Abstract The problem of detecting the presence of spread that carrier and clock periodicity can indeed be exploited by
spectrum phaseshiftkeyed signals in variable noise and inter receivers that have no knowledge of the associated phases, and
ference backgrounds is considered, and the performances of four that make no attempt to estimate those phases. This has been
detectors are evaluated and compared. These include the opti
mum radiometer, the optimum modified radiometer that jointly demonstrated in [2] where it is explained that, in comparison
estimates the noise level and detects the signal, and the maximum with the optimum quadratic detector for the stationary model
SNR spectralline regenerator for spectral line frequencies equal of the signal, superior detection performance (i.e., detection
to the chip rate and the doubled carrier frequency. It is concluded of the presence of a weak signal in noise) can be obtained
that the spectral line regenerators can outperform both types by exploiting the single frequency of some harmonic of a
of radiometers by a wide margin. The performance advantages
are quantified in terms of receiver operating characteristics periodicity, such as a doubled carrier frequency, or a keying
for several noise and interference environments and receiver rate. It has also been demonstrated in [3] where, in comparison
collection times. with a conventional estimator (based on a stationary model of
the signal) of timedifferenceofarrival (TDOA) for locating a
I. INTRODUCTION signal source, superior estimation performance can be obtained
by exploiting the doubled carrier frequency or the keying
A T E M P T E D interception of communication signals that
arise from modulation schemes designed to foil such
interception is a topic that is receiving increasing attention. In
rate. No use of the phase associated with the single sine
wave frequency is made in either of these applications. This
light of the growing use of directsequence spreadspectrum is partially analogous to the common procedure of detecting
techniques and the increasingly congested communication the presence of an additive sine wave in noise by measuring
environments, standard methods of interception, which are the magnitude of the correlation of the noisy data with a
based on energy measurement, and are collectively referred complex sine wave of arbitrary phase. But, for detection of
to as radiometry, are becoming less effective. In particular, communication signals, the problem is more subtle since such
since radiometric methods simply measure energy in specific signals rarely contain additive sinewave components (which
bands of frequencies, they are inherently susceptible to un result in spectral lines).
known or changing background noise level and interference In the signal detection techniques studied in this paper,
activity. In order to design secure communication systems, it is the underlying periodicities of communication signals are ex
necessary to assess the vulnerability of competing techniques ploited by quadratically processing the received data. Certain
to interception. For this purpose, the approach of designing simple quadratic processors are widely used to regenerate
and analyzing the performance of detectors that are capable of sinewaves; for instance, a squarer is often used to regenerate
intercepting spreadspectrum signals in adverse environments a sinewave with frequency equal to the doubled carrier, and a
where radiometric methods are likely to fail is taken in this delayandmultiply device with delay equal to half of the chip
paper. interval can be used to regenerate a spectral line at the chip
Communication signals have traditionally been modeled as rate. By using the mathematical framework of cyclostationar
stationary random processes. Although communication signals ity, it is possible to characterize all spectral lines that can be
typically involve one or more periodicities underlying their regenerated and to solve for the quadratic transformation of the
random fluctuations, due to sinewave carriers and repetitive data that yields the strongest possible spectral line at a given
pulsing or keying, a stationary model can be obtained by frequency [ 2 ] . Thus, the theory of cyclostationarity provides
introducing random phase variables uniformly distributed over a rigorous framework for understanding ad hoc spectralline
one period of each periodicity [l]. On the surface this seems generators, as well as allowing for the specification of optimal
appropriate if the receiver has no knowledge of carrier phase spectralline generators, which are more general than squarers
or clock timing and is, therefore, unsynchronized to the and delayandmultipliers.
