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  • Print publication year: 2016
  • Online publication date: November 2016

9 - Multiple-receiver and multiple-frequency radar techniques

Summary

Introduction

As we have already discussed, there are many competing factors that must be taken into account in order to optimally investigate the atmosphere through radar observations. One of the more notable examples is the Doppler dilemma. Obviously one would like to select an inter-pulse period (IPP) corresponding to a sufficiently large Nyquist velocity interval. Here sufficiently large means a velocity range that encompasses most of the anticipated radial velocities to be observed. The range of Nyquist velocities is extended by decreasing the IPP. However, decreasing the IPP also reduces the maximum unambiguous range that can be measured. Ideally one would like to maintain a large Nyquist velocity (short IPP) and large maximum unambiguous range (long IPP) – hence the dilemma. Another example involves the disparity between the desire to improve range resolution and improve radar sensitivity. Range resolution can be improved by decreasing the radar pulse width; however, this means a decrease in the amount of power that illuminates a scatterer and corresponding decrease in detectability. That is, the desire to increase the detectability of atmospheric signals by transmitting longer radar pulses is at odds with the need to improve range resolution.

In many cases, techniques have been developed that allow us to work around the compromises that arise in designing radar experiments. For example, pulse compression (discussed in Chapter 4) is used to improve range resolution without compromising the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) (Schmidt et al., 1979). By and large, such techniques are known to introduce corresponding undesirable side effects. For the case of pulse compression, either the existence of some level of range side-lobes, or a decrease in temporal resolution, are a by-product of complementary codes.

In this chapter, we discuss how the use of multiple-receiver and multiple-frequency techniques can be used in atmospheric remote sensing as a means of improving angular and range resolution respectively. Before proceeding, we should clarify one point of nomenclature. The term multiple-receiver will be used throughout this chapter to describe a radar system that is capable of receiving and recording atmospheric signals on two or more spatially separated antennas or groups of antennas. The myriad names associated with interferometric techniques were discussed in Chapter 2, Section 2.15.6: here, we will discuss in detail just a subset of these, but the points discussed will cover to some extent all the techniques.