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Can a signal below -176 dbm, which is 1.6 db below thermal noise at room temperature, be decoded irrespective of the modulation type?

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No, not irrespective of modulation type. If you know that you need to deal with signals like that, you pick a modulation scheme that provides "gain" in the demodulation process.

For example, GPS uses direct-sequence spread spectrum, which allows the wideband energy of the signal to be "refocused" to a narrow bandwidth, providing a huge amount of gain over the thermal noise.

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