1.Explain the prediction of range performance.

1.Explain the prediction of range performance.
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1.Explain the prediction of range performance.
The simple form of the radar equation expressed the maximum radar range Rmax, in terms of
radar and target parameters:
All the parameters are to some extent under the control of the radar designer, except for the
target cross section σ. The radar equation states that if long ranges are desired, the transmitted
power must be large, the radiated energy must be concentrated into a narrow beam (high
transmitting antenna gain), the received echo energy must be collected with a large antenna
aperture (also synonymous with high gain), and the receiver must be sensitive to weak signals.
In practice, however, the simple radar equation does not predict the range
performance of actual radar equipments to a satisfactory degree of accuracy. The predicted
values of radar range are usually optimistic. In some cases the actual range might be only half
that predicted. Part of this discrepancy is due to the failure of Eq. above to explicitly include the
various losses that can occur throughout the system or the loss in performance usually
experienced when electronic equipment is operated in the field rather than under
laboratory-type conditions. Another important factor that must be considered in the radar
equation is the statistical or unpredictable nature of several of the parameters. The minimum
detectable signal Smin and the target cross section σ are both statistical in nature and must be
expressed in statistical terms.
Other statistical factors which do not appear explicitly in Eq. but
which have an effect on the radar performance are the meteorological conditions along the
propagation path and the performance of the radar operator, if one is employed. The
statistical nature of these several parameters does not allow the maximum radar range to be
described by a single number. Its specification must include a statement of the probability that
the radar will detect a certain type of target at a particular range.
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2. What is meant by minimum detectable signal in radar?
The ability of a radar receiver to detect a weak echo signal is limited by the noise energy that
occupies the same portion of the frequency spectrum as does the signal energy. The weakest
signal the receiver can detect is called the minimum detectable signal. The specification of the
minimum detectable signal is sometimes difficult because of its statistical nature and because
the criterion for deciding whether a target is present or not may not be too well defined.
Detection is based on establishing a threshold level at the output of
the receiver. If the receiver output exceeds the threshold, a signal is assumed to be present. This
is called threshold detection. Consider the output of a typical radar receiver as a function of time
(Fig. 2.1). This might represent one sweep of the video output displayed on an A-scope. The
envelope has a fluctuating appearance caused by the random nature of noise. If a large signal is
present such as at A in Fig. 2.1, it is greater than the surrounding noise peaks and can be
recognized on the basis of its amplitude. Thus, if the threshold level were set sufficiently high,
the envelope would not generally exceed the threshold if noise alone were present, but would
exceed it if a strong signal were present. If the signal were small, however, it would be more
difficult to recognize its presence. The threshold level must be low if weak signals are to be
detected, but it cannot be so low that noise peaks cross the threshold and give a false indication
of the presence of targets.
The voltage envelope of Fig. 2.1 is assumed to be from a matched-filter
receiver. A matched filter is one designed to maximize the output peak signal to average noise
(power) ratio. It has a frequency-response function which is proportional to the complex
conjugate of the signal spectrum. (This is not the same as the concept of "impedance match " of
circuit theory.) The ideal matched-filter receiver cannot always be exactly realized in practice,
but it is possible to approach it with practical receiver circuits. A matched filter for a radar
transmitting a rectangular-shaped pulse is usually characterized by a bandwidth B approximately
the reciprocal of the pulse width τ, or Bτ ≈ 1. The output of a matched-filter receiver is
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Fig.2.1 Typical envelope of tile radar receiver output as a function of time A, and B and C
represent signal plus noise. A and B would be valid detections, but C is a missed detection.
the cross correlation between the received waveform and a replica of the transmitted
waveform. Hence it does not preserve the shape of the input waveform. (There is no reason to
wish to preserve the shape of the received waveform so long as the output signal-to-noise ratio is
3. Discuss in detail the quantitative analysis of receiver noise and hence derive
the expression for minimum detectable signal.
