Satellite network bug cause radio disturbance in UK


Digital radio broadcasts  had an error last week for which Global Positioning System (GPS) network has been blamed for causing problems removing a satellite from service had caused a software error said the US air force

The decommissioning of a GPS satellite led to difficulties for listeners receiving digital radio signals said a spokesman several other satellites were also effected

I live on the Worksop side of Sheffield and for the past two days the reception of the BBC National Ensemble [BBC radio stations] has been virtually non-existent indoors,” wrote Darcy72 on Digital Spy’s online forums last week.

In a response to the reported issues, the BBC said: “The outages were caused by a rogue GPS satellite (SVN23), which was taken out of service in the evening of 26 January.”

DAB transmitters must broadcast at exactly the same frequencies and, in order to synchronise, they lock on to GPS satellite signals.
The GPS signals themselves broadcast the time and are supposed to be accurate to within a few nanoseconds.

“Microseconds” mistake

In any case, on 26 January, one of the GPS satellites – named SVN23 – circling the Earth was decommissioned.

This out of the blue brought about issues for the entire system.

“While the center route frameworks were working typically, the co-ordinated general time timing sign was off by 13 microseconds which surpassed the outline determinations,” said the US Aviation based armed forces in an announcement.

“The issue was determined at 06:10 MST, however worldwide clients might have encountered GPS timing issues for a few hours.”

Actually, as an aftereffect of the issue, some GPS situating would have been thrown off by about 4km.

The time inconsistency was grabbed by the Metsahovi Radio Observatory in Finland.

It is not yet clear whether different frameworks around the globe, for example, navigational devices, were influenced.

“It was decommissioned after 25 years – actually it should have just had a seven-and-a-half-year lifespan so it lasted a lot longer than it should have done

Depending on GPS

Prof George added that had there only been a problem with one satellite, DAB transmitters would probably not have experienced difficulties.

“They shouldn’t have seen an issue with that because as far as I understand the way they work is they need two frequencies to lock and there are a number of GPS [signals] to look at,” she told

“This should be treated as a warning of what could go wrong,” said Martyn Thomas, Royal Academy of Engineering who has criticised technological reliance on GPS.

“The world is dependent on GPS for a vast range of critical applications from navigation to financial trading, and precision docking of oil tankers to high tech farming.”
In the future, Prof Thomas said, it was “essential” that there was back-up


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