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RF & Wireless

Analysis of frequency agile radar systems

and ultrashort pulses
Advanced radar
systems are able to
change the signal
frequency and
modulation from one
pulse to the next. In
order to test these
frequency agile systems,
the test instruments
must have a large
analysis bandwidth.
Frequency agile radars
and jamming systems
Rapid frequency hopping makes
radar systems more resistant to
atmospheric disturbances, tar-
geted attacks (jamming) and
unwanted signals (interference).
To increase resolution, these
systems additionally alter the Fig. 1: The 2 GHz spectrogram of a frequency agile of the frequency hops in the time domain to its
modulation, pulse width and signal is shown in the top left window, with a plot right and a list of all significant parameters beneath
pulse sequence depending on
the target. Pulses in the nanose-
cond range are not uncommon. or sweep rapidly through a fre- characteristics are important not zation of frequency agile systems
Analysis of such systems typi- quency range. That can dis- only for precise determination over a broad frequency range. It
cally involves measuring the fre- rupt even frequency agile radar of signal modulation quality, is also advantageous for measu-
quency hops or the modulation systems. Wideband signal acqui- but also to avoid interpreting ring ultrashort pulses or wide-
quality of pulse compression. sition during development and internally generated spurious band modulation of the pulses.
That requires a large bandwidth verification of radar systems or signals as true reflections (“phan-
for acquiring the emitted signal. sophisticated jamming systems tom targets”). In addition, the The R&S®FSW-K6 option
enables a detailed analysis of the R&S®FSW signal and spectrum supports such measurements.
Jamming systems use targe- frequency hops and the effec- analyzer can be equipped with It performs detailed pulse ana-
ted interference signals to try tiveness of various algorithms. the R&S®FSW-K60?/?K60H lysis, especially for radar appli-
to impair the sensitivity of the option to enable automatic ana- cations. The option measures the
enemy radar or even make it Large internal analysis lysis of frequency hops. This amplitude, frequency and phase
totally blind. Wideband noise- option detects the initial and tar-of the pulses and displays them
like signals or frequency agile bandwidth get frequencies of a hop, deter- versus time. Pulse rise and fall
signals are used for this purpose. The R&S®FSW signal and mines the offset, and measures times, pulse repetition rates and
These systems may change fre- spectrum analyzer with the how long a frequency is occu- many other parameters are auto-
quency very often, simply send R&S®FSW-B2001 option pro- pied or how long the system matically detected and listed
back the received radar signal vides an internal analysis band- takes to change to the next fre- in a table (Fig.  2). The option
width of 2  GHz. That allows quency. The analyzer produces can display trends of parame-
the instrument to resolve rise a table listing all frequency hops ters, such as the pulse repeti-
times in the nanosecond range. and time parameters (Fig.  1) tion rate, over an extended time
The A/D converter is integra- Users can display deviations period. This can be very useful,
ted into the analyzer, elimina- with respect to a predefined list for example in scenarios where
ting the need for a wideband or specify a tolerance range for the aim is to deceive the enemy
oscilloscope for data acquisi- frequency hop detection. radar. For this purpose, the tar-
Author: tion. The R&S®FSW-B2001 geted aircraft transmits a similar
Dr. Wolfgang Wendler option features low distortion Analysis of ultrashort signal in modified form to give
of input signals with a large the impression that the aircraft is
Rohde & Schwarz dynamic range. The spurious- closer to the radar antenna than
GmbH & Co. KG free dynamic range (SFDR) is A large measurement bandwidth it actually is. In response, the an outstanding 60  dBc. These is not only useful for characteri- enemy radar reduces its sensi-

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RF & Wireless

Fig. 2: Time domain analysis of ultrashort pulses (< 20 ns). An enlarged key parameters to the right (rise time, pulse width, etc.). The amplitude of a
portion of the total acquired signal is shown at the top left, with a list of selected pulse is shown at the bottom right, with the phase trend to its left

tivity and loses the target. Exa- can be acquired and used for Ultrawideband radar the transmit frequency, which
mination of this type of scena- analysis. The R&S®FSW-K70 means 2  GHz with a transmit
UWB radar systems use a signi-
rio, which is called range gate vector signal analysis option is frequency of 8 GHz. An analy-
ficantly broader spectrum than
pull-off (RGPO), requires trend intended for pulses with com- sis bandwidth of at least 2 GHz
conventional systems. They ope-
analysis of several parameters plex modulation, such as binary rate with pulses having widths is therefore required for analy-
over an extended time period. phase shift keying (BPSK). It of only a few nanoseconds and sis of these systems in the UWB
Segmented acquisition, in which can also be used with an analysis low power. The spectrum is very band up to 10.6  GHz. Similar
only the pulses are acquired and bandwidth of 2 GHz. It does not broad and resembles white noise. technology is currently used
time-stamped, is useful for this provide a detailed pulse analy- That makes unwanted interfe- for keyless entry systems in the
purpose. The intervals between sis, but it can analyze the modu- rence to other applications unli- automotive industry to deter-
pulses are ignored, greatly incre- lation quality of a wide variety kely. The spectrum width of a mine the distance between the
asing the number of pulses that of digitally modulated signals. UWB radar is at least 25 % of key and the vehicle.  ◄

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