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Mining Contract: Radio System Modifications for Improved Mine Safety (Medium Frequency)

Contract DetailValue
Contract #200-2010-35295
Start Date8/25/2010
Research Concept

This contract will increase the performance of medium frequency (MF) communications in underground mines and lead to a white paper that describes how the MF radio system can be used as part of a complete communication and tracking system for smaller mine operators.

Program Area

Contract Status & Impact

Kutta Technologies, Inc., will improve medium frequency (MF) radio systems in underground mines by meeting the following contract objectives:

  1. Increase MF radio system performance and situational awareness on the surface.
    1. Build a coupling mechanism that significantly improves MF signal power for fixed installations, such as at the surface mine office.
    2. Create and/or modify software that enables surface personnel to determine link status and command test modes for individual radio units, and present the data in a useful manner.
  2. Add enhancements to the analog product line that allow better site surveys, easier installation, and faster troubleshooting.
    1. Build an MF field strength measurement device that provides both visual indication as well as USB output for data logging.
    2. Add an operational test mode to the MF portable and repeater units to enable automatic periodic transmissions that suspend (and optionally restart) when another radio transmits.
  3. Build power supply options for the portable radio units.
    1. Allow portable units to operate on line power in fresh air, for normal day-to-day use.
    2. Develop primary (non-rechargeable) battery packs that can be stored for extended periods in a mine cache for use upon loss of line power.
  4. Create a white paper that describes how the MF radio system can be used as part of a complete communication and tracking system for smaller mine operators.
    1. Describe affordable options for operators of small underground mines, such as punch mines or anthracite mines, to meet MINER Act requirements for communication and tracking.

A brief summary of the deliverables is included below:

  • MF radio software update, including link status and test mode functionality
  • One laptop computer with software that controls radio test modes and manages link status
  • One MF field strength measurement device, with visual display and USB output
  • Two power adapters that allow portable units to be powered from 110 volt AC line power
  • Two couplers for improved MF signal power
  • White paper that describes the MF system as part of a solution for smaller mines
  • Final report delivered
Contact Us:
  • Office of Mine Safety and Health (OMSHR)
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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  • The U.S. Government's Official Web PortalDepartment of Health and Human Services
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