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Radar has been hailed as one of the greatest scientific developments of the first half of the 20 th century. Although
radar is usually associated with detecting airplanes in the sky or ships on the ocean, it actually is used in a variety of
different ways. Some of these include:
Radar is used extensively in weather forecasting and to provide early warning for severe weather. A radar system
known as NEXRAD (NEXt Generation Weather RADar) can gauge the size, intensity, wind speed, and direction of
storms, the amount of water vapor in clouds, and can detect high-level circular wind patterns that cause tornadoes.

Radar is used to help archaeologists excavate ancient sites. Radar can be used from space satellites and
airplanes to scan entire regions for possible archaeological sites. The radar waves can penetrate earth, sand, and
volcanic ash that cover ancient sites. When the waves strike rock or metal, the echo is reflected back. This helps
archeologists determine the best location to dig.
Radar helps engineers study highway tunnels for potential hidden dangers. Radar can be mounted on a truck
and driven through a tunnel that is built under a body of water. Radar can quickly and accurately scan the tunnel for
any leaks.
Located on a space shuttle, radar can be used to locate stagnant pools of water in areas of dense foliage on
earth. With this information, the stagnant water, which can harbor insects carrying disease, can be located and
Radar has also helped provide information about the universe. It is used to locate comets, map stars, and probe planets
that cannot be seen with a regular telescope.

Note: "Radar" is an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging.

Radar is an active remote sensing system that operates on the principle of echoes. When a person in a room yells out,
her voice is sent out as sound waves and is reflected back by the walls to the ears of the listener. Instead of sound
waves, radars use radio waves because radio waves travel faster, further, and are reflected better than sound waves.
Radio waves travel at the speed of light (186,000 miles or 300,000 kilometers per second).
Radar performs three primary functions:
It transmits microwave signals (called the pulse) toward a target.
After reaching an object, it is reflected back, and the radar receives a return portion of the transmitted signal
(called the backscatter), as seen in Figure A-1.
It observes the strength, behavior, and the time delay of the returned signals and produces a blip on a screen, as
seen in Figure A-2.

Note: A radar display shows a map-like picture of the area being scanned. The center of the picture responds to the radar
antenna, and the radar echoes are shown as bright spots on the screen. The distance of the spot from the center of the screen
indicates how far away the object is.

The blips produced on a screen will vary depending upon the object reflecting the waves. Sophisticated radar can
identify not only an airplane in the sky but also its type, manufacturer, and whether it is friend or foe.
Figure A-1 Radar pulse and backscatter

Figure A-2 Radar blips

A special type of radar known as Doppler radar is frequently used today by meteorologists to locate tornados and
microbursts, which are downdrafts of air traveling at very high speeds. Doppler radar takes advantage of the Doppler
Effect. The Doppler Effect is when the frequency of an electromagnetic wave is changed as the wave hits a moving
object. Unlike regular radar, Doppler radar sends out waves at multiple sets of frequencies. Upon striking the target,
the wave is reflected back at a different frequency than the transmitted wave. The radar compares the frequency of
the returned echo with that of the transmitted wave. When the difference is calculated, the speed of the object,
which caused the shift in frequency, can be calculated. Wind patterns are shown on the radar display in different
colors. The faster a wind is moving, the brighter its color.

Note: Doppler radar is also used by law enforcement agencies to locate speeding motorists. Most police radar guns have a
split-screen display window, which shows both the speed of the target and the speed of the patrol vehicle.

The development of radar dates back to the discoveries of the 1860s and 1870s, when James Maxwell developed the
equations that outlined the behavior of electromagnetic waves and Heinrich Hertz discovered radio waves. Several
years later, a German engineer named Christian Huelsmeyer proposed the use of radio echoes to avoid collisions in
marine navigation. The first successful radio range-finding experiment occurred in 1924, when the British scientist
Edward Appleton used radio echoes to determine the height of the ionosphere.
The first practical radar system was produced in 1935 by the British physicist Robert Watson-Watt. By 1939, England
had established a chain of radar stations along its southern and eastern coasts to detect aggressors in the air or on the
sea. About the same time, two British scientists were responsible for the most important advance made in the
technology of radar during World War II. Henry Boot and John Randall invented an electron tube that was capable
of generating high-frequency radio pulses with large amounts of power.

by Chris Woodford. Last updated: July 29, 2016.