periodicities. However, by looking beneath the surface we find The purpose of this paper is to quantify the gains in
detection performance that are attainable by exploiting the
Paper approved by the Editor for Spread Spectrum of the IEEE Communi
cations Society. Manuscript received September 15, 1989; revised March 15, underlying periodicity that is present in communication sig
1991. This work was supported in part by ESL, Inc., with partial matching nals. More specifically, we consider phaseshiftkeyed signals,
support from the California State MICRO Program. which are used for spreadspectrum communications, and we
The authors are with the Department of Electrical Engineering and Com
puter Science, University of California at Davis, Davis, CA 95616. determine receiver operating characteristics for operation in
IEEE Log Number 9105166. a relatively strong whiteGaussiannoise (WGN) background
009G6778/92$03.00 0 1992 IEEE
150 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMMUNICATIONS,VOL. 40,NO. 1, JANUARY 1992
+
uct x ( t 7 / 2 ) x * ( t 7/2) contains multiple additive periodi
cities, and these periodicities are incommensurate, then the
cycloergodic process is called almost cyclostationary, after the
nomenclature of almost periodic function used for a function A n
that is a sum of periodic functions with incommensurate peri
ods. In this case, the relations (2)(7), including (3b) but not
(3a), still apply; however, the sum over the cycle frequencies a
in (2) must include all harmonics of all fundamental reciprocal
I
periods present in the autocorrelation or lag product.
If for each fundamental period, an independent random
phase variable, uniformly distributed over that period, is added
to the time variable t in the process model ~ ( t )then , the
resultant phaserandomized process ?(t) will be stationary
BPSK signal
00
assumed to be weak and independent of the noise. Since we are Various arguments can be construed for using the magnitude
concerned here with interception, the data collection parameter of only one a # 0 term' in (17) [2],
X of the detection devices should be large compared to the
correlation time (approximate width of the autocorrelation
function) of the SO1 or, equivalently, the reciprocal of the
bandwidth of the SOI. For example, for a spreadspectrum
PSK SOI, the collect time T should greatly exceed the chip The device that compares the magnitude of the statistic (20)
interval T,. to a threshold is referred to as a singlecycle detector (or just
For weak Gaussian signals in WGN, the maximum cycle detector). By way of interpretation, the cycle detector
likelihood (ml) signal detection criterion leads to the following output ysc(t) is a measure of the amount of spectral correlation
approximate sufficient statistic [ll]: present in\ the received waveform, whereas the radiometer
output yr(t) is a measure of the amount of energy present
in the received waveform.
It is shown in [lo] that the detectors (17) and (20) are
solutions to optimization problems that do not invoke the
weaksignal assumption. Specifically, among all quadratic
It can be shown that this quadratic form is asymptotically detectors (16), the multicycle detector (17) maximizes the
(input SNR $ 0) optimal even when the weak SO1 is not performance parameter known as deflection
Gaussian [12], [13]. Thus, for weaksignal detection, the
optimum detector implements a quadratic transformation of
the received data and compares the resultant statistic to a
threshold. Many of the ad hoc detection schemes that have and the singlecycle detector (20) generates from the received
+
been proposed for signal interception, such as the delayand signal x(t) = s ( t ) n(t)a spectral line at frequency a with
multiply chipratefeature detector, the filtersquarer carrier maximum power level, subject to a constraint on the output
feature detector, and the ambiguity function, can be expressed noise spectral density level at frequency a.
in the general form of a quadratic transformation The final detector of interest results from considering the
noise spectral height NOto be unknown. This detector attempts
t+T/2 t+T/2 to estimate the parameter NO, and then uses the estimate to
y(t) = J J k(u,v>z(u>z*(w) du dw (16) form a detection statistic. Since the variance of continuous
tT/2 tT/2
time WGN is infinite, the problem of estimating No is not
well posed. However, for discretetime WGN, the variance is
for some kernel k(u,w) [2]. Thus, the study of the optimum NO and the problem is, indeed, well posed. Thus, we consider
detector (15) provides a benchmark for evaluation for various a.discretetime model at this point.
suboptimum and ad hoc quadratic detectors. Since we are operating under the weaksignal assumption,
The actual device specified by (15) depends on the particular the maximumlikelihood estimate of the spectral height NO is
signal model employed. If the signal is modeled as (almost) approximately the same on both hypotheses and is given by
cyclostationary, then the autocorrelation is given by (2) and
the resulting device can be expressed as a multicycle detector
[21, [lo],
m where z is the vector of M received data samples Xk. It is
shown in [12] that the loglikelihoodratio test for a weak
random signal in white Gaussian noise is approximated by
where the sum is over all a for which the SCF SF(f)is not
identically zero. The function
where K, A E { s s T } is the covariance matrix for the vector
s of signal samples from the signal S k , tnd (0%)is the
average power of this signal. Substituting NO from (22) in
place of NO in (23) and assuming a long collection time
where X T ( t , v) is defined in (7), is called the cyclic peri
odogram (cf. [lo]).
