Hang Du

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)


Electrical Engineering

First Advisor

JianJian Song

Second Advisor

Mark Yoder

Third Advisor

Claude Anderson


An improved search method for localizing a radio emitter in a building from its signal strength is proposed and implemented. It starts from floor level determination, which samples the signal strength on each floor and determines the floor level of the emitter. Then the search is conducted iteratively on a specific floor. For each round of search, one-dimensional (1-D) or two-dimensional (2-D) signal strength is collected according to the actual structure of the floor. The signal strength data are processed to fit a 1-D curve or a 2-D surface with regression models to establish an indicator or trend, which can either locate the emitter or provide direction for the next round of search. The main contribution of this thesis is that the data processing results for 2- D signal strength data can locate the emitter or show the direction of the emitter through gradient, which is helpful to future search. Our approach has been implemented with two wireless protocols: 433MHz protocol and 2.4GHz wireless local area network (WLAN) protocol. A 433MHz module with LoRa modulation is chosen to provide long propagation distance. A 2.4GHz WLAN tester is used for close range search where 433MHz signal does not show enough attenuation spread to be effective. 433MHz implementation consists of an emitter, a radio tester and an Android APP on a smartphone. The emitter is a board with an Arduino Uno and a 433MHz transceiver. The radio tester is a board with an Arduino Uno, a 433MHz transceiver and a Bluetooth-to-serial module to communicate with a smartphone. The radio tester and the APP work together to localize the emitter. 2.4GHz WLAN implementation is composed of an emitter, which is emulated with a smartphone, a radio tester which consists of a smartphone, and a router and two Android APPs. Both phones are connected through the router and socket communication is initiated with the radio tester working as a server and the emitter working as a client. The APP on the emitter implements the client functions. The radio tester controls data acquisition process. The APP on the tester establishes the server functions and deals with received data. It compares signal strengths in different locations and finds the position that has the strongest signal strength to locate the emitter. The innovative idea of this thesis is to use 1-D and 2-D signal strength with regression models as it is convenient to provide location or unique search direction of the emitter. 1-D data is processed with linear and polynomial regressions to fit curves in order to find possible location of the emitter in either a narrow strip or a half a plane. 2-D data is processed with multiple regressions to fit contour-line surfaces in order to find either location of the emitter on the top of a surface or a unique search direction of the location of the emitter as indicated by the highest surface gradient. Our approach is compared with the centroid algorithm with an example. The centroid algorithm assumes the emitter is located in the search area and it is also easily influenced by sampling location biases. Our approach has two advantages over the centroid algorithm. The first advantage is that our approach can work even when the emitter is out of the initial search area since it searches iteratively. The second advantage is that when the emitter is in the initial search area, our approach is not influenced by sampling location biases.