Guest Column | August 28, 2013

Testing Modern Radar System Signals: A Primer

By Walt Strickler

This is the first in a series of guest columns by Walt Strickler of Anritsu Company

The demands placed on modern radars create challenges for both the radar designer and test engineer. Advanced radar systems require greater precision to measure narrower pulse widths and/or to examine intra-pulse behavior with finer resolution, including rise/fall edge effects or the profile within a pulse compression signal. In order to best understand the complexity of testing today’s radar designs, it is good to first review some basic applications of radar systems and the fundamentals of pulse measurements.

Radar systems have evolved significantly since they were widely used for the first time during World War II. Solid state technology has replaced tubes; “information theory” is being applied to radar; and frequencies, bandwidths, and resolution are increasing. What also have changed are the applications where radar is prominent.