Receiver Noise:
Since noise is the chief factor limiting receiver sensitivity, it is necessary to obtain some means
of describing it quantitatively. Noise is unwanted electromagnetic energy which interferes with
the ability of the receiver to detect the wanted signal. It may originate within the receiver itself,
or it may enter via the receiving antenna along with the desired signal. If the radar were to
operate in a perfectly noise-free environment so that no external sources of noise accompanied
the desired signal, and if the receiver itself were so perfect that it did not generate any excess
noise, there would still exist an unavoidable component of noise generated by the thermal
motion of the conduction electrons in the ohmic portions of the receiver input stages. This is
called thermal noise, or Johnson noise, and is directly proportional to the temperature of the
ohmic portions of the circuit and the receiver bandwidth. The available thermal-noise power
generated by a receiver of bandwidth Bn, (in hertz) at a temperature T (degrees Kelvin) is
equal to
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where k = Boltzmann's constant = 1.38 x 10-23 J/deg. If the temperature T is taken to be 290 K,
which corresponds approximately to room temperature (62˚F), the factor kT is 4 x 10-21
W/Hz of bandwidth. If the receiver circuitry were at some other temperature, the thermal-noise
power would be correspondingly different.
A receiver with a reactance input such as a parametric
amplifier need not have any significant ohmic loss. The limitation in this case is the thermal
noise seen by the antenna and the ohmic losses in the transmission line.
For radar receivers of the superheterodyne type (the type of
receiver used for most radar applications), the receiver bandwidth is approximately that of
the intermediate-frequency stages. It should be cautioned that the bandwidth B, of Eq. is not the
3-dB, or half-power, bandwidth commonly employed by electronic engineers. It is an integrated
bandwidth and is given by
where H(f) = frequency-response characteristic of IF amplifier (filter) and fo = frequency of
maximum response (usually occurs at midband). When H (f) is normalized to unity at midband
(maximum-response frequency), H (fo) = 1. The bandwidth Bn is called the noise bandwidth and
is the bandwidth of an equivalent rectangular filter whose noise-power output is the same as the
filter with characteristic H (f). The 3-dB bandwidth is defined as the separation in hertz between
the points on the frequency-response characteristic where the response is reduced to 0.707 (3 dB)
from its maximum value. The 3-dB bandwidth is widely used, since it is easy to measure. The
measurement of noise bandwidth however, involves a complete knowledge of the response
characteristic H (f). The frequency-response characteristics of many practical radar receivers are
such that the 3-dB and the noise bandwidths do not differ appreciably. Therefore the 3-dB
bandwidth may be used in many cases as an approximation to the noise bandwidth.
The noise power in practical receivers is often greater than can be
accounted for by thermal noise alone. The additional noise components are due to mechanisms
other than the thermal agitation of the conduction electrons. The exact origin of the extra noise
components is not important except to know that it exists. No matter whether the noise is
generated by a thermal mechanism or by some other mechanism, the total noise at the output of
the receiver may be considered to be equal to the thermal-noise power obtained from an" ideal”
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receiver multiplied by a factor called the noise figure. The noise figure Fn of a receiver is
defined by the equation
where No = noise output from receiver, and Ga = available gain. The standard temperature T is
taken to be 290 K, according to the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
definition. The noise No is measured over the linear portion of the receiver input-output
characteristic, usually at the output of the IF amplifier before the nonlinear second detector.
The receiver bandwidth Bn is that of the IF amplifier in most receivers. The available gain Ga is
the ratio of the signal out So to the signal in Si, and kToBn is the input noise Ni in an ideal
receiver. Equation above may be rewritten as
The noise figure may be interpreted, therefore, as a measure of the degradation of signal-tonoise-ratio as the signal passes through the receiver.
Rearranging Eq. above the input signal may be expressed as
If the minimum detectable signal Smin, is that value of Si corresponding to the minimum ratio of
output (IF) signal-to-noise ratio (So /No)min necessary for detection, then
Substituting Eq. discussed above into Eq. earlier results in the following form of the radar
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4. Describe how threshold level for detection is decided in the presence of
receiver noise for a specified probability of occurrence of false alarms by
applying statistical noise theory.
