Evaluation of solar radio bursts' effect on GPS receiver signal tracking within International GPS Service network

Zhiyu Chen, Yang Gao, Zhizhao Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The direct interference from solar radio bursts (SRB) has not usually been considered as a potential threat to global positioning system (GPS) signal tracking, since the flux densities of most bursts are below 40,000 solar flux units (sfu), a threat threshold to GPS L1 frequency proposed by Klobuchar et al. (1999). Recent analysis indicated that a much lower threshold should be adopted for codeless or semicodeless dual-frequency GPS receivers. In this investigation, severe signal corruptions were found at dayside International GPS Service GPS receiver stations during a large solar radio burst that accompanied the super flare of 28 October 2003. Almost no GPS L2 signals were tracked during the solar flux peak time for areas near the subsolar point. Correlation analysis was performed between the rate of loss of lock on GPS L2 frequency and solar radio flux density at different bands, and a correlation index as high as 0.75 is revealed in the 1415 MHz solar radiation band, which is located between the two GPS operating frequencies L2 (1227.60 MHz) and L1 (1575.42 MHz). The correlation analysis indicates that GPS signal losses of lock were primarily caused by microwave in-band interference and that the threat threshold of SRB effects on the GPS system should be re-evaluated, since the flux density of the burst at 1415 MHz was just 4,000-12,000 sfu, which is far below the previously proposed threat threshold. The signal-tracking performance of different types of GPS receivers during such a super flare event is also presented.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRadio Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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