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Two-dimensional (2-D) spectrum sensing is addressed in the context of a cognitive radar to gather real-time space-frequency electromagnetic awareness. Assuming a sensor equipped with multiple receive antennas, a discrete-time sensing signal model formally accounting for multiple snapshots of observations is introduced. Hence, a new signal processing strategy exploiting the inherent block-sparsity of the overall profile is developed to glean a reliable 2-D occupancy awareness. Specifically, the proposed approach resorts to the regularized maximum likelihood estimation paradigm including a term promoting the block-sparsity of the 2-D profile so as to automatically foster this peculiarity in the profile evaluation. Some illustrative examples (both on simulated and measured data) are provided to compare the novel strategy with a relevant counterpart available in the open literature and highlight the effectiveness of the developed approach.
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