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Radar Applications | Spectrum


Technology advances in hardware and software has seen radar employed in an ever increasing range of commercial and military applications. While radar still remains a key technology for the monitoring of aircraft and ships, miniaturization and cost reduction has seen the technology move into many new applications areas including those in the automotive industry, security, non-destructive inspection, meteorology, archeology, mining and surveying.

Spectrum digitizers and arbitrary waveform generators are ideal tools for capturing and creating radar signals. As such, they can play an important role in the development, testing and operation of radar systems and their key components. Spectrum digitizers and arbitrary waveform generators offer a wide range of bandwidths, sampling rates, and dynamic range to match the expanding range of radar measurement needs. When large dynamic range and maximum sensitivity is required high-resolution 14 and 16 bit digitizers are available for capturing and analyzing signals that go up to 250 MHz in frequency. For even higher frequency requirements 8 bit digitizers are available that offer up to 5 GS/s sampling rates and 1.5 GHz bandwidth. The digitizer products can also be used with down-converters to further extend the operational frequency range. Each digitizer card can have from one to four channels (eight channels on lower speed cards) and up to eight cards can be linked together with Spectrum's Star-Hub system to create instruments with up to 32 fully synchronous channels. With  large on-board memory (up to 4 GSamples/card) and advanced streaming and readout modes the digitizers are ideal for capturing long and complex radar bursts. Advanced high speed triggering, complete with trigger time stamping, helps to ensure important events are never missed and basic radar parameters such as pulse repetition interval and frequency (PRI and PRF) can be measured with ease. Spectrum's SBench 6 software can also be used to view and qualify I and Q signals as well as helping to characterize timing issues such as leading and trailing edge pulse jitter.

Typical radar applications are diverse and include air and sea traffic control, moving target indication (MTI), Secondary Surveillance radar (SSR), Doppler radar, Synthetic Aperture radar (SAR), Phased array radar, Ground Penetrating radar (GPR), Electronic Warfare, Missile and remotely piloted vehicle guidance systems, Weather radar, Tracking radar, Speed Guns, Over-the-horizon radar (OTH), 3D radar, Automotive radar and Distance measuring equipment (DME).

Spectrum Product Features

  • 14 and 16 Bit Resolution
  • Sampling rates up to 5 GS/s and Bandwidth over 1.5 GHz
  • Segmented Memory with FIFO Readout
  • Streaming data to RAID disc array at up to 3 GByte/s continuously
  • Low Dead Time between triggers (< 80 ns)
  • Acquisition and Generation (Continuous Radar Simulation)

Matching Card Families

  • M4i.44xx: 14/16 Bit 500 MS/s to 130 MS/s digitizer
  • M4i.22xx: 8 Bit 1.25 GS/s to 5 GS/s digitizer
  • M2i.49xx: 16 Bit 10 MS/s to 60 MS/s digitizer
  • M2i.60xx: 14 Bit 125 MS/s Arbitrary Waveform Generator