Q&A With Mark Coleman, Vice President Of QRC® Technologies

As we continue delivering specialized products for our Department of Defense customers, we sat down with Mark Coleman, vice president of QRC® Technologies, to discuss how the group is developing smart, scalable products to meet spectrum management challenges.

QRC is an agile, disruptive product company headquartered in Fredericksburg, VA., that specializes in radio frequency spectrum survey, record and playback; signals intelligence; and electronic warfare missions for the U.S. Special Operations Command, U.S. Intelligence Community, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and international customers.

  • What’s the significance of the WBT-3202?
    • At the core of the WBT-3202 is a software-defined radio (SDR) that’s wholly designed, developed, and produced in house. In addition, it extends frequency from 6 GHz to 18 GHz, and the architecture allows for the expansion to 40 GHz in the future. The bandwidth is also significantly increased, from 50 MHz per channel to 160 MHz per channel , for a total instantaneous bandwidth of 320 MHz. As our customers begin to focus on new complex signals, the additional frequency range and bandwidth will enable users to capture the spectrum of frequency-agile communications and RADAR systems.
  • What does the new radio mean for Parsons (QRC)?
    • This radio both presents an increase in capability for spectrum recording and also will serve as the foundation for our line of products with the SDR at its core. This foundation, or platform, allows us to develop cutting-edge software applications to solve our customers’ challenges in both near and long terms. The proprietary design will also enable us to control and expand the platform as the need arises.
  • What will the new radio allow Parsons (QRC) to do?
    • This new SDR is a launching point for a whole host of products designed to enable users to characterize, control, and dominate the electromagnetic spectrum. These solutions include products encompassing signature management, electronic warfare, cyberspace operations, information warfare, and military deception.
    • Concurrent with the development of the radio is next year’s launch of signal detection and recognition software powered by artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) algorithms. This radio frequency machine learning (RFML) will form the software underpinning alongside the hardware foundation of the QRC SDR.
  • What else is going on at Parsons (QRC)?
    • In addition to the line of software defined radios, we’ll continue to provide integrated solutions focused on advanced network survey and wireless device detection. We’ll be delivering solutions focused on 5G, the next generation of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and the Internet of Things.
  • What can we expect to see from Parsons (QRC) in 2021?
    • 2021 is going to be a pivotal year for QRC. Until now, QRC was known as the cellular survey company or as the company that made the WBT. We want to expand on these roots. We have a history in characterizing the RF portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, but as we transition from products that characterize the spectrum to ones that control and ultimately dominate the EMS, 2021 will be highlighted by a number of new efforts:
    • First, we will launch a spectrum-awareness solution that will learn new electromagnetic spectrum signatures from the tactical edge and transition that learned behavior to other units in the field. This technology will be powered by machine learning algorithms that will significantly reduce the time needed to identify and learn new signal types.
    • Second, we are developing a solution that enables users to pair the core technology that powers our WBT® family of products with third parties, allowing them to record spectrum with the ease of a WBT from any SDR.
    • And finally, we will continue to lead in cellular survey and develop tools to capture and survey Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. In addition, we’ll be launching a solution focused on making sense of your own electromagnetic signatures.
About The Author

Mark Coleman is vice president and general manager for QRC Technologies, the products arm of Parsons. He leads QRC in its mission to be a leading provider of solutions to characterize, control, and dominate the electromagnetic spectrum. Mark has been leading directed energy and electromagnetic warfare efforts for defense applications for more than 15 years—all with Parsons. He holds an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in mechanical engineering.

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