Consider an IF amplifier with bandwidth BIF followed by a second detector and a video amplifier
with bandwidth Bv, (Fig. 4.1). The second detector and video amplifier are assumed to form an
envelope detector, that is, one which rejects the carrier frequency but passes the modulation
envelope. To extract the modulation envelope, the video bandwidth must be wide enough to pass
the low-frequency components generated by the second detector, but not so wide as to pass the
high-frequency components at or near the intermediate frequency. The video bandwidth Bv, must
be greater than BIF /2 in order to pass all the video modulation. Most radar receivers used in
conjunction with an operator viewing a CRT display meet this condition and may be considered
envelope detectors. Either a square-law or a linear detector may be assumed since the effect on
the detection probability by assuming one instead of the other is usually small.
Fig.4.1 Envelope detctor
The noise entering the IF filter (the terms filter and amplifier are used interchangeably) is
assumed to be gaussian, with probability-density function given by
where p(v) dv is the probability of finding the noise voltage v between the values of v
and v + dv, Ψo is the variance, or mean-square value of the noise voltage, and the mean value
of v is taken to be zero. If gaussian noise were passed through a narrowband IF filter-one
whose bandwidth is small compared with the mid frequency-the probability density of the
envelope of the noise voltage output is shown by Rice to be
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where R is the amplitude of the envelope of the filter output. Equation above is a form of the
Rayleigh probability-density function. The probability that the envelope of the noise voltage will
lie between the values of V1 and V2 is
The probability that the noise voltage envelope will exceed the voltage threshold VT is
Whenever the voltage envelope exceeds the threshold, target detection is considered to have
occurred, by definition. Since the probability of a false alarm is the probability that noise will
cross the threshold, Eq. above gives the probability of a false alarm, denoted Pfa
The average time interval between crossings of the threshold by noise alone
is defined as the false-alarm time Tfa,
where Tk is the time between crossings of the threshold VT by the noise envelope, when the
slope of the crossing is positive. The false-alarm probability may also be defined as the ratio of
the duration of time the envelope is actually above the threshold to the total time it could have
been above the threshold, or
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Fig.4.1 Envelope of receiver output illustrating false alarms due to noise.
where tk and Tk are defined in Fig.4.1. The average duration of a noise pulse is approximately
the reciprocal of the bandwidth B, which in the case of the envelope detector is BIF. Equating
equations discussed above we get
A plot of Eq. above is shown in Fig.4.2, with V2T / 2 Ψo as the abscissa. If, for example,
the bandwidth of the IF amplifier were 1 MHz and the average false-alarm time that could
be tolerated were 15 min, the probability of a false alarm is 1.11 x 10-9 . From Eq. above the
threshold voltage necessary to achieve this false-alarm time is 6.45 times the rms value of the
noise voltage.
The false-alarm probabilities of practical radars are quite small. The reason for this
is that the false-alarm probability is the probability that a noise pulse will cross the threshold
during an interval of time approximately equal to the reciprocal of the bandwidth. For a 1MHz bandwidth, there are of the order of 106 noise pulses per second. Hence the falsealarm probability of any one pulse must be small (< 10-6) if false-alarm times greater than 1 s are
to be obtained.
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Fig.4.2 Average time between false alarms as a function of the threshold level VT
and the receiver bandwidth B; Ψo is the mean square noise voltage.
