding more granularity in how users can isolate signals in time and frequency. Users can create a new sub-band tuned and thinned file containing just the selected signal.

Figure 2: The live view of SAPERA viewing an example signal.



These quality-of-life upgrades and new features all work together to efficiently and effectively make SAPERA a powerful tool for our engineers during development and while deployed in the field. By packaging all the necessary tools for in-field signal collection, isolation, and analysis into one quick and easy to use application, it saves our engineers time and allows them to focus on delivering solutions. These enhancements augmented our team’s performance at C5ISR's NetModX and empowered us to showcase new competencies in advancing the future warfighter.

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