22 January 2020

SkyOFDM 28-tone 86Hz 65.6Bd PSK2 (2)

Just for background it might be helpful to read the previous post.

Most likely the signal that is continuously transmitted on 4150 KHz/usb is a modded or a new waveform of the Skysweep Technologies proprietary "SkyOFDM" family. SkyOFDM is a high speed modem based on the OFDM and turbo coding technologies.  It offers several baud  rates (300-9600  bps) and two different interleaving options (short and long). Also there are two bandwidth options: 2000Hz (OFDM 22 tones) and 2400 Hz (OFDM 28 tones).

Fig. 1 - SkySweeper running the SkyOFDM modem
I tried the SkyOFDM modes available in SkySweeper 5.13 (Fig. 1), a Windows based product for radio data decoding and signal analysis developed by SkySweep.  As expected, I could not synthesize the exact waveform running on 4158 KHz since the different speeds, modulations, and ACF:

params SkyOFDM 4150 Hz OFDM
bandwidth (Hz) 2000, 2400 2400
preamble 7 tones 7 tones
tones 22, 28 28
shift (Hz) 86 86
Baud rate 60.56, 64, 79 65.57x
modulations PSK2, PSK4, QAM PSK2/SDPSKx
ACF (ms) 78, 113.4 76.2x

A peculiar difference lies in the type of the used modulations: for example, if you filter out and look at the modulation used in the second channel, you will see that is not PSK2 but SDPSK (Simmetric Differential PSK), thus it seems that channels are mixed artfully (Fig. 2 ).

Fig. 2
In SA Phase-Plane using n-Ary = 4 and absolute mode (diff=0) the transitions between states are similar to QPSK but without diagonal paths; in differential mode (diff=1) we see transitions between two states (Fig. 3) (1).

Fig. 3
According to some utility DXers, SkyOFDM waveforms were used by Finnish MFA and that's correct since SkySweep Technologies is a Finnish high tech company. Although there are still many references in the web to SkySweep, their official website is no longer online: this suggests a ceased activity or an incorporation into another company. Indeed, looking at waybackmachine.com, the site skysweep.com was crawled last time on 13 June 2017; by the way, SkySweeper software was discontinued on June 1st 2009.
That said, the permanence of this signal on 4150 KHz and its purpose are still unknown to me as well as other friends.

(1) PSK encodes the input data sequences in pahes (states), while Differential PSK (DPSK) encodes the input data in the phase difference (transitions) between successive bits or symbols. This means that there would be a phase change in the modulation signal if the two successive bits in the input data sequence are different (0 to 1 or 1 to 0), and no phase changes if the successive bits are the same. DPSK is called conventional DPSK (or CDPSK) if the phase differences is in the set of [0,π] and symmetrical DPSK (SDPSK, also called π/2-DPSK) if the phase difference is in the set of [π/2,-π/2]. As you see in Fig. 3 the transitions in differential mode (diff=1) are in the set of [π/2,-π/2] so most likely it's a SDPSK (π/2-DPSK). 

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