Previous work with simulations of oceanographic high-frequency (HF) radars has identified possible improvements when using maximum likelihood estimation (MLE) for direction of arrival; however, methods for determining the number of emitters (here defined as spatially distinct patches of the ocean surface) have not realized these improvements. Here we describe and evaluate the use of the likelihood ratio (LR) for emitter detection, demonstrating its application to oceanographic HF radar data. The combined detection–estimation methods MLE-LR are compared with multiple signal classification method (MUSIC) and MUSIC parameters for SeaSonde HF radars, along with a method developed for 8-channel systems known as MUSIC-Highest. Results show that the use of MLE-LR produces similar accuracy, in terms of the RMS difference and correlation coefficients squared, as previous methods. We demonstrate that improved accuracy can be obtained for both methods, at the cost of fewer velocity observations and decreased spatial coverage. For SeaSondes, accuracy improvements are obtained with less commonly used parameter sets. The MLE-LR is shown to be able to resolve simultaneous closely spaced emitters, which has the potential to improve observations obtained by HF radars operating in complex current environments.
We identify and test a method based on the likelihood ratio (LR) for determining the number of signal sources in observations subject to direction finding with maximum likelihood estimation (MLE). Direction-finding methods are used in broad-ranging applications that include radar, sonar, and wireless communication. Previous work suggests accuracy improvements when using MLE, but suitable methods for determining the number of simultaneous signal sources are not well known. Our work shows that the LR, when combined with MLE, performs at least as well as alternative methods when applied to oceanographic high-frequency (HF) radars. In some situations, MLE and LR obtain superior resolution, where resolution is defined as the ability to distinguish closely spaced signal sources.
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