Interfering in the moment

A Leicester University researcher has discovered a ‘window of time’ when mobile signals and radio waves are ‘super strength’, allowing them to be clearer and travel greater distances while potentially interfering with other systems.

The study examined the signal strength of radio waves travelling over the sea, identifying late afternoons and early evenings in spring and summer as a time when enhanced signals occur. It formed part of Salil Gunashekar doctoral studies at the university’s Department of Engineering.

Dr Gunashekar, who is now Post-Doctoral Research Associate in the Radio Systems Research Group, said: ‘When radio waves travel for a long distance over the sea their strength can be affected by the weather. The constantly changing weather conditions over the sea mean that marine and coastal environments, in particular, are prone to unusual atmospheric phenomena that enable radio waves to travel longer distances and have higher strengths than expected.’

The research conducted is expected to have implications for the design of cellular telephone networks operating in marine and coastal regions, as well as other maritime communication systems such as those used in commercial shipping and sea-rescue operations.