Consider sine-wave signals of amplitude A to be present along with noise at the input to the IF
filter. The frequency of the signal is the same as the IF midband frequency fIF. The output or the
envelope detector has a probability-density function given by
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where Io (Z) is the modified Bessel function of zero order and argument Z. For Z large, an
asymptotic expansion for Io (Z) is
When the signal is absent, A = 0, the probability-density function for noise alone. Equation
above is sometimes called the Rice probability-density function. The probability that the signal
will be detected (which is the probability of detection) is the same as the probability that the
envelope R will exceed the predetermined threshold VT. The probability of detection Pd, is
This cannot be evaluated by simple means, and numerical techniques or a series approximation
must be used. A series approximation valid when RA/ Ψo >> 1, A >> ‫ ׀‬R - A‫׀‬, and terms in A-3
and beyond can be neglected is
Equation discussed above may be converted to power by replacing the signal to -rms-noisevoltage ratio with the following:
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5. Justify the requirement of integration of radar pulses to improve target
detection process.
Many pulses are usually returned from any particular target on each radar scan and can be used
to improve detection. The number of pulses nB returned from a point target as the radar antenna
scans through its beamwidth is
Typical parameters for a ground-based search radar might be pulse repetition frequency
300 Hz, 1.5˚ beamwidth, and antenna scan rate 5 rpm (30˚/s). These parameters result in
15 hits from a point target on each scan. The process of summing all the radar echo pulses for the
purpose of improving detection is called integration. Many techniques might be employed for
accomplishing integration. All practical integration techniques employ some sort of storage
device. Perhaps the most common radar integration method is the cathode-ray-tube display
combined with the integrating properties of the eye and brain of the radar operator.
Integration may be accomplished in the radar receiver either before the
second detector (in the IF) or after the second detector (in the video). A definite distinction
must be made between these two cases. Integration before the detector is called pedetection, or
coherent, integration, while integration after the detector is called postdetection, or noncoherent,
integration. Predetection integration requires that the phase of the echo signal be preserved
if full benefit is to be obtained from the summing process. On the other hand, phase
information is destroyed by the second detector; hence postdetection integration is not
concerned with preserving RF phase. For this convenience, postdetection integration is not as
efficient as predetection integration.
If n pulses, all of the same signal-to-noise ratio, were integrated by an ideal predetection
integrator, the resultant, or integrated, signal-to-noise (power) ratio would be exactly n times that
of a single pulse. If the same n pulses were integrated by an ideal postdetection device, the
resultant signal-to-noise ratio would be less than n times that of a single pulse. This loss in
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integration efficiency is caused by the nonlinear action of the second detector, which converts
some of the signal energy to noise energy in the rectification process.
The comparison of predetection and postdetection integration may be
briefly summarized by stating that although postdetection integration is not as efficient as
predetection integration, it is easier to implement in most applications. Post detection
integration is therefore preferred, even though the integrated signal-to-noise ratio may not be as
great. An alert, trained operator viewing a properly designed cathode-ray tube display is a close
approximation to the theoretical postdetection integrator.
The efficiency of postdetection integration relative to ideal predetection integration has been
computed by Marcum when all pulses are of equal amplitude. The integration efficiency may be
defined as follows:
6. Write short notes on radar cross section of targets.
Radar Cross Section of Targets:
The radar cross section of a target is the (fictional) area intercepting that amount of
power which when scattered equally in all directions, produces an echo at the radar equal to
that from the target; or in other terms,
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This equation is equivalent to the radar range equation. For most common types of radar targets
such as aircraft, ships, and terrain, the radar cross section does not necessarily bear a simple
relationship to the physical area, except that the larger the target size, the larger the cross section
is likely to be.
Scattering and diffraction are variations of the same physical process. When an
object scatters an electromagnetic wave, the scattered field is defined as the difference between
the total field in the presence of the object and the field that would exist if the object were
absent (but with the sources unchanged). On the other hand, the diffracted field is the total field
in the presence of the object. With radar backscatter, the two fields are the same, and one may
talk about scattering and diffraction interchangeably.
In theory, the scattered field, and hence the radar cross section, can be
determined by solving Maxwell's equations with the proper boundary conditions applied.
