Development of A Radio-Frequency Front-End for An Ice-Penetrating Radar

Open Access
Hu, Hanxiong
Graduate Program:
Electrical Engineering
Master of Science
Document Type:
Master Thesis
Date of Defense:
April 06, 2015
Committee Members:
  • Sven G Bilen, Thesis Advisor
  • radio-frequency front-end
  • ice-penetrating radar
  • printed circuit board.
A radio-frequency (RF) front-end was developed for an ice-penetrating software-de ned radar, which operates with a chirp frequency that ranges from 140-160 MHz generated by a Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP). The aim of the design was to shrink the previous radar front-end by integrating hardware on a single printed circuit board such that the system is more portable. The design was based on the existing connector-based RF front-end and will be used in polar geoscience research to collect data about the depth of ice sheets. The RF front-end consists of three parts: the Tx front-end path, Rx front-end path, and power supply. The Tx front-end path was designed to lter the chirp signal from the USRP and deliver it to an external 20-W power ampli er. The Rx front-end path was built to pass the received signal back to the USRP for analysis after ltering and ampli cation. To prevent saturation and possible damage, a pair of blanking switches blocks the high power signal directly from the transmitting antenna. System design was veri ed by simulating using Agilents SystemVUE electronic system level design software, and was laid out using Altium Designer PCB design automation software. Network and spectrum analyzers were used to test the performance of the physical system, which met design speci cations.