It is well-known that the analog FM radio channels in suburban areas are underutilized. Before reallocating the unused channels for other applications, a regulator must analyze the spectrum occupancy. Many researchers proposed the spectrum occupancy models to find vacant spectrum. However, the existing models do not analyze each channel individually. This paper proposes an approach consisting (i) a spectrum measurement strategy, (ii) an appropriate decision threshold, and (iii) criteria for channel classification, to find the unused channels. The measurement strategy monitors each channel's activity by capturing the power levels of the passband and the guardband separately. The decision threshold is selected depending on the monitored channel's activity. The criteria classifies the channels based on the passband's and guardband's duty cycles. The results show that the proposed channel classification can identify 42 unused channels. If the power levels of wholebands (existing model) were analyzed instead of passband's and guardband's duty cycles, only 24 unoccupied channels were found. Furthermore, we propose the interference criteria, based on relative duty cycles across channels, to classify the abnormally used channels into interference sources and interference sinks, which have 16 and 15 channels, respectively. This information helps the dynamic spectrum sharing avoid or mitigate the interferences.
Keywords: cognitive radio; dynamic spectrum access; public safety band; spectrum measurement; spectrum sharing.