Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Henry Chen (Advisor)

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering (MSEgr)


The Global Positioning System or GPS is a satellite based technology that has gained widespread use worldwide in civilian and military applications. Direct Sequence Spread spectrum (DSSS) is the method whereby the data transmitted by the satellite and received by user is kept secure, low power and relatively noise-immune. The first step required in the GPS operation is to perform a lock on the incoming signal, both with respect to time synchronization and frequency resolution. Because of the need for reduced time to lock and also reduced hardware, algorithms based in the frequency domain have been developed. These algorithms take advantage of the time to frequency matrix operation known as the fast Fourier transform or FFT. For this thesis, a Direct Sequence Spread Spectrum Coarse Acquisition code processor based on the FFT was implemented in VHDL and targeted to a Xilinx Virtex –II Pro Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA). The use of the FFT allows simultaneous lock on coarse acquisition (C/A) code and carrier frequency. Because of hardware limitations, a novel technique of sub-sampling is used in this system to obtain data block sizes that match hardware limitations. In addition, design challenges related to scheduling and timing were addressed, allowing a system with 19 pipeline stages to be built. The system, which fits on a Xilinx Virtex-II pro XC2VP70 FPGA, uses 10 ms of data to perform the lock with 5.5 ms of processing time at 100 MHz and theoretically can operate on signals 20 db below the noise floor.

Page Count


Department or Program

Department of Electrical Engineering

Year Degree Awarded