Performance Analysis of a RTK Vector Phase-Locked Loop Architecture for GPS Signal Tracking in Degraded Environments

Scott M. Martin

Peer Reviewed

Abstract: This paper investigates the application of a vector tracking approach to carrier phase tracking for improved tracking in degraded signal environments. In contrast to many vector-based carrier phase tracking approaches, the algorithms described in this paper do not rely on local loop filters to maintain phase lock. A relative position vector estimate, fixed-integer carrier ambiguities, and measurements from the base station are used to drive the carrier replica. To test carrier phase tracking approaches, Monte Carlo simulations were performed to compare the performance of a real-time kinematic (RTK) vector phase-locked loop (VPLL) approach with the performance obtained by scalar tracking. In these simulations, the RTK-VPLL maintains phase lock at carrier-to-noise density ratios 4 to 7 dB-Hz lower than the scalar tracking receiver. The proposed algorithms were tested using live sky data, and the RTK-VPLL performance was compared with the performance of a commercial global positioning system receiver. Significant reductions in carrier cycle slips and loss of lock were observed in moderate-foliage environments.
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