Radar and Measurement Technology

Implementation of a Burst-Mode Technique and
Variable Coherent Integration to Minimize Radar Data Collection Time

Presentation Scheduled for: AMTA 2013 Symposium, Columbus, Ohio, October 2013

Christopher M. Fry, Charles D. Walters, Dr. John R. Raber
Radar Physics Laboratory
System Planning Corporation
Arlington, Virginia, USA

Abstract - Compact ranges are ideal settings for collecting low-RCS measurement data at high pulse rates. However, until recently, two operating constraints have limited the efficiency of instrumentation radar systems in this setting: (1) system delays limiting Pulse Repetition Frequency (PRF) and (2) fixed integration across frequency resulting in more time spent on certain frequencies than required. In this paper, we demonstrate the capability to significantly increase data throughput by using a Burst-Mode to increase the usable PRF and a frequency table editing mode to vary integration levels across the frequency bandwidth. A major factor in the choice of PRF for a specific application is system hardware delays. We describe the use of a Burst-Mode of operation in the MkVe Radar to reduce delays caused by physical layout of the instrumentation hardware. Burst-Mode essentially removes setup time in the system, reducing the time between pulses to the roundtrip time of flight from the antenna to the target. Most pulsed-IF instrumentation radar users fix the coherent integration level for the entire measurement waveform, even though the set level of integration may not be required at all frequencies to achieve the desired sensitivity. We describe the use of a frequency table Parameter Editor Mode in the MkVe that allows the integration level to vary for each step in the waveform. We demonstrate the use of both methods to reduce data collection time by a factor of seven using a MkVe Radar installed in a compact range.

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