Analysis of surveillance performance at Chicago O'Hare Airport
January 28, 1994
This report describes the results of RF measurements of the 1030 and 1090 MHz environment in the Chicago terminal area conducted by Lincoln Laboratory in October 1991. The measurements were made at the request of the FAA in response to reports by controllers in Chicago that TCAS interrogations are affecting the surveillance performance of the Chicago Secondary Surveillance Radar (SSR). The Airborne Meauserements Facility (AMF), developed at Lincoln Laboratory, was used to gather TCAS and SSR interrogation and reply data in the vicinity of O'Hare Airport during periods of active TCAS operation. Simultaneously, local aircraft track data were collected using the Automated Radar Terminal System (ARTS) data recording facility. Analysis of both the AMF data and the ARTS data show that TCAS interrogations do not cause significant degradation in SSR surveillance performance and that the average Chicago ARTS track performance in the presence of TCAS-equipped aircraft is comparable to earlier measurements of track performance in Chicago as well as at a number of other high-density terminal areas. Specific regions within the CHicago surveillance area were observed to contain concentrations of poor ARTS track performance, and analysis of the data has shown the cause to be differential vertical lobing associated with the SSR antenna and faulty Mode S transponders on certain aircarrier aircraft. Both of these problems have subsequently been corrected.