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Simplified Radar Block Diagram










Key Components of a Radar System

Electronic device used to generate the
microwave EM energy transmitted by the
Electronic device used to detect the
microwave pulse that is reflected by the area
being imaged by the radar
Electronic component through which
microwave pulses are transmitted and

CW radars
Target speed
Doppler shift

Frequency-modulation (FM)

The transmitted wave is varied and range is

determined by observing the lag in time between
this modulation and the corresponding
modulation of the received echoes.

Doppler Shift
Small, low-power versions of CW Doppler radars are used as:
Speed sensors (police radar)
Vehicle detectors for traffic control
Proximity fuzes in rockets, bombs, and projectiles.
In these applications:
The range to the target is usually small
The loss in sensitivity because of the use of a single antenna is acceptable .
M/A-COM Gunnplexer Doppler transceiver,
which packs a transmitter, ferrite circulator,
and mixer into a single module.

An X-band Doppler transceiver

Mechanical tuning coarsely sets frequency,
whereas fine tuning and AFC can be
provided by modulating the operating
voltage. (U.S. Army photo.)

A Gunn oscillator is the basic transmitter, which is coupled to a single

antenna through the circulator. Transmitter power reflected back from
the antenna port acts as the local oscillator into the single balanced
mixer (an adjustable screw allows intentional standing-wave ratio
(SWR) mismatch to force an adequate level of return signal).
The addition of an antenna, frequency meter, and a direct-current (DC)
power source completes the radar.

Block diagram for a

simple singleantenna CW Doppler
radar based on a
Doppler transceiver.
CW Radar: w.r.t Pulsed radar
-Less complex - Low cost - Lower operating voltage, and in some cases (high power)
uses two antennas (Wastes in area)

Pulsed radar
The pulsed radar transmitter:
Generates powerful pulses of EM energy at precise intervals
High-power microwave oscillator (magnetron)
Microwave amplifier (klystron), supplied by a low-power RF source
Properly-timed, high-amplitude, rectangular pulse
High-power oscillator
Switches the oscillator on and off
Microwave power amplifier
Activates the amplifier just before the arrival of an electromagnetic
pulse from a preceding stage or a frequency-generation source.

In Amplifiers, the modulator pulse is supplied to the cathode of the

power tube and the plate is at ground potential to shield personnel from
shock hazards because of the extremely high voltage involved.

The modulator pulse may be more than 100 KV in high-power radar


Radar transmitters produce:

Voltages, currents, and radiation hazards that are extremely dangerous
to personnel. Safety precautions must always be strictly observed when
working in or around a radar transmitter

Common Features of Radar Transmitter

It is usually large fraction of radar system
High cost
Large size
Requires significant efforts
It requires a major share of system prime power
and maintenance, because Radars are required to
generate so much power output
Most people prefer to keep away from it

Range & Power Relation

R4 P A T

Detection Range

Transmitter Power

Aperture area

Scanning time (the time allowed to scan the required

solid angle of coverage which limits how long the signal in
each direction can be collected and integrated to improve S/N)

P & A Trade off

Huge & Costly Antenna

No sense

Tiny inexpensive Transmitter

Doubling the Tiny part

Cutting the huge part in half

Reduce the total system cost

Reasonable balance (according to the
application) minimizing the total cost

Target carrying selfscreening Jammer


Pr Ar
Pj Aj

Pr & Ar are still the driving factors

Balanced System Design Results
in Significant Transmitter Power
Max Radar Performance pushed the antenna aperture A
and the transmitter power P to max affordable values

Common Microwave Components of Radar


Wave Guide Components

High power Microwave Generations
Oscillators (Magnetron)

Wave Guide Concepts and features

Pipe through which waves propagate

Can have various cross sections
Can be rigid or flexible
Waveguides have very low loss
High Power

Waveguide can handle power levels far in excess of coaxial line ratings.
Because there is no center conductor, waveguide is much less susceptible
to shock and vibration during shipping and installation. No center conductor
means no insulators and consequently lower loss.

Metallic waveguides can transport a significant power. Its value depends

on the medium filling the guide, surface quality, humidity, pressure,
possible temperature elevation, and frequency. If the guide is filled with
dry air, the electric field may not go beyond 3 MV/m, which corresponds
to a power range of 10 MWat 4GHz and 100 kW at 40 GHz.
Discontinuities and irregularities in the waveguide may impose a security
factor of 4 or more. Furthermore, losses in copper walls are of the order of
0.03 dB/m at 4GHz and 0.75 dB/m at 40GHz (5).