M(M >> 27No/(u;)),we obtain the generalized maximum
likelihood detection statistic
If the signal is modeled as stationary, then only the a = 0
term in (17) is nonzero and we obtain the optimum radiometer
M
' A primary motive is to circumvent the problem that the multicycle detector
cannot be implemented unless the absolute phase of the SO1 [e.g., t o and &,
m in (ll)] is known, or is estimated jointly with detection.
GARDNER AND SPOONER. PERFORMANCE ADVANTAGES OF CYCLICFEATURE DETECTORS 153
The statistic ygml can be manipulated into the form over N in (17) [2], [4]. Before proceeding we explain the link
between the singlecycle detector and two other methods of
112
detection, which are based on the cyclic spectrum analyzer
and the radar ambiguity function.
If the ideal spectral correlation function S; ( f ) is unknown,
we can replace it in the cycle detector (20) with a rectangular
where S F ( f ) and SzM( t ,f ) are discretetime counterparts of window with width on the order of the signal bandwidth, say,
(5)(6) and (18), respectively. Specifically, A f . The resulting statistic is given by
M
k=30
where
AI
which is a standard frequencysmoothed estimate of the cyclic
spectrum S z ( f ) of the input waveform x ( t ) [lo]. The device
that generates y ( t ) in (33) for a range of values of f and a:
is called a cyclic spectrum analyzer (CSA), and is (with post
and processing) capable of emulating all of the devices (17)(20)
as well as other quadratic detectors (16) [2]. The magnitude
of the output of a CSA, for large timefrequency resolution
product TA f (which ensures highreliability measurements),
where and sufficiently small smoothingwindow width A f for ade
quate spectral resolution, when graphed as the height of a
surface above the bifrequency plane, not only can provide
a means for detection, but also, when compared to ideal
The statistic (25) differs from the discretetime version of the SCF surfaces, can be used for signal recognition [14]. That
multicycle detector (17) only in the (Y = 0 (radiometric) term, is, the patterns of spectral correlation can be highly distinct
for different modulation types even when the signals have
112 identical power spectral densities. This is illustrated in [lo] for
BPSK, QPSK, SQPSK, MSK, FSK, AM, FM, PAM, PWM,
112
PPM, and other modulation types. As an example, the ideal
SCF surfaces for BPSK, QPSK, SQPSK, and MSK are shown
This term can be reexpressed as in Fig. 1. Computationally efficient digital architectures for
cyclic spectral analysis are developed in [15] (cf. [16]).
The spectralcorrelationfunction estimate (33) bears an
interesting relationship to the function
__ __ I
154 IEEE TRANSACTIONS ON COMMUNICATIONS,VOL. 40, NO. 1, JANUARY 1992
is the magnitude of the statistic (20), These deflection formulas are evaluated in [18] for BPSK,
I A QPSK, SQPSK (each with rectangular pulse shape), and MSK
Ysc = IYscl. (37) (SQPSK with a halfcycle cosine pulse shape) and the results
To ensure mathematical tractability of the deflection, it is nec are summarized here in Table I.
essary to use ysc in (21). This renders the resulting deflection
formulas less useful than desired since they are based on a B. Variable WGN Background
statistic that differs from the true detection statistic by the non Let us now consider the problem of detecting a cyclostation
linear operation 1.1. The justification for using ysc is threefold. ary signal in broadband noise with variable level. The noise
First, it can be shown that the deflection based on the real is modeled as white and Gaussian with the spectral height NO
statistic y:, denoted by d,, is always larger than the deflection modeled as the square of a Gaussian variate with parameters
based on the complex statistic, denoted by d,, provided that the ,UN 4? E { N o } , U; 2 E { N ~ } ~ pand & ,p~ 2 U&/&, where
length of the collect time T is sufficiently large (a proof of this p~ is the coefficient of variation of NO.It is shown in [19]
is given in the Appendix). Thus, dc is a reliably conservative that the deflections are given by
measure of the performance of the cycle detector. Second, the
evaluation of d, provides a convenient and necessary means SNRindo(O)@
for checking the results of computer simulations, which are
required to compute d, and the probabilities of detection and
false alarm, PO and PFA, for ROC'S. Third, the study of
d(0) %
[ 1 + PI++ $)y2 (41)
deflection provides a unifying link with previous SNR studies for the radiometer and
of weaksignal detection [5][8].
