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RF Shorts – Feb. 10, 2011

John Croft, writing on, says Digital divide buster could sink FAA's NextGen. The article includes this quote from a letter the Air Transport Association (ATA) sent the FCC, "Indeed, because of the ambitious [FAA NextGen] program to shift air traffic management to a satellite-based navigation and communications system, GPS will become even more important over the next decade. For these reasons, we are extremely concerned about spectrum issues and the possibility of inadvertent interference." It also references a Garmin study that showed aviation units such as the GNS430W could detect interference, or jamming, more than 22,000 meters from a simulated LightSquared antenna site and lose positional fix at distances of five nautical miles. The FCC required LightSquared to work with the GPS community to understand the risks, with a final report due by June 15.

TerraStar Networks, owner of TerreStar-1, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection late last year. Their satellite, billed as the largest communications satellite ever built, is able to provide connectivity to S-band handsets similar in size to conventional smartphones. A group, Buy This Satellite has been formed to raise money to purchase the satellite and use it to connect underserved areas to the Internet. Read more about in Jeff Foust's article Buy this satellite? on So far, according to the Buy This Satellite web site, they have raised $44,424, probably not enough to outbid other potential bidders such as LightSquared or Dish Network.