I magine trying to land a jumbo jet the size of a large building on a short

strip of tarmac, in the middle of a city, in the depth of the night, in thick fog. If
you can't see where you're going, how can you hope to land
safely? Airplane pilots get around this difficulty using radar, a way of "seeing"
that uses high-frequency radio waves. Radar was originally developed to
detect enemy aircraft during World War II, but it is now widely used in
everything from police speed-detector guns to weather forecasting. Let's take
a closer look at how it works!
Photo: This giant radar detector at Thule Air Base, Greenland is designed to detect incoming nuclear missiles.
It's a key part of the US Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS). Photo by Michael Tolzmann courtesy
of US Air Force.

What is radar?

We can see objects in the world around us because light (usually from the
Sun) reflects off them into our eyes. If you want to walk at night, you can shine
a torch in front to see where you're going. The light beam travels out from the
torch, reflects off objects in front of you, and bounces back into your eyes.
Your brain instantly computes what this means: it tells you how far away
objects are and makes your body move so you don't trip over things.

Radar works in much the same way. The word "radar" stands
for radio detection and rangingand that gives a pretty big clue as to what it
does and how it works. Imagine an airplane flying at night through thick fog.
The pilots can't see where they're going, so they use the radar to help them.

An airplane's radar is a bit like a torch that uses radio waves instead of light.
The plane transmits an intermittent radar beam (so it sends a signal only part
of the time) and, for the rest of the time, "listens" out for any reflections of that
beam from nearby objects. If reflections are detected, the plane knows
something is nearbyand it can use the time taken for the reflections to arrive
to figure out how far away it is. In other words, radar is a bit like the
echolocation system that "blind" bats use to see and fly in the dark.

Photo: This mobile radar truck can be towed to wherever it's needed. The antenna on top rotates so it can
detect enemy airplanes or missiles coming from any direction. Photo by Shane A. Cuomo courtesy of US Air

How radar works

Whether it's mounted on a plane, a ship, or anything else, a radar set needs
the same basic set of components: something to generate radio waves,
something to send them out into space, something to receive them, and some
means of displaying information so the radar operator can quickly understand

The radio waves used by radar are produced by a piece of equipment called
a magnetron. Radio waves are similar to light waves: they travel at the same
speedbut their waves are much longer and have much lower frequencies.
Light waves have wavelengths of about 500 nanometers (500 billionths of a
meter, which is about 100200 times thinner than a human hair), whereas the
radio waves used by radar typically range from about a few centimeters to a
meterthe length of a finger to the length of your armor roughly a million
times longer than light waves.
Both light and radio waves are part of the electromagnetic spectrum, which
means they're made up of fluctuating patterns
of electrical and magnetic energy zapping through the air. The waves a
magnetron produces are actually microwaves, similar to the ones generated
by a microwave oven. The difference is that the magnetron in a radar has to
send the waves many miles, instead of just a few inches, so it is much larger
and more powerful.

Photo: A typical military radar screen, located in the flight tower at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Photo by
Christopher Griffin courtesy of US Air Force.