Unfortunately, the determination of the radar cross section with Maxwell's equations can be
accomplished only for the most simple of shapes, and solutions valid over a large range of
frequencies are not easy to obtain. The radar cross section of a simple sphere is shown in Fig.6.1
as a function of its circumference measured in wavelengths (2Πa /λ, where a is the radius of the
sphere and λ is the wavelength). The region where the size of the sphere is small compared with
the wavelength (2Πa/λ << 1) is called the Rayleigh region, after Lord Rayleigh who, in
the early 1870’s first studied scattering by small particles. Lord Rayleigh was interested in the
scattering of light by microscopic particles, rather than in radar. His work preceded the original
electromagnetic echo experiments of Hertz by about fifteen years.
The Rayleigh scattering region is of interest to the radar engineer because the
cross sections of raindrops and other meteorological particles fall within this region at the usual
radar frequencies. Since the cross section of objects within the Rayleigh region varies as λ-4,
rain and clouds are essentially invisible to radars which operate at relatively long
wavelengths (low frequencies). The usual radar targets are much larger than raindrops or cloud
particles, and lowering the radar frequency to the point where rain or cloud echoes are negligibly
small will not seriously reduce the cross section of the larger desired targets. On the other hand,
if it were desired to actually observe, rather than eliminate, raindrop echoes, as in a
meteorological or weather-observing radar, the higher radar frequencies would be preferred.
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Fig.6.1 Radar cross section of the sphere. a = radius; λ = wavelength
At the other extreme from the Rayleigh region is the optical region, where the dimensions of the
sphere are large compared with the wavelength (2Πa/λ >> 1). For large 2Πa/λ, the radar cross
section approaches the optical cross section Πa2. In between the optical and the Rayleigh region
is the Mie, or resonance, region. The cross section is oscillatory with frequency within this
region. The maximum value is 5.6 dB greater than the optical value, while the value of the first
null is 5.5 dB below the optical value. (The theoretical values of the maxima and minima may
vary according to the method of calculation employed.) The behavior of the radar cross sections
of other simple reflecting objects as a function of frequency is similar to that of the sphere.
7. Discuss in detail about the Cross-section fluctuation.
Cross-section fluctuations:
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In the minimum signal-to-noise ratio it is assumed that the echo signal received from a particular
target did not vary with time. In practice, however, the echo signal from a target in motion is
almost never constant. Variations in the echo signal may be caused by meteorological conditions,
the lobe structure of the antenna pattern, equipment instabilities, or variations in the target cross
section. The cross sections of complex targets (the usual type of radar target) are quite sensitive
to aspect. Therefore, as the target aspect changes relative to the radar, variations in the echo
signal will result.
One method of accounting for a fluctuating cross section in the radar equation is
to select a lower bound, that is, a value of cross section that is exceeded some specified (large)
fraction of time. The fraction of time that the actual cross section exceeds the selected value
would be close to unity (0.95 or 0.99 being typical). For all practical purposes the value
selected is a minimum and the target will always present a cross section greater than that
selected. This procedure results in a conservative prediction of radar range and has the advantage
of simplicity. The minimum cross section of typical aircraft or missile targets generally occurs at
or near the head-on aspect.
However, to properly account for target cross-section fluctuations,
the probability- density function and the correlation properties with time must be known
for the particular target and type of trajectory. Curves of cross section as a function of aspect
and knowledge of the trajectory with respect to the radar are needed to obtain a true description
of the dynamical variations of cross section. The probability-density function gives the
probability of finding any particular value of target cross section between the values of σ
and σ + dσ, while the autocorrelation function describes the degree of correlation of the
cross section with time or number of pulses. The spectral density of the cross section (from
which the autocorrelation function can be derived) is also sometimes of importance,
especially in tracking radars. It is usually not practical to obtain the experimental data
necessary to compute the probability-density function and the autocorrelation function from
which the overall radar performance is determined. Most radar situations are of too complex a
nature to warrant obtaining complete data. A more economical method to assess the effects
of a fluctuating cross section is to postulate a reasonable model for the fluctuations and to
analyze it mathematically. Swerling has calculated the detection probabilities for four different
fluctuation models of cross section. In two of the four cases, it is assumed that the fluctuations
are completely correlated during a particular scan but are completely uncorrelated from scan to
scan. In the other two cases, the fluctuations are assumed to be more rapid and uncorrelated pulse
to pulse. The four fluctuation models are as follows:
Case 1: The echo pulses received from a target on any one scan are of constant amplitude
throughout the entire scan but are independent (uncorrelated) from scan to scan. This assumption
ignores the effect of the antenna beam shape on the echo amplitude. An echo fluctuation of this
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type will be referred to as scan-to-scan fluctuation. The probability-density function for the cross
section σ is given by the density function
where, σav is the average cross-section over all target fluctuations.
