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Off-the-Grid radar design and implementation for Remote Sensing Education

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Monday, 24 January 2011
Off-the-Grid radar design and implementation for Remote Sensing Education
Washington State Convention Center
Jose Colom Sr., University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, Mayaguez, PR; and S. Cruz, M. Cordoba, W. Castellano, V. Acaron, J. Maldonado, Y. Quiles, J. Rosario, and B. De Jesus

Puerto Rico is affected by several weather phenomena such as hurricanes and storms due to its geographical location. Therefore, the study of weather through active remote sensing using provides a powerful tool to predict and study climate changes. In this work, a photovoltaic system was designed for commercial radar, donated by EWR, to be converted it into an off-the-grid (OTG) radar. This radar was installed at CROEM high school of Puerto Rico for education, research and outreach purposes. CROEM high school is located at the west side of Puerto Rico. The OTG radar is intended to provide reflectivity in dBZ regardless of blackouts due to electric problems or atmospheric events. The objective of this project is to design and test a photovoltaic system for EWR radar, which can be used at CROEM to motivate high school students to study the weather and to promote research in remote sensing topics. The radar's photovoltaic system is designed to operate eight hours per day; three days per week with two days of autonomy, taking into account the amount of power consumed by the radar, the control unit and the computer that operates it. Good agreement is observed between the data obtained from EWR and NEXRAD radar, which is located at Cayey. The EWR radar is being used by teachers at CROEM, who have been trained by UPRM professors and students to operate it to introduce their students into the remote sensing research. Currently, CROEM is the only high school in Puerto Rico that has a radar to study atmospheric events.