TE10 Mode
Mode with lowest cutoff frequency is dominant mode
Single mode propagation is
highly desirable to reduce
This occurs between cutoff
frequency for TE10 mode and
twice that frequency

Circular Waveguide

Waveguide components commonly used in Radars

Wave guide Tee

Hybrid Tee
The hybrid coupler is used some applications, namely,
Isolated power splitters since the isolation between its input
ports may be independent of the value of the two balanced
impedance loads.
Port 4

Port 1

Port 2

Port 3

Mechanical Switches
Direct s microwave power from one transmission line to another or turns
microwave power on and off. Switches can be mechanically or
electronically. Here we discuss some types of mechanical switchs.
.Electronically switches will be introduced in active devices section

Waveguide Terminations
Tapered absorber, usually consisting of a carbonimpregnated dielectric material that absorbs the
microwave power

8.2 12.4 GHz

handles 75 watts

GHz7 - 10

Important specifications:
SWR (or S11)
Power-handling capability

Wave guide coupler

Coaxial and microstrip coupler

High power

Wide band

High directivity

Poor directivity

limited in BW

Limited power

D is not critical for sampling microwave

D is extremely important for a return loss
measurement, to measure the small
power reflected from the mismatch.

Coaxial coupler

Circulator route microwave signals from one port of the device to another:
Power entering port 1 is directed out of the circulator at port 2.
A signal entering port 2 is routed to leave the circulator at port 3 and does
not get back into port 1.
A signal entering port 3 does not get into port 2, but goes out through port 1.

The S matrix
of an ideal
circulator is

0 0 1

[S] =

1 0 0
0 1 0

The important specifications of a circulator:

Insertion loss: The loss of signal as it travels in the right direction
(typically 0.5 dB)
The loss in the signal as it travel in the wrong direction
(Typically 20dB)
Circulator enable the use of one antenna for both transmitter and receiver
of communication system.





High Isolation Path

Low Loss Path

Two possible methods of achieving high output

power in microwave system

Low power
High power tube
precise oscillator

High power





Traveling wave tube (TWT)


Wide bandwidth


Klystron amplifier

High gain & high

Radar; medical

Magnetron oscillator


Domestic cooking;
industrial heating
of materials

Gyrotron oscillator

High average power

In band (30300

Radar; Plasma
heating in
fusion research

High Power RF Generation

Pulsed Oscillator System

Precise low power source


(Usually) Magnetron
Many stages (each with its own
power supplies and control)

All stages must be stable

Important features could not be

provided using Magnetron
and cost

Coded pulsed
Frequency agility
Combining and arraying

Oscillators Versus Amplifiers

Issues of Selection
(1) Accuracy and Stability of Carrier Frequency
Magnetron frequency is affected by:
Tub warmup drift

Temperature drift


In Amplifiers
Frequency depends on the low power crystal oscillator.
Frequency can be changed instantaneously by electronic switching
(faster than mechanical tuner)
(2) Coherence
- Amplifier based transmitter:
Coherent RF and IF LO are generated with precision
- Oscillator-based transmitter:
Manual tuning or an automatic frequency control (AFC) to tune the
LO to the correct frequency.
(3) Instabilities Terms include frequency phase shift coho locking
pulse timing pulse width pulse amplitude jitter

Amplifier Chains: Special Considerations.

1. Timing.

Because modulator rise times differ, triggers to each amplifier

stage must usually be separately adjusted to provide proper
synchronization without excessive wasted beam energy.

2. Isolation.

Each intermediate stage of a chain must see proper load


3. Matching

Improved amplifier ratings are sometimes available if the tube

is guaranteed to see a good match.

