Analyzing Radar Signals with Wideband Power Sensors

by Ladybug

Radio Detection and Ranging (Radar) pulsed radio transmission and reception to identify entities based on their velocity, distance, angle, and other parameters. They are used in mission-critical applications such as defense, aerospace, ships, spacecraft, and so on. A radar system senses bounced RF electromagnetic signals received from a target to gather information about the target entity. The received signals are interpreted in various ways such as pulse repetition frequency, pulse width, and so on.

Developing and testing radar systems requires high-quality power sensors, in some cases power sensors are integrated into the systems. Wide bandwidth pulse and pulse profiling sensors are suitable for radar applications owing to their direct reading pulse measurement features. This post takes a look at the basics of radar signals and various types of power sensors for analyzing radar signals.

What are Radar Signals?

These are radio frequency electromagnetic signals, which travel in preprogrammed directions. A radar has a transmitter and receiver. The radio waves reflect off the target object and return to the receiver. Pulse signals are most widely used in radar systems. Usually, these are signals with very low duty cycle RF pulses. Pulse signals are often Moving Target Indicator (MTI) or Pulse Doppler. Pulse Repetition Frequency (PRF) and pulse width (PW) determine the resolution and range of the radar system. A narrow pulse width may have a small range but offers a better resolution than a wide pulse width with a broad range.

Wideband power sensors help analyze these pulsed or modulated signals. Their pulse analysis function enables the measurement of significant pulse parameters, increases the testing speed, and simplifies the overall process.

Types of Suitable Power Sensors

Power sensors have many application areas in the manufacturing sector and across industries, such as calibration, testing, EMC, ATE, and so on. Radar systems also utilize certain types of power sensors. Here are a few types of power sensors used for radar applications:

  • True-RMS Average Power Sensors: These diode based sensors provide the ultimate accuracy for any signal. While these are not wide-bandwidth sensors, known Duty-Cycle can be input into the software to determine pulse power.
  • Peak and Average Power Sensors: These fast sensors are suitable for general purpose scalar analyzing, fast wide dynamic range pulsed RF measurements. Their excellent sensitivity and wide dynamic range make them ideal for statistical pulse measuring from below -50 dBm to +20dBm. They can also make low power CW measurements at over 2,000 measurements per second.
  • Pulse Profiling Sensors: These sensors include all of the features of Peak and Average sensors, plus a time domain plot and signal triggered pulse measurements with time information.

General Features of Power Sensors for Analyzing Radar Signals

Wideband power sensors are used for peak, pulse, and average power measurements. They feature the ability to measure pulsed power at low levels. LadyBug pulse sensors are available with frequency ranges from 10 MHz to 20 GHz depending upon the model. Here are some common features of power sensors used in radar systems:

  • ATE (Automated test Equipment) support
  • A variety of connector options.
  • Statistical models measure peak and pulse power. duty cycle and average power.
  • Include a data logger.
  • High measuring speed.
  • Models with pulse profile capability (time-domain analysis).
  • Compatible with widely used operating systems such as Win XP through Win10.
  • Fast easy analysis of pulsed radar signals.

Engineers, Technicians and Manufacturers of radar systems all use RF Power Sensors. Whether it be and ATE manufacturing system, field service, or laboratory design, LadyBug’s full line of sensors fit the requirement for radar development, manufacturing and service. These sensors are fully traceable to NIST, accurately and calibrated with uncertainty detail provided. LadyBug’s Power Sensors utilize our patented No-Zero No-Cal before use technology which includes thermal stability.