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The spatial channel in applications such as radar, sonar, and wireless communications is typically characterized by complex signal scattering leading to multiple signal components arriving at the array from a spread of angles. This multipath angle spread is well known to lead to loss of spatial signal coherence, requiring complicated combining schemes to achieve optimal performance, particularly when the signal is partially coherent across the receiving array. We show that the discrete Fourier transform serves as an efficient, robust, and asymptotically optimal spatial combiner for uniform linear arrays (ULAs) in multipath channels. In addition, the proposed spatial processing allows for convenient integration of conventional frequency-domain methods for angle-of-arrival searches. Simulation results show that the proposed combining scheme provides near-optimal performance at significantly less computation, even for arrays of moderate size.
Date of Publication: Feb 2003