CFAs and traveling wave tubes (TWTs) generally require that

wide band matching (than BW of operation) for stability

4. Signal-to-Noise Ratio.

Output S/N cannot be better than that of the worst stage

5- Leveling. (to maintain constant power with frequency)

6- Stability Budgets.
Each stage must have better stability than the overall requirement
on the transmitter, since the contributions of all stages may add.
Such stability budgets are usually required for pulse-to-pulse
variations, for intra-pulse variations, and sometimes for phase
7. RF Leakage.
Keeping the chain from oscillating requires leakage, from the
output to the input, to be below certain level.
8- Reliability
The complexity of transmitter amplifier chains often makes it
difficult to achieve the desired reliability. Solutions usually involve
the use of redundant stages or a whole redundant chain, and
many combinations of switching are feasible.
9- RF Amplifiers.
availability of suitable RF amplifier devices

linear-beam tubes (Klystrons & TWTs )

direction of the dc Electric field that accelerates the beam coincides
with the axis of the Magnetic field that focuses and confines the

Crossed field tubes (magnetrons and CFAs)

The electric and magnetic fields are at right angles to each other.

Invented during World War II
The 5J26, magnetron based , has been used in search radars for over 40
operates at L- band
mechanically tunable from 1250 to 1350 MHz.
500-kW peak power ( =1s) and 1000 pps, or (t =2s) and 500 pps
(0.001 duty cycle) and provides 500 W of average RF power.
= 40%
The 1- to 2-s pulse duration provides 150- to 300-m range resolution
Magnetron Features
High peak power
Quite small and Simple
low cost
Pulsed magnetrons vary from a 1-in3, 1-kW peak-power to several megawatts
peak and several kW average power
CW magnetrons have been made up to 25 kW for industrial heating.
Stable enough for MTI operation
Automatic frequency control (AFC) is typically used to keep the receiver tuned
to the transmitter

Magnetron Features Cont.

High-power magnetrons can be mechanically tuned over a 5 to 10
percent frequency range routinely, and in some cases as much as 25
Rotary Tuning
The rotary-tuned ("spin-tuned") magnetron was developed
around I960. A slotted disk is suspended above the anode cavities as
when rotated, alternately provides inductive and capacitive loading
of the cavities to raise and lower the frequency. (Less average
output power)

The process begins with a low voltage being applied to

the filament, which causes it to heat up.
Remember, in a magnetron tube, the filament is also the
cathode. The temperature rise causes increased
molecular activity within the cathode, to the extent that it
begins to "boil off" or emit electrons. Electrons leaving
the surface of a heated filament wire might be
compared to molecules that leave the surface of boiling
water in the form of steam. Unlike steam, though, the
electrons do not evaporate. They float, or hover, just off
the surface of the cathode, waiting for some
Electrons, being negative charges, are strongly repelled
by other negative charges. So this floating cloud of
electrons would be repelled away from a negatively
charged cathode.

RF outp

The lectrons encounter the powerful magnetic field of

two permanent magnets . These are positioned so that
their magnetic fields are applied parallel to the cathode.
The effect of the magnetic fields tends to deflect the
Electrons form rotating pattern
speeding electrons away from the anode.

Magnetron Limitations
Magnetrons are not suitable if:
1. Precise frequency control is needed
2. Precise frequency jumping (within a pulse or within a pulse group) is
3. The best possible stability is required. not stable enough to be
suitable for very long pulses (e.g., 100 S), and starting jitter limits
their use at very short pulses (e.g., 0.1 S), especially at high power
and lower frequency bands.
4. Coherence is required from pulse to pulse for second-time-around
clutter cancellation, etc.

5. Coded or shaped pulses are required. A range of only a few

decibels of pulse shaping is feasible with a magnetron, and even
then frequency pushing may prevent obtaining the desired
6. Lowest possible spurious power levels are required.
Magnetrons cannot provide a very pure spectrum but instead
produce considerable electromagnetic interference (EMI) across
a bandwidth much wider than their signal bandwidth (coaxial
magnetrons are somewhat better in this respect).

Common Problems in Magnetron

1. Sparking
Especially when a magnetron is first started, it is normal for anode-tocathode arcing to occur on a small percentage of the pulses.
2. Moding: If other possible operating-mode conditions exist too close to
the normal-mode current level, stable operation is difficult to achieve.
Starting in the proper mode requires the proper rate of rise of
magnetron cathode voltage, within limits that depend on the tube
starting time and the closeness of other modes.
3. Noise rings: Excessive inverse voltage following the pulse, or even a
small forward "postpulse" of voltage applied to the magnetron, may
make it produce sufficient noise to interfere with short-range
target echoes. The term noise ring is used because this noise occurs
at a constant delay after the transmitted pulse and produces a circle
on a plan position indicator (PPI). This can also occur if the pulse
voltage on the magnetron does not fall fast enough after the pulse.

