FCC Requests Comment on Mine, Tunnel Monitoring Technology
Monday, December 18, 2017 | Comments

The FCC requested comment on a request for waiver filed by IDS GeoRadar to permit certification and use of its 76 – 77 GHz band Hyper Definition Radar (HYDRA) system in mines and tunnels to detect potential collapses, landslides and rockfalls.

HYDRA is a remote sensing mechanism that uses radiolocation to monitor rock and soil surface deformations. The lower power version (28 dBm effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP)) is used for monitoring at close ranges (up to 200 meters) in underground mines and tunnels, while the higher power version (45 dBm EIRP) is used for monitoring open pit mines, with a range up to 800 meters. IDS said the technology achieves higher accuracy and spatial resolution than current technologies, and the use of the 76 – 77 GHz band results in a smaller antenna that can be moved more easily to where it is needed as mining or construction progresses.

The 76-77 GHz band is allocated for radiolocation use but is not available to the Part 90 radiolocation service. Instead, the commission designated the band for licensed-by-rule operation under Part 95, but only for vehicular radar, and fixed and mobile radar at airports. The FCC declined to permit additional types of fixed radar in the band to avoid interference to vehicular radar.

IDS requested a waiver of the FCC’s rules to permit equipment approval and site-by-site licensing of its HYDRA radar system for use in underground mine monitoring, tunnel construction and open pit mining operations. The company said the emitted signal will be confined within the mines and tunnels, and therefore, will not cause interference to vehicular radar or other services operating in the 76 – 77 GHz band. IDS argued that granting a waiver is in the public interest because use of HYDRA will improve safety in mines and tunnels.

Comments are due Jan. 17, and reply comments are due Feb. 1. The full notice is here.

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