An experimental investigation and design of a digital telemetry acoustic receiving array
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Acoustic Receiving Line Arrays are critical tools for measuring the acoustic properties of any oceanographic region. Vertical, horizontal, and combinations of the two array configurations allow us to measure acoustic propagation, bottom characteristics through inversion, and ambient noise. These properties are vitally important for effective implementation of any passive or active detection system in both shallow and deep water environments. Measurement systems must be designed with flexibility since the exact array design that yields the best signal processing results is not known prior to a survey. Flexibility, in this case, refers to large numbers of hydrophones, higher sample rates for greater bandwidth, and longer recording time to facilitate experimentation at each survey site. Repeated deployment and recovery of such a system demands a battery powered autonomous design that can be deployed and recovered from available research vessels at sea. Conventional deep ocean analog array cable designs, while power efficient, become physically challenging in size and weight when the sensor count exceeds 100 and array lengths remain in the 100s of meters. The purpose of this thesis is to detail the design, development, and testing of a pressure tolerant full ocean depth rated prototype acoustic line array with digital telemetry of all hydrophone data from the sensors to the recording system. The design is to support up to 300 hydrophones each with a maximum sample rate of 4 kHz and a per sensor power requirement of ¾ of a watt. Lower sensor counts will allow higher sample rates to be used based on available telemetry bandwidth. A single element of a line array was built and tested at the University of Texas at Austin Applied Research Laboratories and it was used to demonstrate real-time telemetry and recording of acoustic hydrophone data.
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