The Search for MH370

Serving the MH370 Global Community

WSPRnet radio signals can reliably detect and track aircraft over long distances to the other side of the globe. Anomalies in the WSPRnet data, in either the received signal level, or received frequency, or frequency drift indicate a possible disturbance by an aircraft.

WSPRnet is a multi-static and multi-frequency system with global coverage. There are currently around 6 million distinctive links between WSPR transmitters and receivers from around the world with a propagation distance greater than 3,000 km recorded in the WSPRnet database.

The long coherent integration time of the WSPRnet receivers, the enhanced radar footprint of modern aircraft in the WSPRnet wavelength bands and the global coverage of WSPRnet propagations ensure a high level of detection and reliable tracking of aircraft.

The WSPRnet technique is, in its simplest form, statistical post processing of the meta-data from a communications link. We combine the reflection of radio waves by aircraft as used in radar, with ionospheric propagation and the WSPR protocol to detect and track aircraft over long distances. 

This technique was used to track MH370 from the last confirmed radar detection on 7th March 2014 at 18:00 UTC until the end of flight on 8th March 2014 at 00:28 UTC. A total of 313 anomalies in the signal level or frequency of the WSPR signals were detected at the estimated position of MH370 at 130 different points in time.

The crash location of MH370 was at 29.128°S 99.934°E, which is outside the previous ATSB and Ocean Infinity underwater search areas.

A technical paper describing the WSPR technique for detecting and tracking aircraft over long distances can be downloaded here