Field testing a prototype multistatic commensal radar system

5 Sep 2014 - 14:45

In July 2014, the Commensal Radar Project, which is a joint collaboration between the University of Cape Town, the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Peralex Electronics carried out a multi-site field deployment in the South-Western Cape to test and prove emerging techniques in target location for the prototype multistatic commensal radar system that is currently being developed.

Commensal radar makes use of illuminators of opportunity to transmit the illuminating RF energy that is in turn used to detect targets of interest. This implies making use of illuminators that are 3rd party to the radar system and that are often not intended for radar operation. This allows the radar system to be low-cost, as it does not require its own transmitter subsystem nor the license to operate such a transmitter. The prototype system under development makes use of the commercial FM broadcast band (88 to 108 MHz) as the illuminating source.

Four receiver sites (marked by ‘R’) were deployed around the Southern part of the Western Cape to concurrently detect commercial airlines going in and out of Cape Town International Airport.

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