4. Spurious RF output: In addition to their desired output power,

magnetrons generate significant amounts of spurious noise.
5. RF leakage out of the cathode stem: Typically, an S-band tube may
radiate significant VHF and UHF energy as well as fundamental and
harmonics out of its cathode stem. This effect varies greatly among different
magnetrons, and when it occurs, it also varies greatly with lead
arrangements, filament voltage, magnetic field, etc. Although it is preferable
to eliminate cathode stem leakage within the tube, it has sometimes been
successfully trapped, absorbed, or tolerated outside the tube.
6. Drift: Magnetron frequency varies with ambient temperature according to
the temperature coefficient of its cavities, and it may also vary significantly
during warmup.

7. Pushing: The amount by which a magnetron's frequency varies

with changes in anode current is called its pushing figure and the
resulting pulse-to-pulse and intra-pulse frequency changes must be
kept within system requirements by proper modulator design.
8. Pulling: The amount by which a magnetron's frequency varies as
the phase of a mismatched load is varied is called its pulling figure.
9. Life: Although some magnetrons have short wear-out life, many
others have short life because of miss-handling by inexperienced
personnel. Dramatic increases in average life have been obtained by
improved handling procedures and proper operator training.


Capability of RF Amplifiers

Klystron Amplifiers
High gain
High-power capability
~ 20 % tuning bandwidth

Two Cavity
Two Cavity

Multi-Cavity Klystron





Intermediate cavity

In a klystron:
The electron gun produces a flow of electrons.
The bunching cavities regulate the speed of the electrons
so that they arrive in bunches at the output cavity.
The bunches of electrons excite microwaves in the output
cavity of the klystron.
The microwaves flow into the waveguide, which
transports them to the accelerator.
The electrons are absorbed in the beam stop.

High bandwidth ~ one octave (low-power (few KW) helix type)

TWT vs. Klystron


Beam formation, focusing and collection are the same

Input and output rf coupling are similar
TWT uses a traveling wave version of the discreet cavity

interaction of the klystron

Large overlays in beam voltage, current and rf power output


Klystron 1%
Waveguide TWT 10%
Transmission Line (Helix) TWT 1 - 3 octaves

Form factor more amenable to low-cost, light-weight PPM


Helix and contra-wound helix derived circuits

Coupled-cavity circuit

Crossed-Field Amplifiers (CFAs.

High efficiency
small size
Relatively low-voltage operation
Cover from UHF to K band

Attractive for:
lightweight systems
airborne use

Low gain (~10 dB)

CFAs are generally used only in the one or two highestpower stages of an amplifier chain, where they may
offer an advantage in efficiency, operating voltage, size,
and/or weight compared with linear-beam tubes.
The output-stage CFA is usually preceded by a mediumpower TWT that provides most of the chain gain.
CFAs have also been used to boost the power output of
previously existing radar systems.

If Prequired < Pavailable of a single tube

Combine the RF Power

of More tubes


This Makes Solid State

Transmitter Practical

Combining and Arraying

It is often necessary to use more than one RF tube or solid-state device to
produce the required radar transmitter RF power output. Since the mid1950s, two or more microwave tubes have often been used to achieve more
total power output than can be obtained from a single tube. Since about
1960, there has been interest in using more than one RF device, especially
if it can then be solid-state, to provide increased system reliability from the
greatly lowered probability of multiple failures.
Combiners Include:
Magic T
Multi-branch Wilkenson
P1 the output power of the first tube
P2 the output power of the second tube
the angle between the two combined outputs

Ways of Combining Power

Common way of operating two
identical devices in parallel.
(Magic-T as a splitter and Combiner)
The two outputs are recombined only
in space but the devices are still
effectively operating in parallel.
(Magic-T as a splitter)
Two whole chains operating in parallel; but the
greater the number of items that are included in
each of the two paths, the more chance exists
for phase differences to occur between the two
paths as a function of frequency, temperature, or
component tolerances.
Therefore, combining chains is more difficult than combining single stages and is usually avoided.

