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In spread-spectrum communication systems, a basic task which has to be performed is the synchronization of the receiver pseudonoise (PN) signal with the pseudonoise signal contained in the input. In this paper, a synchronization system employing a surface acoustic wave tapped delay line (SAW TDL) matched filter for both initial synchronization (acquisition) and tracking is presented. The periodic correlation peaks at the SAW TDL output repeatedly correct the epoch of the local PN signal clock phase and the code generator initial condition to their correct values. As the correlation impulses are distorted and attenuated due to the effects of message modulation, Doppler frequency shifts and unavoidable interferences, a modulation canceller and a differentiating device are employed to improve synchronization performance. Formulas for estimating the performance of a system incorporating these ideas are given. A hardware implementation of the suggested system has been built and tested. Experimental results obtained with the system are presented.