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Electromagnetic Through-The-Earth Mine Communications - Introduction; Survey Of Electromagnetic And Seismic Noise Related To Mine Rescue Communications - Volume I
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  • Description:
    Part Two of this report is based upon six working memoranda prepared during the first half of 1972 at an early stage in our work for the Bureau of Mines. This work presents preliminary performance estimates of baseband voice and narrowband through-the-earth electromagnetic communications systems of principal interest to the Bureau for operational/ emergency mine communications applications. The calculations were prepared to obtain early indications of the feasibility and governing parameters of such communications systems. They are based on limited, but pertinent, coal mine electromagnetic noise data acquired to-date by Bureau of Mines contractors; on theoretical signal-attenuation characteristics for two transmitter antenna types of present interest to the Bureau and on semi-empirical models which describe the intelligibility of voice communications as a function of the frequency variations of the signal-to-noise ratio across the voiceband. This work examines the cases of baseband voice and narrowband communications for uplink and downlink transmissions, for frequencies up to 3kHz. Downlink transmissions are via a horizontal wire antenna, and uplink transmissions via a vertical-axis loop antenna, for typical mine depths of 300, 600, and 1000 feet. Representative coal-mine overburden conductivities of 10-2 mhos/meter (moderate and common) and 10-1 mhos/ meter (high) were used; the former figure for both voice and narrowband calculations and the latter for narrowband calculations only. Examples of high, moderate, and low, surface and subsurface, harmonic and broadband-impulsive noise conditions were taken from NBS and Westinghouse (WGL) mine noise data, together with examples of high- and low-levels of ELF atmospheric noise taken from M.I.T. Lincoln Laboratory data. The effects of simple voice spectrum shaping techniques on the intelligibility of through-the-earth voice communications are examined, and indexes of intelligibility more broadly based than signal-to-noise ratio are discussed. Finally, a means of overcoming the affects of 60 Hz noise and its harmonics which are the largest contributors to typical audio frequency in-mine noise, is suggested. These feasibility calculations are not intended to serve as definitive and complete treatments, but as a starting point: to establish first-order estimates of the magnitude and variability of transmitter power requirements under different noise, overburden conductivity, and mine depth conditions; to identify relationships, conditions, or frequencies that are likely to limit or enhance system performance; to reveal items requiring further investigation and data still required; and to suggest practical methods for optimizing system performance. These objectives were met by the calculations. Simple experiments to support these calculations can and should be carried out; together with more detailed investigations of specific modulation, coding, noise-suppression, voice-compression and signal-conditioning techniques, aimed at producing through-the-earth operational/emergency mine-communication systems that are not only effective, but practical and economically sound.

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