Solid State Amplifiers (SSAs)

Compared with tubes, solid-state devices offer many advantages:

1. No hot cathodes are required; therefore, there is no warmup delay, no

wasted heater power, and virtually no limit on operating life.
2. Device operation occurs at much lower voltages; therefore, power supply
voltages are on the order of volts rather than kilovolts. This avoids the need
for large spacings, oil filling, or encapsulation, thus saving size and weight
and leading to higher reliability of the power supplies as well as of the
microwave power amplifiers themselves.
3. Transmitters designed with solid-state devices exhibit improved mean
between failures (MTBF) in comparison with tube-type transmitters. Module
MTBFs greater than 100,000 h have been measured.

4. No pulse modulator is required. Solid-state microwave devices

for radar generally operate Class-C, which is self-pulsing as the
RF drive is turned on and off.
5. Graceful degradation of system performance occurs when
modules fail. This results because a large number of solid-state
devices must be combined to provide the power for a radar
transmitter, and they are easily combined in ways that degrade
gracefully when individual units fail.
6. Extremely wide bandwidth can be realized. While high-power
microwave radar tubes can achieve 10 to 20 percent bandwidth,
solid-state transmitter modules can achieve up to 50 percent
bandwidth or more with good efficiency.
7. Flexibility can be realized for phased array applications. For
phased array systems, an active transceiver module can be
associated with every antenna element. RF distribution losses that
normally occur in a tube-powered system between a point-source
tube amplifier and the face of the array are thus eliminated.

Single SSA module

Broad bandwidth, low power, moderate gain, low noise, low efficiency
Small size, low cost manufacturing process
Ideal for use as drivers for high power sources
Two basic transistor types BJTs and FETs
Both are used at 3 GHz for power amplifiers but FETs dominate at higher
Both are limited in frequency by transit time effects that are similar to those
encountered by vacuum triodes
New materials GaAs and GaN produce higher mobility carriers and higher
breakdown voltage to extend the performance envelop of solid state

Block diagram of CFA amplifier chain at 11 GHz for multi-megawatt

Solid state
Driver 10 W
TWT or klystron
Intermediate amp
30 dB 10 kW
+10 dB
100 kW
+10 dB
1 MW
+10 dB
10 MW

Pulse Modulator
Most radar oscillators operate at pulse voltages between 5 and 20
kilovolts. They require currents of several amperes during the actual
pulse which places severe requirements on the modulator. The function of
the high-vacuum tube modulator is to act as a switch to turn a pulse ON
and OFF at the transmitter in response to a control signal. The best
device for this purpose is one which requires the least signal power for
control and allows the transfer of power from the transmitter power source
to the oscillator with the least loss. The pulse modulator circuits discussed
in this section are typical pulse modulators used in radar equipment.

In some tubes, the air is removed and replaced
with an inert gas at a reduced pressure. The
gases used include mercury vapor, neon,
argon, and nitrogen.
They are capable of carrying much more
current than high-vacuum tubes, and they
tend to maintain a constant IR drop across
their terminals within a limited range of
The electron stream from the hot cathode
encounters gas molecules on its way to the
plate (Ionization)
If the plate voltage is very low, the gas-filled
diode acts almost like an ordinary diode
except that the electron stream is slowed to a
certain extent by the gas molecules.
Increase plate voltage (Ionization POINT ) FIRING POTENTIAL
The value of the plate voltage at which ionization stops is called the

Thyratron gas-tube modulator

It consists of a power source (Ebb), a circuit
for storing energy (L2, C2, C3, C4, and C5), a
circuit for discharging the storage circuit (V2),
and a pulse transformer (T1). In addition this
circuit has a damping diode (V1) to prevent
reverse-polarity signals from being applied to
the plate of V2 which could cause V2 to
breakdown. With no trigger pulse applied, the
pfn charges through T1, the pfn, and the
charging coil L1 to the potential of Ebb. When
a trigger pulse is applied to the grid of V2, the
tube ionizes causing the pulse-forming
network to discharge through V2 and the
primary of T1. As the voltage across the pfn
falls below the ionization point of V2, the tube
shuts off. Because of the inductive properties
of the pfn, the positive discharge voltage has a
tendency to swing negative.
This negative overshoot is prevented from damaging the thyratron and affecting the output of the
circuit by V1, R1, R2, and C1. This is a damping circuit and provides a path for the overshoot
transient through V1. It is dissipated by R1 and R2 with C1 acting as a high-frequency bypass to
ground, preserving the sharp leading and trailing edges of the pulse. The hydrogen thyratron
modulator is the most common radar modulator