A low-cost, compact, short-pulse ice-penetrating radar (IPR) system with a center frequency of 50 MHz for sounding glacier topography is presented. The radar was developed to measure ice thickness and to image internal structures and basal conditions of glaciers and ice sheets with a maximum range of ∼16000 ns and a depth resolution better than 2.5 m. The receiver of the IPR system employs asynchronous operation mode, avoiding the need for a cable between the transmitter and receiver. A new sampling technology using a high-speed field programmable gate array, which implements a 256-trace stacking algorithm to realize the analog-to-digital conversion, both simplifies the structure of the receiver and increases the sampling efficiency. The power consumption of the whole receiver is <1.5 W, which can be supplied by a laptop computer. Test measurements were made during the 5th China Expedition to the Grove Mountains in East Antarctica. Field tests show the capability of this system to measure ice thickness up to 650 m and to define internal layers within the ice body.