Topcon receivers track new L5 signal

Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS) engineers have successfully tracked the new L5 signal transmitted from a U.S.-based GPS satellite.

More than four years ago, Topcon announced it had receivers capable of tracking L5 signals. Topcon’s current GR-3 and NET-G3 receivers are L5-capable.

The satellite began broadcasting the new signal April 10 and Topcon engineers successfully tracked the signal a few days later. The Air Force testing of the L5 signal is presently from one GPS satellite.

Ivan Di Federico, TPS senior vice-president, engineering, said, “It is expected to be several years before the L5 signal is operational. Topcon’s receivers are ready to utilize the new signal once it is operating and when there are enough satellites transmitting the signals to improve positional quality.”

Topcon receivers can also receive GPS/GLONASS L1/L2 as well as GPS L5.

In an official announcement, the U.S. Air Force has cautioned the L5 signal is still under development and that quality and accessibility of the signal is not guaranteed.

Di Federico said, “Tracking the L5 signal is a testament to the hard work, expertise and dedication of Topcon’s corps of engineers. Starting more than four years ago, our engineers made sure that when the L5 signal became active, our receivers could track it.”

He said the L5 signal was received at the Topcon Technology Center in Moscow. The satellite signal was tracked over a three-hour period at the highest satellite elevation. He said the signal was received with the energy potential of 55 dBHz.

Topcon engineers have been closely monitoring the progress of the new satellite from its launch, Di Federico said. “Any time new signals are available for use, it benefits our customers who depend on precise positioning information in the fields of agriculture, surveying, civil engineering, construction, GIS, and telematics.

“The more signals a receiver can pick up, the better the accuracy a customer can get on every job.”

He said, “While tracking the signal confirms Topcon equipment’s ability to use the L5 signal when it is ready, we will continue to monitor the improvements to the GPS constellation and implement any adjustments needed to the firmware as additional new signals come online.”

For additional information visit http://www.topcon.co.jp/eng/.

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