Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
the research laboratory of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration

ITS: The Nation’s Spectrum and Communications Lab

Our mission is to ADVANCE innovation in communications technologies, INFORM spectrum and communications policy for the benefit of all stakeholders, and INVESTIGATE our Nation’s most pressing telecommunications challenges through research that employees are proud to deliver. Learn more about ITS on our YouTube Channel or read about our research programs in the Technical Progress Report.


August 18, 2020

Presentations from the ISART 2020, the International Symposium on Advanced Radio Technologies: 5G Spectrum and a Zero-Trust Network are now available on the ...

April 2, 2020

The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act, signed into law on January 14, 2019, requires federal agencies to publish their information online as open data, using standardized, machine-readable...

May 9, 2019

ITS has a long history of leadership in air-to-ground propagation model development within the International Telecommunications Union – Radiocommunication Sector’s (ITU-R) Study Group 3 – Radiowave Propagation (and its...

March 10, 2019

How can we get more use out of the radio spectrum? One way is by sharing radio bands between users who have never shared before. Consider radio frequencies near 3.5 GHz. Until recently, that part of the spectrum was...

November 26, 2018

Behind every initiative to share spectrum are models of how radio waves in a particular band propagate through different environments. How far will a signal travel before it becomes too faint to be useful or...

New Publications

This Month in ITS History

January 1943: First Radio Proximity Fuzed Ordinance Used in Combat

On January 5, 1943, the St. Louis Class light cruiser, USS Helena fired the first radio proximity fuzed ordinance in a combat action. The proximity fuze is considered to be one of the most important inventions to come out of World War II. Bombs that explode before impact cause greater damage than those that explode after impact, and reduce the effectiveness of foxholes and trenches. During the First World War, bombers realized this and attempted to bounce bombs off trees, cliffs, and other natural formations to trigger contact detonators. Soon timed fuzes were installed in ordinances, but these required perfect timing to explode in the proper position. Radio proximity fuzes held the promise of sensing their own altitude by reflecting radio waves off the ground and detonating at the proper time for maximum effect. Since 1940, the Navy and National Bureau of Standards had been working on parallel radio fuze projects. The Bureau's ordinance work was headed by Harry Diamond, and his Ordinance Development Division remained active until 1953, when it was transferred to the Army and renamed Diamond Ordinance Fuze Laboratories in honor of the NBS scientist. ITS researchers no longer develop ordinance, but they still work to keep members of the Armed Forces safe. Recent work includes improving tools for operational communications planning and developing propagation models for zero-height antennas—models that can help design systems to interfere with the signal intended to remotely detonate a buried improvised explosive device (IED).