(45)
TABLE I
NORMALIZED DEFLECTION &(0)FOR THE RADIOMETER ( 0 = 0 ) AND SINGLECYCLE DETECTORS( 0 # 0 )
FOR NO NOISE VARIABILITY, p,y = 0. THESEEXACT RESULTSARE NOT IN COMPLETE AGREEMENT WITH
APPROXIMATE RESULTSOBTAINED ELSEWHERE AND REPRODUCED I N [23, TABLE 4.31. THESERESULTS
ALSO DIFFERSUBSTANTIALLY I N SOMECASES(E.G.,SQPSK) FROM RESULTSOBTAINED
ELSEWHERE FOR SUBOPTIMUM AD Hoc DETECTORS, AS REPRODUCED IN 123, TABLE4.31
Normalized Deflection
0 BPSK QPSK SQPSK MSK
Multi Jz 1 1 1
Cycle (3 dB) (0 dB) (0 dB) (0 dB)
0 @ m J3p +[; + $1 1/ z
2/T,. 1/2T
(16.0 dB)
112s
(1G.O dB)
1/2T
(1G.O dB)
&m
(21.9 dB)
2fo l/& 0 0 0
(4.77 dB)
2fo + l/Tc. l/rrfi 0 1/T& 1 1
2 [3 + $1 1/ 2
( p =~0). The formulas (41) and (42) are accurate if the generated statistics are compared to thresholds to estimate the
collect time T satisfies the following conditions: required probabilities. For the results presented here, 1000
sample paths for each hypothesis were used. Both BPSK and
T >> max
a (7,) (464 QPSK SOIs are considered. For the case of p~ = 0, the value
1 of the noise spectal height is fixed from trial to trial, whereas
T>
a+p when p~ # 0, the value of NO is chosen randomly at the
beginning of each trial and is fixed for that trial. The random
where p represents all cycle frequencies (/3 #  a ) associated
variable NO is the square of a Gaussian variate, with mean and
with the SO1 s ( t ) and 7, is the width of the cyclic autocorre
coefficient of variation given by
lation R:(T). In addition, it is required that f0Tc >> 1.
Approximations (41) and (42) indicate that the radiometer
PN = E{NO),
yields the largest deflection for p~ = 0, but that both the
doubledcarrier cycle detector (a = 2 f o ) and the chiprate and
cycle detector ( a = l/Tc) can have much larger deflection
than that of the radiometer for PN # 0 and large T. These E { % }  P&
PN =
considerations lead to the conclusion that the cycle detectors P%
can have superior performance relative to the radiometer
Thus, when p~ = 0, NO is nonrandom and has value p ~ .
when the collect time is long (as it needs to be for weak
The first cases of interest include both long and short
signal detection). This prediction is confirmed by the receiver
collection times combined with zerotomoderate noiselevel
operating characteristics presented in the next section.
variability for an SNR of 0 dB [cf. (43)]. Fig. 2 shows the
ROC’s, which plot Po against PFA,for long collect, T =
V. RECEIVEROPERATING
CHARACTERISTICS 128 chips, and moderate variability, p~ = 0.1. In this and all
In this section, the results of computer simulations of figures, the radiometer is represented by a thick solid line, the
the four detectors under studythe radiometer, modified chiprate (a = l/Tc) cycle detector by a mediumthickness
radiometer, and cycle detectors for the chip rate and doubled line, the doubledcarrier (a = 2 f 0 ) cycle detector by a line
carrier frequency are presented. The detectors simulated are with small circles, and the modified radiometer by a thin line.
