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We propose a new two-stage approach to estimate the nominal angles of arrival (AoAs) and the angular spreads (ASs) of multiple locally scattered sources using a uniform linear array (ULA) of sensors. In contrast to earlier works, we consider both long- and short-term channel variations, typically encountered in wireless links. In the first stage, we exploit sources independence to blindly estimate the channel over several data blocks regularly spaced by intervals larger than the coherence time but each, short enough in length, to make time variations negligible within the block duration. We, thereby, decouple the multisource channel parameters estimation problem in hand into parallel and independent single-source channel parameters estimation subproblems. In the second stage, for each spatially scattered source, we process the corresponding sequence of quasi-independent channel realization estimates as a new single-scattered-source observation over which we apply Taylor series expansions to transform the estimation of the nominal AoA and the AS of the corresponding scattered source into a simple localization of two closely spaced, equi-powered, and uncorrelated rays (i.e., point sources). To localize both rays, we propose new accurate and computationally simple closed-form expressions for the mean value of the spatial harmonics and their separation by means of covariance fitting. An asymptotic performance analysis is also provided to prove the efficiency of the proposed estimators. Then, the AS and the nominal AoA of every source are directly deduced. The whole proposed framework takes advantage of the capabilities of the preprocessing channel identification step (to reduce the noise effect and decouple the estimation of the channel parameters of every source from the others) and the new simple and accurate closed-form estimators to accurately retrieve the channel parameters even in the most adverse conditions, mainly low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), few sensors, no- - prior knowledge of the angular distribution, and closely spaced sources, as supported by simulations.
Date of Publication: May 2008