72 A Digital Receiver Upgrade for S-Pol: NSF/NCAR's Transportable, Polarimetric, S-Band Radar

Tuesday, 15 September 2015
Oklahoma F (Embassy Suites Hotel and Conference Center )
Eric Loew, NCAR, Boulder, CO; and C. Martin and M. Dixon

NSF/NCAR's transportable, polarimetric, S-Band radar (S-Pol) (Lutz et. al 1995) has relied on a turn-key commercial digital radar receiver for the past 7 years. NCAR's Earth Observing Laboratory (EOL) has a long tradition in implementing digital receivers in commercially available hardware (Brimeyer et. al 2007, Martin et. al 2012). We have developed a compact, flexible and inexpensive replacement for the legacy receiver.

Commercial transceiver cards containing multiple analog to digital converters and digital to analog converters, coupled with field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), are the backbone of the software defined radio market. This design lends itself extremely well to high-performance weather radar applications. The user implements application specific timing, quadrature up/down conversion, and pulse compression (if desired) algorithms in FPGA firmware. The vendor-provided framework provides all other infrastructure, making for seamless integration with the host processor. A robust development environment makes this task straightforward.

This paper discusses the implementation of a digital receiver on a commercial transceiver card to be used in the S-Pol radar. The system architecture will be presented, as well as an overview of the algorithms implemented in FPGA firmware. Preliminary test results will be shown. In addition, future upgrades and performance enhancements will be discussed.

References: Lutz, J., P. Johnson, B. Lewis, E. Loew, M. Randall, and J. VanAndel, 1995: NCAR's S-Pol: Portable polarimetric S-band radar. Preprints, Ninth Symp. on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation, Charlotte, NC, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 408-410.

Martin, C., E. Loew, and C. Burghart, 2013: A General Purpose FPGA Based Radar Controller and Signal Processor. 16th Symp. on Meteorological Observations and Instrumentation, New Orleans, LA, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 10.3

Brimeyer T., C. Martin, E. Loew, G. Farquharson, S. Khatri and S. Paul, 2007: A Generic Radar Processor Design Using Software Defined Radio. 33rd Conf. on Radar Meteorology, Cairns, Australia, Amer. Meteor. Soc., 8B.3

- Indicates paper has been withdrawn from meeting
- Indicates an Award Winner