X-Band Phased-Array Radar


The Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts has developed a low cost mobile X-band phased array weather radar. A limitation of current operational meteorological radar systems is low temporal resolution. Long revisit time on order of 5 min reduces the chance to observe quickly evolving phenomena such as tornadoes as well as issuing accurate warnings in advance. It is believed that electronically scanned antennas pose a solution to solve this restriction, but due to the high cost of narrow beam phased arrays, their implementation in weather sensing radar remains very limited. Additionally, a developed system provides dual polarization capability that significantly improves the quality of weather forecasts.

The system consists of the Phase-Tilt Antenna, Up/Down Converter, Array Controller/Formatter, IF Digital Transceiver, Host Computer and Pedestal. The Phase Tilt Antenna subsystem was designed at the Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere [1][2]. It is a one dimensional dual-polarization active array antenna that enables electronic scanning in the azimuth plane, while scanning in the elevation plane is performed mechanically. This type of antenna architecture reduces the number of required T/R modules and hence significantly decreases the overall system cost. A FPGA based Array Controller/Formatter provides control and timing signals for all subsystems. The host computer generates all scanning settings, executes signal processing and controls the data flow.


Available Documents


[1]  Medina, R.H., E.J. Knapp, J.L. Salazar, A.P. Hopf, and D.J. McLaughlin, 2010: “T/R Module for CASA Phase-Tilt Radar Antenna Array”, IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems & Technology

[2] Salazar, J.L., E.J. Knapp, and D.J. McLaughlin, 2010: “Dual-polarization performance of the phase-tilt antenna array in a CASA dense network radar”, Proceedings of IGARSS 2010, 3470 - 3473

[3]  V. Venkatesh, K. Orzel and S. Frasier ,“ Simulation of Spaced-Antenna retrievals for an X-band active phased array weather radar”, AMS 35th Conference on Radar Meteorology, September 2011

[4] Orzel, K., Venkatesh V., Palumbo R., Medina R., Salazar J., Krishnamurthy A., Knapp E., McLaughlin D., Tessier R., Frasier S., 2011: ”Mobile X-band Dual Polarization Phased Array Radar: System Requirements and Development.”, 35th AMS Conference on Radar Meteorology

[5] Orzel, K., Venkatesh V., Hartley T., Frasier S., 2013: “Development and Calibration of a X-band Dual Polarization Phased Array Radar”, Proceedings of 2013 IEEE Radar Conference