Electronic Design

Narrow-Shift Digital Discriminator Detects Differential GPS Corrections

The U.S. Coast Guard transmits differential corrections to GPS signals (DGPS) via low-frequency (285- to 325-kHz) beacons. Transmission data rates are 100 or 200 bits/s. The modulation is minimum-shift keying (MSK), resulting in a pseudo frequency-shift keying (FSK) with a carrier shift of half the bit rate. For a 100-bits/s signal, the carrier shift is only ±25 Hz. With a receiver IF frequency of 1 kHz, the IF signal shifts between 975 and 1025 Hz. The two data tones correspond to times of 1026 µs and 976 µs, respectively.

Initial attempts to detect the modulation centered on phaselocked loops and analog discriminators, all of which needed to be optimized for each data rate or tweaked. There was also concern about the effects of aging components. Consequently, we developed a digital technique using 5-V CMOS circuitry that measures the length of each cycle of the IF signal. The circuit works well with ac-coupled IF signals from 2 V p-p to 15 V p-p.

A CD4049 CMOS hex buffer/converter clips the IF input signal (see the figure). The CD4049 is followed by a CD4013 D-type flip-flop configured as a toggle flip-flop to remove any hysteresis. The positive and negative portions of the signal are processed separately. The negative portion of the square wave gates a 1000-bit counter that is fed from a 1.000-MHz clock.

If the signal’s duration is longer than 1000 µs, there will be an overflow pulse. If the duration is shorter than 1000 µs, there’s no overflow. Similarly, the duration of the positive portion of the IF-generated square wave is measured by a second CD4059. Feeding the outputs of the two CD4059s to an OR gate merges the measurements of every cycle of the data IF signal.

Any overflow pulses trigger a CD4098 retriggerable monostable multivibrator. The output pulse length is 1.1 ms. Having an output pulse length slightly greater than the period of the IF center frequency ensures that the output pulse will not drop to zero between adjacent long-duration cycles of the IF signal.

The reset command of the CD4059s used as programmable dividers isn’t straightforward. If control inputs Kb and Kc are set to zero, the counter resets to the jam inputs.

Since a divide-by-ten was desired for the counter first stage, Ka = 1, Kb = 1, and Kc = 0. Kc is always zero, so the Kb control was used for reset. After a master reset, there’s one extra count. Therefore, with a jam input of 1000, the output pulse occurs after 1001 counts. If this is a problem, the jam input could be set to 999 to get an overall delay of 1000 µs.

Because the CD4059 is a synchronous programmable counter, the output pulse is one clock cycle—1.0 µs. Using a jam input of 1000, there are no output pulses for pulses shorter than 999 µs, and there are continuous pulses for pulses longer than 1002 µs.

The lengths of the detected data pulses are very close to multiples of 10 ms, with a maximum error of only 0.1 ms. Triggering an oscilloscope on the rising edges of the data pulses, the IF signal appears as a pure sine wave of 975 Hz. When the scope is triggered on the falling edges, the raw IF signal appears as a pure sine wave of 1025 Hz. Because the circuit functions as a frequency discriminator centered on the IF frequency, the detection scheme is independent of the transmission data rate.

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