Fw: IEEE NoVa, April 29, 2003

Paul Rinaldo prinaldo at mindspring.com
Fri Apr 4 05:39:35 CST 2003

IEEE Northern Virginia Communications Society
2003 Speaker Schedule
April 29, 2003

Date: Tuesday, April 29, 2003
Title: NEXCOM - The New VHF Digital Link (VDL) for Commercial Aviation
Air/Ground Communications
Sponsor: Communications Society, Northern Virginia
Speaker: Mr. James Eck, Chief Systems Engineer, Federal Aviation
Administration AND-360
Time: Dinner: 6:00 pm; speaker: 6:45 pm
Location: Northrop-Grumman, 12011 Sunset Hills Rd., Reston, VA.
(Corner of Sunset Hills Rd. and Reston Parkway, very close to the Reston
Parkway exit of Rte. 267, the Dulles Toll Road)
Cost: Free
Contact: RSVP to fred.seelig at ieee.org

Abstract: NEXCOM is the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA)
revolutionary transition from analog air/ground (A/G) voice
communications to digital voice and data. The current system of A/G
communications is the most fundamental element of the National Airspace
System (NAS) for Air Traffic Control (ATC). The FAA uses very high
frequency (VHF) and ultra high frequency (UHF) radio links to support
all phases of flight, including the control of ground movements on the
airport surface, the arrival/departure of aircraft to and from the
terminal area, and throughout the en route environment. The current
system design was originated in the 1940s and, except for several
reductions to channel spacing, the current 25 kHz system has remained
essentially unchanged. The system utilizes Double Sideband Amplitude
Modulation (DSB-AM) in the VHF band (117.975 to 137 MHz) for civil
aircraft and the UHF band (225-400 MHz) for military aircraft. The
radios operate push-to-talk, where the same frequency is used for both
the uplink and the downlink. At present, there are over 10,600 ATC
frequency assignments throughout the NAS. The twin demands of increased
spectrum and support for a digital data link drove the decision to
convert from analog to digital links. NEXCOM is in its trial phases and
is still undergoing internal FAA acceptance testing. Mr. Eck will
discuss NEXCOM technical details, historical background, and the road

Jim Eck is the Chief Systems Engineer for FAA AND-300. He has worked for
the FAA since 1996, and has shepherded the NEXCOM program along during
most of that time. Prior to this he was with the Naval Air Development
Center (NADC) for 18 years, working on a variety of technical
communications systems. Eck received a BSEE from Penn State and a
Master’s degree in Systems Engineering from the University of

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