Software Defined Radar for VHF Meteor Research at the Pennsylvania State University

Open Access
Author:
Seal, Ryan
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Degree:
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
November 24, 2014
Committee Members:
  • Julio Urbina, Thesis Advisor
  • John David Mathews, Thesis Advisor
Keywords:
  • SDR
  • Open Source
  • VHF
  • Radar
  • Meteor
  • Remote Sensing
  • Atmosphere
Abstract:
Very High Frequency (VHF) radars, defined by propagating radio frequencies between 30 and 300 MHz, were popularized during World War II as airborne intercept radars. Modern radar technology has long since relegated VHF radars obsolete for surveillance and communication. However, the VHF band, due to the composition of the Earth's atmosphere, is capable of providing high-resolution mapping and remote sensing of the atmosphere, including the study of meteoroids. In this thesis, the design and construction of a VHF meteor radar will be provided, with an emphasis on the use of open-source tools, including elements of both hardware and software. The intention of this work is to provide researchers with a cost-effective, completely open platform that can be freely customized and expanded. Readers will find an in-depth analysis of signal processing techniques used, including modifications required for use in hardware. Additionally, the design of a networked client-server architecture, used to control and operate the system remotely, will be provided. The work will conclude with results from initial observations which will be compared with theoretical calculations.