Spectrum Monitoring

  • Spectrum monitoring serves as the eyes and ears of the spectrum management process. It is necessary in practice because in reality, authorized use of the spectrum does not ensure that it is being used as intended. This may be due to the complexity of the equipment, interaction with other equipment, a malfunction of equipment, or deliberate misuse. The problem has been further exacerbated due to the accelerating proliferation of terrestrial wireless and satellite systems and of equipment that may cause interference, such as computers and other unintentional radiators.
  • The monitoring system provides a method of verification and “closes the loop” on the spectrum management process. Monitoring is closely associated with inspection and compliance in that it enables the identification and measurement of spectrum usage, interference sources, the verification of proper technical and operational characteristics of radiated signals, and detection and identification of illegal transmitters, producing data on the effectiveness of spectrum management policies.
  • Thus the purpose of spectrum monitoring is to support the spectrum management process in general by providing measurement of channel and band usage, including channel availability statistics of a technical and operational nature, thereby giving a measure of spectrum occupancy.
  • Monitoring is also useful for planning, in that it can assists spectrum managers in understanding the level of spectrum use as compared to the assignments that are registered on paper or in data files.
  • In general terms, monitoring gives feedback to spectrum management on whether the practical use of the spectrum matches the national policy. Monitoring can also identify the need for future requirements for spectrum management officials. In this case monitoring gives feed-forward information to spectrum management.

Objectives of Spectrum Monitoring


To assist in the resolution of electromagnetic spectrum interference, whether on a local, regional or global scale, so that radio services and stations may coexist compatibly, reducing and minimizing resources associated with installing and operating these telecommunication services while providing economic benefit to a country’s infrastructure through access to interference- free, accessible telecommunication services.


To provide valuable monitoring data to an administration’s electromagnetic spectrum management process concerning the actual use of frequencies and bands (e.g., channel occupancy and band congestion), verification of proper technical and operational characteristics of transmitted signals (license compliance), detection and identification of illegal transmitters and potential interferers, and the generation and verification of frequency records;


To help enforce compliance with international radio traffic regulations, as breaches can be recognized in time by means of radio surveillance and radiomonitoring.Radio traffic is governed by international regulations. This is to ensure that when police, radio stations, air traffic control and radio hams are all on the air at the same time, they do not cause mutual interference.


To assist in ensuring an acceptable quality of radio and television reception by the general public.


To provide valuable monitoring information for programmes organized by the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau (Bureau), for example in preparing reports to Radiocommunication Conferences, in seeking special assistance of administrations in eliminating harmful interference, in clearing out-of-band operations, or in assisting administrations in finding suitable frequencies.

FAB Spectrum Monitoring Facilities

Spectrum monitoring department of FAB efficiently monitors the use of radio frequency spectrum and ensures the proper implementation of National Frequency Plan in order to limit radio frequency interference and restrict any illegal usage. With state of the art spectrum monitoring equipment and highly qualified & skilled technical staff working round the clock, FAB deliver up to the mark spectrum monitoring performance by ensuring availability of interference free spectrum to licensed users and eliminating the illegal use of frequencies.

FAB has countrywide monitoring & measuring systems from 9 kHz to 40 GHz consisting of 7x VHF/UHF, 2x MF/HF and 1x Satellite Fixed Monitoring Stations and 9x MMS, 7x Portable and 3x MMMS monitoring systems mainly divided into two regions as per detail below

North Monitoring Stations

  1. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Islamabad
  2. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Lahore
  3. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Peshawar
  4. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Quetta
  5. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Azad Jammu & Kashmir
  6. Fixed Satellite Monitoring Station Wani
  7. MF/HF Station Wani

South Monitoring Stations

  1. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Gilgit/Baltistan
  2. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Multan
  3. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Hyderabad
  4. VHF/UHF Fixed Monitoring Station Karachi
  5. MF/HF Station Ghagghar

Types of Monitoring Facilities

1. Fixed Monitoring Station

2. Mobile Monitoring Station

3. Portable Monitoring System

NFMMS Architecture


FAB Monitoring and Measurement Capabilities:

Measurement Range:




Fixed MF/HF Station


Fixed VHF/UHF Station


Fixed Satellite Stations


Mobile Monitoring Station (MMS)


Mobile Microwave Monitoring Station (MMMS)


Portable Monitoring System (PR-100)

Measurement Capabilities:

  • Measurement of frequency
  • Measurement of RF level
  • Measurement of field strength and power-flux density
  • Bandwidth measurements
  • Modulation measurements
  • Compliance measurement
  • Spectrum occupancy measurements
  • Unwanted emission (out-of-band & spurious) measurement
  • Identification of illegal use of radio spectrum
  • Signal source location through homing and triangulation
  • Investigation of radio spectrum interference complaints
  • Measurements for health hazards surveys
  • Measurements for coverage & quality of service check
  • Optimization of jammers in context of national security

Monitoring Procedures

Routine based:

Routine monitoring is performed regularly at Fixed/Mobile/Portable monitoring stations to:

  • Detect and identify the illegal use of radio spectrum by un-authorized users.
  • Verify the technical parameters of authorized users/ licensees.
  • Check the license violations or deviation from assigned parameters by licensees.
  • Confirm the compliance of transmissions with national & international regulations and standards.

Task based:

Task based monitoring activities are conducted normally by Mobile & Portable monitoring stations for:

  • Spectrum occupancy measurements in support of planning and assigning spectrum to new services.
  • Addressing the interference complaints of licensees/ authorized operators.
  • Optimization of jammers operation in context of national security
  • Gauging the health related effects of radio transmissions
  • Spillover of cellular services across international borders.
  • Spectrum re-farmation and vacation procedures execution.
  • Any other special task or survey related to radio spectrum required by     the regulatory bodies and departments of the government.

International Monitoring

  • Radio Regulation Article 16 contains the provisions governing the establishment and operation of the international monitoring system.
  • The international monitoring system comprises only those monitoring stations that are designated as such by administrations.
  • In accordance with RR Article 20, information on stations is published by the ITU in the List of International Monitoring Stations (also known as List VIII), together with the name of the centralizing office.
  • All the monitoring stations of FAB are registered in List VIII (11th Edition) of ITU to participate in international monitoring activities. ListVIII_Amd3.