Case 2: The probability-density function for the target cross section is also given by Eq. above
but the fluctuations is more rapid than in case 1 and are taken to be independent from pulse to
pulse instead of scan to scan.
Case 3: In this case the fluctuation is assumed to be independent from scan to scan as in case 1
but the probability-density function is given by
Case 4: The fluctuation is pulse to pulse according to Eq. above.
The probability-density function assumed in cases 1 and 2 applies to a complex target consisting
of many independent scatterers of approximately equal echoing areas. Although, in theory, the
number of independent scatterers must be essentially infinite, in practice the number may
be as few as four or five. The probability-density function assumed in cases 3 arid 4 is more
indicative of targets that can be represented as one large reflector together with other small
reflectors. In all the above cases, the value of cross section to be substituted in the radar equation
is the average cross section σav. The signal-to-noise ratio needed to achieve a specified
probability of detection without exceeding a specified false-alarm probability can be calculated
for each model of target behavior. For purposes of comparison, the non fluctuating cross section
will be called case 5.
8. Define and explain Transmitted power in radar equation and expressed the
Radar equation in terms of the energy contained in the transmitted waveform.
Transmitter Power:
The power Pt in the radar equation is called by the radar engineer the peak power. The peak pulse
power as used in the radar equation is not the instantaneous peak power of a sine wave. It is
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defined as the power averaged over that carrier-frequency cycle which occurs at the maximum of
the pulse of power. (Peak power is usually equal to one-half the maximum instantaneous power.)
The average radar power Pav, is also of interest in radar and is defined as the average transmitter
power over the pulse-repetition period. If the transmitted waveform is a train of rectangular
pulses of width τ and pulse-repetition period Tp = l/fp, the average power is related to the
peak power by
The ratio Pav/Pt, τ/Tp, or τfp is called the duty cycle of the radar. A Pulse radar for detection of
aircraft might have typically a duty cycle of 0.001, while a CW radar which transmits
continuously has a duty cycle of unity. Writing the radar equation in terms of the average power
rather than the peak power, we get
The bandwidth and the pulse width are grouped together since the product of the two is
usually of the order of unity in most pulse-radar applications. If the transmitted waveform is
not a rectangular pulse, it is sometimes more convenient to express the radar equation in terms of
the energy Eτ = Pav/fp contained in the transmitted waveform:
In this form, the range does riot depend explicitly on either the wavelength or the pulse
repetition frequency. The important parameters affecting range are the total transmitted energy
nEτ, the transmitting gain G, the effective receiving aperture Ae, and the receiver noise figure Fn,
9. Write explanatory notes on pulse repetition frequency and range
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The pulse repetition frequency (prf) is determined primarily by the maximum range at which
targets are expected. If the prf is made too high the likelihood of obtaining target echoes from the
wrong pulse transmission is increased. Echo signals received after an interval exceeding the
pulse-repetition period are called multiple-time-around echoes. They can result in erroneous or
confusing range measurements. Consider the three targets labeled A. B, and C in Fig. 9 a. Target
A is located within the maximum unambiguous range Runamb of the radar, target B is at a distance
greater than Runamb but less than 2Runamb while target C is greater than 2Runarnh but less than
3Runamb. The appearance of the three targets on an A-scope is sketched in Fig. 9 b. The multipletime-around echoes on the A-scope cannot be distinguished from proper target echoes actually
within the maximum unambiguous range. Only the range measured for target A is correct; those
for Band C are not.
