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Senior Project - Spiral


Turntable Control and Instrumentation Interface

Senior Project: 2004-2005
Michael Albair, Sarah Bello, David Brown, John Maitin and Preston Robler

The Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (ITS) is the chief research and engineering arm of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). ITS supports such NTIA telecommunications objectives as promotion of advanced telecommunications and information infrastructure development in the United States, enhancement of domestic competitiveness, improvement of foreign trade opportunities for U.S. telecommunications firms, and facilitation of more efficient and effective use of the radio spectrum. ITS also serves as a principal Federal resource for solving the telecommunications concerns of other Federal agencies, state and local Governments, private corporations and associations, and international organizations.

The Table Mountain Field Site is one of NTIA's primary test sites. The site hosts a thirty-five foot rotating steel turntable which is mounted on the ground over a nine foot testing lab. The turntable is used to rotate large objects, such as vehicles, to measure radio frequency antenna patterns.

In the Spring of 2004, students from the University of Colorado Boulder designed a new control system for the turntable. Once the new control system was in place and could accurately rotate the turntable, NTIA wanted a graphical user interface to control it, as well as to configure, send and receive data to/from multiple instrument sources and receivers. With this new controller and software interface, the engineers at the Table Mountain Field Site would be able to more efficiently and accurately configure and run experiments and record transmitted data from the receivers. This will shorten time spent on setting up tests to read in frequency data, allow more time for analyzing the data, and most importantly increase measurement precision.

The solution was Spiral, a software application programmed in Java, which automates the testing process. The program allows for simple configuration and control of sources, receivers and the turntable through a graphical user interface. Due to a modular design, the program also allows for the simple addition of new devices as they are acquired by NTIA. This program controls all aspects of the testing process, except for the actual analysis of the gathered data. All gathered data is stored in an ASCII text file for later parsing in MATLAB or other applications.

Source Configuration
Source Configuration
Receiver Configuration
Receiver Configuration
Turntable Configuration
Turntable Configuration
Running a Test
Running a Test
Team, Sponsor and Turntable
Team, Sponsor and Turntable
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Department of Computer Science
College of Engineering and Applied Science
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Boulder, CO 80309-0430 USA
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