On the Development of Modern Ionospheric Sensors Using Software-defined Radio Techniques

Open Access
Hackett, Alexander
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
July 22, 2013
Committee Members:
  • Julio Urbina, Thesis Advisor
  • software-defined radio
  • digital radar
  • radar
  • SDR
  • CIRI
  • IRIS
  • GnuRadar
  • USRP
As the field of electronics continues its trend to becoming faster, smaller, and lower-powered, opportunities continue to open up for digital systems, that rival, if not exceed, traditional analog systems in performance, reliability, and affordability. Software-defined radio systems add reconfigurability and flexibility into the mix, making use of high-speed analog-to-digital converters, digital-to-analog converters, programmable logic devices, and advanced digital signal processing techniques to extend the capabilities of radio transmitters and receivers. Three remote sensor systems designed to study several upper atmospheric properties were developed at The Pennsylvania State University, taking advantage of the benefits software-defined systems have to offer through the use of the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) platform. The design, implementation, and operation of each of these sensors are presented, with preliminary results to validate their use and to encourage further development of software-defined radio techniques in the field of ionospheric science.