One method of distinguishing multiple-time-around echoes from
unambiguous echoes is to operate with a varying pulse repetition frequency. The echo signal
from an unambiguous range target will appear at the same place on the A-scope on each sweep
no matter whether the prf is modulated or not. However, echoes from multiple-time-around
targets will be spread over a finite range as shown in Fig.9 c. The prf may be changed
continuously within prescribed limits or it may be changed discretely among several
predetermined values. The number of separate pulse repetition frequencies will depend upon the
degree of the multiple-time targets. Second-time targets need only two separate repetition
frequencies in order to be resolved.
Fig.9 Multiple-time-around echoes that give rise to ambiguities in range (a) Three targets
A, B and C, where A is within Runamb, and B and C are multiple-time-around targets;
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(b) the appearance of the three targets on the A-scope; (c) appearance of the three
targets on the A-scope with a changing prf.
Instead of modulating the prf, other schemes that might he employed to" mark" successive pulses
so as to identify multiple-time-around echoes include changing the pulse: amplitude, pulse width,
frequency, phase, or polarization of transmission from pulse to pulse. Generally, such schemes
are not so successful in practice as one would like. One of the fundamental limitations is the fold
over of nearby targets; that is, nearby strong ground targets (clutter) can be quite large and can
mask weak multiple-time-around targets appearing at the same place on the display. Also, more
time is required to process the data when resolving ambiguities.
Ambiguities may theoretically be resolved by observing the
variation of the echo signal with time (range). This is not always a practical technique; however,
since the echo-signal amplitude can fluctuate strongly for reasons other than a change in range.
Instead, the range ambiguities in a multiple prf radar can be conveniently decoded and the true
range found by the use of the Chinese remainder theorem or other computational algorithms.
10. Write an explanatory notes on system losses.
System Losses:
One of the important factors omitted from the simple radar equation was the losses that
occur throughout the radar system. The losses reduce the signal-to-noise ratio at the receiver
output. They may be of two kinds, depending upon whether or not they can be predicted with
any degree of precision beforehand.
The antenna beam-shape loss, collapsing loss, and losses
in the microwave plumbing are examples of losses which can be calculated if the system
configuration is known. These losses are very real and cannot be ignored in any serious
prediction of radar performance. Losses not readily subject to calculation and which are less
predictable include those due to field degradation and to operator fatigue or lack of operator
motivation. Estimates of the latter type of loss must be made on the basis of prior experience and
experimental observations. They may be subject to considerable variation and uncertainty.
Although the loss associated with any one factor may be small, there are many possible loss
mechanisms in a complete radar system, and their sum total can be significant.
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In this section loss (number greater than unity) and efficiency (number less than unity) are used
interchangeably. One is simply the reciprocal of the other.
Plumbing loss: There is always some finite loss experienced in the transmission lines which
connect the output of the transmitter to the antenna. The losses in decibels per 100 ft for radar
transmission lines are shown in Fig.10. At the lower radar frequencies the transmission line
introduces little loss, unless its length is exceptionally long. At the higher radar frequencies,
attenuation may not always be small and may have to be taken into account. In addition to the
losses in the transmission line itself, an additional loss can occur at each connection or bend in
the line and at the antenna rotary joint if used. Connector losses are usually small, but if the
connection is poorly made, it can contribute significant attenuation. Since the same transmission
line is generally used for both receiving and transmission, the loss to be inserted in the radar
equation is twice the one-way loss.
The signal suffers attenuation as it passes through the duplexer.
Generally, the greater the isolation required from the duplexer on transmission, the larger will be
the insertion loss. By insertion loss is meant the loss introduced when the component, in this case
the duplexer, is inserted into the transmission line. The precise value of the insertion loss
depends to a large extent on the particular design. For a typical duplexer it might be of the order
of 1 dB. A gas-tube duplexer also introduces loss when in the fired condition (arc loss);
approximately 1 dB is typical.
