1215-1240 MHz 1. Band 1. Band Introduction The band 1215-1240 MHz is used by Federal agencies for operating

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  • March 1, 2014

    1215-1240 MHz

    1. Band Introduction

    The band 1215-1240 MHz is used by Federal agencies for operating various types of

    long-range radar systems that perform missions critical to safe and reliable air traffic

    control (ATC) in the national airspace, border surveillance, early warning missile

    detection, and drug interdiction. These radar systems ensure the safe transportation of

    people and goods, encourage the flow of commerce, and provide for national defense.

    Long-range radars are operated in this portion of the radio frequency spectrum because

    the effects of rain and fog on radar target detection are very low, the external background

    noise levels are low, and high-power transmitter tubes operate very efficiently. These

    factors are important to achieve the long-range detection of different size aircraft as well

    as other targets.

    Various radionavigation-satellite systems operate in the space-to-earth and space-to-space

    directions. Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) is the standard generic term for

    radionavigation-satellite systems that provide autonomous geo-spatial positioning with

    global coverage. In the United States, such systems are referred to as Positioning,

    Navigation, and Timing (PNT) systems. These systems allow receivers to determine

    their location (longitude, latitude, and altitude) using signals transmitted from satellites

    and provide precise timing for a multitude of users worldwide. The 1227.6 MHz ± 15

    MHz frequency band is used to transmit the Global Positioning System (GPS)

    radionavigation-satellite service L2 signal for military, aviation, space, and commercial

    applications. The other components of the GNSS that currently or plan to transmit

    navigation signals in the band 1215-1240 MHz include: the Russian Federation Global

    Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS), the European Union Galileo, Japan’s Quasi

    Zenith Satellite System, and China’s Compass. The Federal Aviation Administration

    operates ground reference stations that receive the L2 signal for use by the Wide Area

    Augmentation System (WAAS) to augment the GPS to improve accuracy, integrity, and


    2. Allocations

    2a. Allocation Table

    The frequency allocation table shown below is extracted from the Manual of Regulations

    and Procedures for Federal Radio Frequency Management, Chapter 4 – Allocations,

    Allotments and Plans.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longitude http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latitude http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altitude http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Satellite

  • 1215 – 1240 MHz

    Page 2 of 21

    Table of Frequency Allocations

    United States Table

    Federal Table Non-Federal Table FCC Rule Part(s) 1215-1240 EARTH EXPLORATION-SATELLITE (active) RADIOLOCATION G56 RADIONAVIGATION-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth) (space-to-space) G132 SPACE RESEARCH (active) 5.332

    1215-1240 Earth exploration-satellite (active) Space research (active)

    2b. Additional Allocation Table Information

    5.332 In the band 1 215-1 260 MHz, active spaceborne sensors in the Earth exploration-

    satellite and space research services shall not cause harmful interference to, claim

    protection from, or otherwise impose constraints on operation or development of the

    radiolocation service, the radionavigation- satellite service and other services allocated on

    a primary basis. (WRC-2000)

    G56 Federal radiolocation in the bands 1215-1300, 2900-3100, 5350-5650 and 9300-

    9500 MHz is primarily for the military services; however, limited secondary use is

    permitted by other Federal agencies in support of experimentation and research programs.

    In addition, limited secondary use is permitted for survey operations in the band 2900-

    3100 MHz.

    G132 Use of the radionavigation-satellite service in the band 1215-1240 MHz shall be

    subject to the condition that no harmful interference is caused to, and no protection is

    claimed from, the radionavigation service authorized under ITU Radio Regulation

    No. 5.331. Furthermore, the use of the radionavigation-satellite service in the band 1215-

    1240 MHz shall be subject to the condition that no harmful interference is caused to the

    radiolocation service. ITU Radio Regulation No. 5.43 shall not apply in respect of the

    radiolocation service. ITU Resolution 608 (WRC-03) shall apply.

  • 1215–1240 MHz

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    3. Federal Agency Use

    3a. Federal Agency Frequency Assignments Table

    The following table identifies the frequency band, types of allocations, types of

    applications, and the number of frequency assignments in the Government Master File

    (GMF) by agency.

    Federal Frequency Assignment Table

    1215-1240 MHz Band





    RADIONAVIGATION-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth) (space-to-


    SPACE RESEARCH (active)


    A E

    R O

    N A

    U T

    IC A


    R A

    D IO

    N A

    V IG

    A T

    IO N

    L A

    N D

    R A

    D IO

    L O

    C A

    T IO


    M O

    B IL


    R A

    D IO

    L O

    C A

    T IO


    R A

    D IO

    A S

    T R

    O N

    O M


    R A

    D IO

    N A

    V IG

    A T

    IO N

    S A

    T E

    L L

    IT E

    R E

    S E

    A R

    C H

    D E

    V E

    L O

    P M

    E N


    T E

    S T

    IN G

    E V

    A L

    U A

    T IO


    T O

    T A




    2 26 55


    56 2

    9 67




    DOE 2


    FAA 1

    1 2

    MC 2 14




    12 13







    TOTAL 5 101 2 1 3 48 163

    The number of actual systems, or number of equipments, may exceed and sometimes

    far exceed, the number of frequency assignments in a band. Also, a frequency

    assignment may represent, a local, state, regional or nationwide authorization.

    Therefore, care must be taken in evaluating bands strictly on the basis of assignment

    counts or percentages of assignments.

  • 1215 – 1240 MHz

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    The majority of the user equipment will not be reflected in the GMF or elsewhere

    because devices are receive-only. Therefore, the actual use of the band would be

    mischaracterized if a measure of such use relied solely on frequency assignment data.

    3b. Percentage of Frequency Assignments Chart

    The following chart displays the percentage of frequency assignments in the GMF for the

    systems operating in the frequency band 1215–1240 MHz.

    4. Frequency Band Analysis By Application

    4a. Aeronautical Radionavigation

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Department of Defense (DoD) operate

    long-range aeronautical radionavigation radar systems in the band 1215-1240 MHz.

    These radar systems are used to monitor aircraft and other targets within the national

    airspace, along the border areas, and around military bases and airfields. The Air Route

    Surveillance Radar (ARSR) systems and tactical radars that operate in this band measure

  • 1215–1240 MHz

    Page 5 of 21

    range, bearing, and velocity of aircraft and other targets. 1

    2 The ARSR systems track

    aircraft flying across the country in support of the National Airspace System.

    The aeronautical radionavigation radar systems operating in the band 1215-1240 MHz use

    a continually rotating antenna mounted on a tower. The antennas are mounted on a tower

    to provide an unobstructed view of the airspace they are monitoring. The antennas are

    directed slightly upwards to remove the effects of local obstructions (e.g., ground clutter),

    that would degrade the performance of the radar system. Each system installation is unique

    but the typical antenna height is approximately 45 feet for fixed radar systems, and

    approximately 20 feet for transportable radar systems. The typical antenna rotation rate for

    radar systems operating in this band is 5 to 6 revolutions per minute.

    4b. Radiolocation Service

    The military operates tactical radar systems in the band 1215-1240 MHz.

    Tactical radars are designed to be more easily tuned than air traffic control radars, since

    they may have to operate in a battlefield environment with many other systems and

    require the flexibility to change frequencies to reduce their exposure to hostile forces.

    The Tethered Aerostat Radar (TAR) system also operates in this band. The TAR consists

    of balloon mounted radars that are used for monitoring the southern borders and

    Caribbean a