The enhanced Airborne Measurement Facility recording system
January 31, 1995
The Airborne Measurement Facility (AMF) is a data collection system that receives and records pulse and other information on the 1030/1090-MHz frequencies used by the FAA's secondary surveillance radar and collision avoidance systems. These systems include the Air Traffic Control Radar Beacon System (ATCRBS), the Mode Select (Mode S) Beacon System, and the Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System (TCAS). Designed and constructed by MIT Lincoln Laboratory in the 1970s, this unique measurement tool has been used to conduct advanced research in beacon-based air traffic control (ATC) over the past 20 years. The original AMF included a recorder capable of recording at the maximum rate of 2 Mbits/sec. Although this recording system worked well, it had become difficult to maintain in recent years. In 1993, the Air Traffic Surveillance Group, with support from the FAA, decided to incorporate the latest tape recording technology into an enhanced AMF recording system. The main purpose of this report is to provide guidance to analysts for AMF operation and data analysis. Finally, this report complements an AMF User's Manual, which is a more detailed document for using and maintaining the AMF.