In S-band (3000 MHz) radar, for example, the plumbing losses might be as follows:
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Fig.10 Theoretical (one-way) attenuation of RF transmission lines Waveguide sizes are
inches and are the inside dimensions.
Beam-shape loss: The antenna gain that appears in the radar equation was assumed to be a
constant equal to the maximum value. But in reality the train of pulses returned from a target
with a scanning radar is modulated in amplitude by the shape of the antenna beam. To properly
take into account the pulse-train modulation caused by the beam shape, the computations of
the probability of detection would have to be performed assuming a modulated train of pulses
rather than constant-amplitude pulses. Some authors do indeed take account of the beam shape
in this manner when computing the probability of detection. Therefore, when using published
computations of probability of detection it should be noted whether the effect of the beam shape
has been included. This approach is not used. Instead a beam-shape loss is added to the radar
equation to account for the fact that the maximum gain is employed in the radar equation rather
than a gain that changes pulse to pulse. This is a simpler, albeit less accurate, method. It is based
on calculating the reduction in signal power and thus does not depend on the probability of
detection. It applies for detection probabilities in the vicinity of 0.50, but it is used as an
approximation with other values as a matter of convenience.
Questions & Answers
Let the one-way-power antenna pattern be approximated by
the gaussian expression exp (-2.78θ2/θB2), where θ is the angle measured from the center of
the beam and θB is the beamwidth measured between half-power points. If nB is the number
of pulses received within the half-power beamwidth θB, and n is the total number of pulses
integrated (n does not necessarily equal nB ), then the beam-shape loss (number greater than
unity) relative to a radar that integrates all n pulses with an antenna gain corresponding to the
maximum gain at the beam center is
Limiting loss: Limiting in the radar receiver can lower the probability of detection. Although a
well-designed and engineered receiver will not limit the received signal under normal
circumstances, intensity modulated CRT displays such as the PPI or the B-scope have limited
dynamic range and may limit. Some receivers, however, might employ limiting for some special
purpose, as for pulse compression processing for example.
Limiting results in a loss of only a fraction of a decibel for a large
number of pulses integrated provided the limiting ratio (ratio of video limit level to rms noise
level) is as large as 2 or 3. Other analyses of band pass limiters show that for small signal-tonoise ratio, the reduction in the signal-to-noise ratio of a sine-wave imbedded in narrowband
gaussian noise is Π/4 (about 1 dB). However, by appropriately shaping the spectrum of the input
noise, it has been suggested that the degradation can be made negligibly small.
Collapsing loss: If the radar were to integrate additional noise samples along with the wanted
signal-to-noise pulses, the added noise results in degradation called the collapsing loss. It can
occur in displays which collapse the range information, such as the C-scope which displays
elevation vs. azimuth angle. The echo signal from a particular range interval must compete in a
collapsed-range C-scope display, not only with the noise energy contained within that range
interval but with the noise energy from all other range intervals at the same elevation and
azimuth. In some 3D radars (range, azimuth, and elevation) that display the outputs at all
elevations on a single PPI (range, azimuth) display, the collapsing of the 3D radar information
onto a 2D display results in a loss. A collapsing loss can occur when the output of a highresolution radar is displayed on a device whose resolution is coarser than that inherent in the
radar. A collapsing loss also results if the outputs of two (or more) radar receivers are combined
and only one contains signal while the other contains noise.
Questions & Answers
The mathematical derivation of the collapsing loss, assuming a squarelaw detector may be carried out as suggested by Marcum who has shown that the integration of
m noise pulses, along with n signal-plus-noise pulses with signal-to-noise ratio per pulse (S/N)n,
is equivalent to the integration of m + n signal-to-noise pulses each with signal-to-noise ratio
n(S/N)n /(m + n). The collapsing loss in this case is equal to the ratio of the integration loss Li for
m + n pulses to the integration loss for n pulses, or
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