(30) and the discretetime counterparts of the continuoustime In Fig. 2, the modified radiometer and the doubledcarrier
detectors (19) and (20). These counterparts are obtained by cycle detector have R O C ’ s that are nearly indistinguishable
replacing the integrals by sums and implementing the Fourier (uppermost curve). The performances of these two detectors
transform (7), which occurs in the cyclic periodogram, with are almost identical and are far superior to both the chiprate
an FFT algorithm. cycle detector and the radiometer. The chiprate cycle detector,
In order to obtain the probabilities of detection PD and false however, is greatly superior to the radiometer. For example,
alarm PFAneeded to form the R O C , it is necessary to generate for a false alarm probability of PFA = 0.025, the radiometer
many sample paths of the signal and noise processes in order has a probability of detection of PD = 0.39, whereas the
to obtain adequate sample sets of the detection statistics. The chiprate cycle detector has PD = 0.94. It is evident that

Fig. 2. Receiver operating characteristics for BPSK SOL SNR = OdB, Ysc
p~ = 0.1, T = 128 T,.
Fig. 4. Histogram of detection statistics for BPSK SO1 with a = 2f0, SNR
1 = 0 dB, p~ = 0.1, T = 128 T,.
a = zero 
0.2
Yr
the performance predictions from the previoas section based Fig. 5. Histogram of detection statistics for BPSK SO1 with a = 0, SNR
on deflection are substantiated for long collect and nonzero = 0 dB, p~ = 0.1, T = 128 T,.
variability. This case was repeated using a QPSK SOI. The
resulting ROC’S are shown in Fig. 3. The performance of the
detectors for this SO1 is nearly identical to that for the BPSK
SO1 (Fig. 2) because the two signals have the same SCF for
CY = k/T,. The ROC for the doubledcarrier feature detector is
absent for the QPSK signal because there is no cyclic feature
at CY = 2 f o .
To further illustrate the superiority of the cycle detector over
the radiometer, histograms of the generated detection statistics
are presented. The histograms plot the frequency of occurrence
I
of values within amplitude bins for each statistic versus the bin 0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1
location. For the case corresponding to the ROCs in Fig. 2, PFA
the histograms in Figs. 4 and 5 for a: = 2f0 and CY = 0, Fig. 6. Receiver operating characteristics for BPSK SOL SNR = 0 dB,
respectively, are obtained. The separation between the peaks in p~ = 0.1, T = 16 T,,fractional bandwidth = 1/4.
(I = chip rate
Q = zero


Fig. 7. Receiver operating characteristics for BPSK SOI. SNR = 0 dB, Fig. 9. Receiver operating characteristics for BPSK SOI. SNR = 10 dB,
p.v = 0.1, T = 13 T,, fractional bandwidth = 2/3. SIR = 10 dB, p , ~= 0, T = 64 T,, randomlocation narrowband
interferer.
1
0.9
0.9
0.8 mod. radiometer 
PD (I = doubled carrier *
0.8
0.7 PO Q = doubled carrier *
0.7
0.6
0.6
0.5
0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.5
PFA 0 0.1 0.2 0.3 0.4 0.5
PFA
Fig. 8. Receiver operating characteristics for BPSK SOI. SNR = .5 dB,
~ 0, T = 1 T,.
p , = Fig. 10. Receiver operating characteristic for BPSK SOL SNR = 10 dB,
SIR = 0 dB, p . =~ 0, T = 16 T,, randomlocation narrowband interferer.
APPENDIX
PROOF THAT d, I d,
In this Appendix, it is proved that the deflection based on the
complex detection statistic d, is less than the deflection based
on the magnitude of that statistic d,, as asserted in Section IV. Using (Al), we obtain
The required condition is that the collect time T of the detector
be sufficiently large.
In this proof, the averages in the definition of deflection are
taken to be averages over a finite set of complex numbers
(random samples), rather than over an abstract probability
and therefore the variance of the real statistic lyil is always
space with a probability weighting function. This is the way the
smaller than that for the complex statistic yi, thus den, 5
deflection is computed from simulations or from data, rather
den,. Since the numerator of the real deflection is larger for
than the way it is analytically calculated using expectations.
sufficiently long collect time, and the denominator is smaller,
Also, the fact that the magnitude of the average of n complex
it follows that d, 5 d, for sufficiently long collection time.
numbers is less than or equal to the average of the magnitudes
of the numbers is used:
ACKNOWLEDGMENT
The authors gratefully acknowledge C. K. Chen and L. Paura
I i=l for their assistance in calculating deflection [HI, [20].
