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Preliminary Performance Predictions For Electromagnetic Through-The-Earth Mine Communications - I. Introduction
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  • Description:
    This Technical Memorandum Report is a collection of three working memoranda, prepared during the course of our work for the Bureau of Mines and bound together for convenient reference. These working memoranda present preliminary performance estimates, for baseband voice and narrow- band through-the-earth electromagnetic communications systems of principal interest to the Bureau, for operational/emergency mine communications. 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; and of theoretical signal-attenuation characteristics for two transmitter antenna types of present interest to the Bureau. The memoranda examine 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, up- link 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; for voice and narrowband, 10-1 for narrowband 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. 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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