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e i s c a t _3d-Haarp

e i s c a t _3d-Haarp

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Published by Vincent J. Cataldi

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Categories:Types, Research, Science
Published by: Vincent J. Cataldi on May 06, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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08/07/2013

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Ever since the start of EISCAT operations in 1981, the development and
implementation of radar codes for different measurement applications has been an
integral part of the EISCAT scene, actively pursued by users and staff. The best-
known example of this work is probably the alternating-codes technique developed by
Lehtinen and Häggström [Leh87], which almost immediately became a de facto world
standard.

Alternating codes, as well as most other coding schemes previously and currently
used for incoherent-scatter measurements, are typically based on binary phase-shift
(0o

/180o

) sequences. Recent theoretical studies by Lehtinen´s group have however
demonstrated that there exist many codes employing combinations of arbitrary phase
and amplitude modulation that are completely free from range ambiguities. These
codes show great promise and may actually be superior to constant-amplitude codes
under many conditions. Unfortunately, it has not yet been possible to test them in
practice, because the EISCAT transmitter systems cannot accommodate amplitude-
modulated signals.

For decades, standard practice in incoherent-scatter transmitter design has been to
improve the signal-to-noise ratio by maximising the transmitter RF output power
within the budgetary, technical and other constraints in force. Power amplifiers have
therefore been designed to run the active devices (klystrons, power grid tubes or
transistors) into saturation in order to improve the DC-to-RF conversion efficiency,
the transmitter exciters have traditionally only included provisions for binary phase-
shift modulation, and amplitude modulation has not normally been implemented for
the simple reason that it does not use all the available peak power all the time. All
EISCAT transmitters, including the ESR one, are designed in this way.

45

In order to remove these restrictions and provide users with total flexibility up to the
bandwidth limitation imposed by the frequency management authorities, the 3D

transmitter system would have to be designed as a giant arbitrary-waveform

generator, combining a programmable and totally flexible exciter subsystem with a

very large number of class-AB solid-state linear power amplifier modules with at

least 20 dB of dynamic range. While representing a substantial departure from current
trends in RF power amplifier technology, which focus heavily on switching (class-E)
designs, the envisaged system would handle any and all currently known codes and
would also be able to accommodate any future, currently unforeseen developments in
coding and modulation theory without any modifications, so making the EISCAT_3D
transmitter system essentially future-proof. Carrying this design philosophy to its
logical conclusion, i.e. providing each array element with its own self-contained
digital exciter/amplifier system, it would become possible to fully control the signals
emitted by each individual element antenna. This would be an extremely valuable
asset for several reasons, e.g.:

• The time-delays required to steer the transmitted beam in the desired direction
could be introduced at baseband and loaded into the individual exciters, so
effectively eliminating the need for dedicated beam-steering hardware,

• Individual timing corrections could be applied to each element as required, thus
optimising the focussing of the beam,

• It would be possible to apply any arbitrary degree of amplitude tapering across
the array aperture when transmitting. This could be used e.g. to suppress
sidelobes along the horizontal or to widen the transmitted beam,

• Phase offsets tailored to e.g. generate an L ≠ 0 beam could be introduced, thus
opening the door to radar experiments with signals carrying orbital angular
momentum.

The frequency band being considered for the active array is squeezed in between two
digital audio broadcasting channels, and the operating permit will therefore probably
be issued on a non-interference basis. For this reason, all possible measures to

suppress out-of-band emissions must be taken already in the design stage. Using the
arbitrary-waveform capability to apply tailored spectrum masks to all transmissions
would go a long way towards achieving this goal, but in addition both the system
reference clocks and the power amplifier chains must be designed for the lowest
possible phase noise. Provisions for running the transmitter system at substantially

reduced power (10% of full power) should also be designed in from the beginning,
both to reduce the operating costs when running in “ionospheric monitor mode” and
to reduce the field strength close to the radar site.

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