19 May 2015 A low cost, low power, S-band radar for atmospheric turbulence studies
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We present a frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) radar capable of measuring atmospheric turbulence profiles within the Earth’s surface layer. Due to the low cost and easily automated design, a number of units may be built and deployed to sites of interest around the world. Each unit would be capable of collecting turbulence strength, as a function of altitude, with a range of about 50 meters above the antenna plane. Such data is valuable to developers of directed energy, laser communications, imaging, and other optical systems, where good engineering design is based on an understanding of the details of the turbulence in which those systems will have to operate. The radar is based on the MIT “coffee can” design1,2. It is FCC compliant, operating in the 2.4 GHz instrumentation, science, and medical (ISM) band with less than 1 watt effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP). It is expected to cost less than $1000 per unit and is built from commercial off the shelf parts, along with easily constructed horn antennas. Major modifications to the design in 1,2 are the inclusion of horn antennas for directivity, and a straight forward processing software change that increases integration times to the order of tens of seconds to a minute. Here, a prototype system is described and preliminary data is presented.
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Thomas C. Farrell, Thomas C. Farrell, "A low cost, low power, S-band radar for atmospheric turbulence studies", Proc. SPIE 9465, Laser Radar Technology and Applications XX; and Atmospheric Propagation XII, 94650S (19 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2175512; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2175512

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