Proof: The numerator of the complex deflection is given
REFERENCES
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GARDNER AND SPOONER: PERFORMANCEADVANTAGES OF CYCLICFEATUREDETECTORS 159
C. K. Chen, “Spectral correlation characterization of modulated signals Dr. Gardner is the author of Introduction to Random Processes with Applica
with application to signal detection and source location,” Ph.D. dis tions to Signals and Systems (Macmillan, 1985, second edition, McGrawHill,
sertation, Dep. Elec. Eng. Comput. Sci., Univ. California, Davis, Mar. 1990), The Random Processes Tutor: A Comprehensive Solutions Manual for
1989. Independent Study (McGrawHill, 1990), and Statistical Spectral Analysis:
C. M. Spooner, “Performance evaluation of detectors for cyclostationary A Nonprobabilistic Theory, (PrenticeHall, 1987). He holds several patents
signals,” M.S. thesis, Dep. Elec. Eng. Comput. Sci., Univ. California, and is the author of numerous researchjournal papers. He received the
Davis, June 1988. Best Paper of the Year Award from the European Association for Signal
W. A. Gardner and L. Paura, “Signal interception: Performance advan Processing in 1986 for the paper entitled “The Spectral Correlation Theory
tages of cycle detectors,” in Proc. Onzieme Colloque sur le Traitement of Cyclostationary Signals,” the 1987 Distinguished Engineering Alumnus
du Signals et des Images (GRETSI), Nice, France, June 15, 1987, Award form the University of Massachusetts, and the Stephen 0. Rice
pp. 135138. Prize Paper Award in the Field of Communication Theory from the IEEE
W. A. Gardner and C. M. Spooner, “Higher order cyclostationarity, Communications Society in 1988 for the paper entitled “Signal interception:
cyclic cumulants and cyclic polyspectra,” in Proc. Int. Symp. Inform. A unifying theoretical framework for feature detection,” He is a member of the
Theory Appl., Hawaii, Nov. 2730, 1990, pp. 355358. American Mathematical Society, the Mathematical Association of America,
C. M. Spooner and W. A. Gardner, “An overview of the theory the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European
of higherorder cyclostationarity,” in Proc. NASAIHampton University, Association for Signal Processing, and is a member of the honor societies
Workshop on Nonstationary Random Processes, Hampton, VA, Aug. Sigma Xi, Tau Beta Pi, Eta Kappa Nu, and Alpha Gamma Sigma.
12, 1991.
D. L. Nicholson, Spread Spectrum Signal Design, LPE and AJ Systems.
Rockville, MD: Computer Science, 1988.
William A. Gardner (S’64M’67SM’84F’91) Chad M. Spooner (S’91) was born in Des Moines,
was born in Palo Alto, CA, on November 4, 1942. IA, on October 5, 1963. He received the A S . degree
He received the M.S. degree from Stanford Uni with high honors from Santa Rosa Junior College
versity, in 1967, and the Ph.D. degree from the in 1984. He received the B.S. degree from the
University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in 1972, both University of California at Berkeley in 1986, and
in electrical engineering. the M.S. degree from University of California at
He was a Member of the Technical Staff at Bell Davis in 1988, both in electrical engineering. Since
Laboratories in Massachusetts from 1967 to 1969. 1988 he has been engaged in doctoral research at
He has been a faculty member at the University of UC Davis in electrical engineering.
California, Davis, since 1972, where he is Professor He was a Teaching Assistant in the Department of
of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from
Since 1982, he has also been President of the engineering consulting firm 1986 to 1988. Since 1988 he has been a Research Assistant at UC Davis,
Statistical Signal Processing, Inc., Yountville, CA. His research interests are and a consultant to Statistical Signal Processing, Inc. He is coauthor of a
in the general area of statistical signal processing, with primary emphasis on unique, commercially available, cyclic spectral analysis software package. His
the theories of timeseries analysis, stochastic processes, and signal detection research interests include statistical signal processing, weaksignal detection
and estimation. and parameter estimation, and the theory of higher order cyclostationarity.