May 1, 2015
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, Japans Quasi
Zenith Satellite System, and Chinas 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
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.
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-
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.
Page 3 of 21
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
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.
RADIONAVIGATION-SATELLITE (space-to-Earth) (space-to-space)
AF 1 28 2 2 2 27 62
AR 54 2 1 10 67
DOC 2 2
DOE 2 2
DHS 5 5
FAA 1 1 2
MC 1 4 3 8
N 1 3 13 17
NASA 3 1 1 3 8
TOTAL 5 90 10 7 1 2 4 1 54 173
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 Band
EARTH EXPLORATION-SATELLITE (active)
SPACE RESEARCH (active)
TYPE OF APPLICATION
1215 1240 MHz
Page 4 of 21
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 12151240 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
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.
1 The radar systems operating in this band transmit pulsed radio frequency signals that are reflected from
the surface of aircraft or target. The time required for a reflected signal that is transmitted to return from an
aircraft and the direction of the reflected signal are measured. From this information, the radar can
determine the distance of the aircraft from the antenna, the direction of the aircraft relative to the antenna,
and in some cases the altitude.
Page 5 of 21
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 operate