Radar was invented prior to World War II. Until recently, radar has not seen as much development for civil applications compared to radio and satellite technologies. Products containing e g RFID or GPS for detection and positioning are widespread and affordable. However, the limitation of these technologies is that they can only detect co-operating objects. Radar does not have this limitation. The recent political climate has proven that in fields like air traffic control, relying solely on technologies that require co-operating objects can be dangerous.  This is why radar systems have continued to be developed for safety and defense applications, where non-cooperating objects needs to be identified and tracked. Radar is also used to analyse weather patterns. As radars provide invaluable information, it is important to ensure that their performance is tested and monitored. This requires quality RF test equipment and monitoring systems. Mentioned below is more information on the importance of testing and monitoring of radar performance.

Testing and Monitoring of Radar systems

We use the term testing for all procedures and checks used to ensure that a system meets all requirements, quality standards, regulations and specifications. Testing is typically performed before commissioning of a system and at regular service intervals -as well as during fault tracing.

We use the term monitoring for a subset of the tests that can be performed in-service and are necessary to confirm that a system is capable of fulfilling its intended purpose.

For a radar, as for any system containing mission critical RF equipment, in-service monitoring is essential in order to ensure that all components are in proper working order. Though testing and monitoring are separate, in practice the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

What should be monitored?

Radar systems should be monitored for the output power of the transmitter, the sensitivity of the receiver and be capable of detecting potential damage to the antenna system. This will help ensure that information is being properly transmitted and that the receiver is able to clearly detect and interpret the radar echo. Too much interference or noise will degrade the quality of the data received from the radar system and may lead to that foreign objects are not detected. In the case of an airport surveillance radar, the implications can be disastrous.

One company that provides radar, RF and Microwave test equipment is Ranatec. More information about their monitoring systems and measurement instruments is available online.

“The above blog is written by a third party and is only for informative purposes. It does not reflect Ranatec’s position with regards to the provided information.”