Mining Publication: NIOSH-Sponsored Research in Through-the-Earth Communications for Mines: A Status Report
This paper presents the results of recent contractual research sponsored by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health that aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of through-the-earth (TTE) wireless communication in mining. TTE systems, developed by five different contractors, are discussed with a focus on technical approach, prototype hardware, and field test results. System features include both magnetic and electric field sensing, loop and line antennas, digital and analog processing, noise filtering and cancelation, and direction finding. The systems were demonstrated at commercial mine sites. The results of these tests are characterized by transmission range and power levels. This paper concludes with a discussion of issues that remain to be resolved as TTE communications are implemented. These include text versus voice format, acceptable time delays, portability, ease of deployment, an interface with existing communications systems, permissibility, and the effect of geological variations.