Once the radio waves have been generated, an antenna, working as

a transmitter, hurls them into the air in front of it. The antenna is usually
curved so it focuses the waves into a precise, narrow beam, but radar
antennas also typically rotate so they can detect movements over a large
area. The radio waves travel outward from the antenna at the speed of light
(186,000 miles or 300,000 km per second) and keep going until they hit
something. Then some of them bounce back toward the antenna in a beam of
reflected radio waves also traveling at the speed of light. The speed of the
waves is crucially important. If an enemy jet plane is approaching at over
3,000 km/h (2,000 mph), the radar beam needs to travel much faster than this
to reach the plane, return to the transmitter, and trigger the alarm in time.
That's no problem, because radio waves (and light) travel fast enough to go
seven times around the world in a second! If an enemy plane is 160 km (100
miles) away, a radar beam can travel that distance and back in less than a
thousandth of a second.
The antenna doubles up as a radar receiver as well as a transmitter. In fact, it
alternates between the two jobs. Typically it transmits radio waves for a few
thousandths of a second, then it listens for the reflections for anything up to
several seconds before transmitting again. Any reflected radio waves picked
up by the antenna are directed into a piece of electronic equipment that
processes and displays them in a meaningful form on a television-like screen,
watched all the time by a human operator. The receiving equipment filters out
useless reflections from the ground, buildings, and so on, displaying only
significant reflections on the screen itself. Using radar, an operator can see
any nearby ships or planes, where they are, how quickly they're traveling, and
where they're heading. Watching a radar screen is a bit like playing a video
gameexcept that the spots on the screen represent real airplanes and ships
and the slightest mistake could cost many people's lives.

There's one more important piece of equipment in the radar apparatus. It's
called a duplexer and it makes the antenna swap back and forth between
being a transmitter and a receiver. While the antenna is transmitting, it cannot
receiveand vice-versa. Take a look at the diagram in the box below to see
how all these parts of the radar system fit together.

How does radar work?

Here's a summary of how radar works:

1. Magnetron generates high-frequency radio waves.
2. Duplexer switches magnetron through to antenna.
3. Antenna acts as transmitter, sending narrow beam of radio waves
through the air.
4. Radio waves hit enemy airplane and reflect back.
5. Antenna picks up reflected waves during a break between
transmissions. Note that the same antenna acts as both transmitter and
receiver, alternately sending out radio waves and receiving them.
6. Duplexer switches antenna through to receiver unit.
7. Computer in receiver unit processes reflected waves and draws them
on a TV screen.
8. Enemy plane shows up on TV radar display with any other nearby

Uses of radar

Photo: A scientist adjusts a radar dish to track weather balloons through the sky. Weather balloons, which
measure atmospheric conditions, carry reflective targets underneath them to bounce radar signals back
efficiently. Photo by courtesy of US Department of Energy.

Radar is still most familiar as a military technology. Radar antennas mounted

at airports or other ground stations can be used to detect approaching enemy
airplanes or missiles, for example. The United States has a very elaborate
Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS) to detect incoming missiles,
with three major radar detector stations in Clear in Alaska, Thule in
Greenland, and Fylingdales Moor in England. It's not just the military who use
radar, however. Most civilian airplanes and larger boats and ships now have
radar too as a general aid to navigation. Every major airport has a huge radar
scanning dish to help air traffic controllers guide planes in and out, whatever
the weather. Next time you head for an airport, look out for the rotating radar
dish mounted on or near the control tower.

You may have seen police officers using radar guns by the roadside to detect
people who are driving too fast. These are based on a slightly different
technology called Doppler radar. You've probably noticed that a fire engine's
siren seems to drop in pitch as it screams past. As the engine drives toward
you, the sound waves from its siren arrive more often because the speed of
the vehicle makes them travel a bit faster. When the engine drives away from
you, the vehicle's speed works the opposite waymaking the sound waves
travel slower and arrive less often. So you hear quite a noticeable drop in the
siren's pitch at the exact moment when it passes by. This is called
the Doppler effect.

The same science is at work in a radar speed gun. When a police officer fires
a radar beam at your car, the metal bodywork reflects the beam straight back.
But the faster your car is traveling, the more it will change the frequency of the
radio waves in the beam. Sensitive electronic equipment in the radar gun uses
this information to calculate how fast your car is going.

Photo: Radar in action: A Gatso speed camera designed to make drivers keep to the speed limit. Photo taken
at Think Tank, Birmingham, England by Explain that Stuff.

Radar has many scientific uses. Doppler radar is also used in weather
forecasting to figure out how fast storms are moving and when they are likely
to arrive in particular towns and cities. Effectively, the weather forecasters fire
out radar beams into clouds and use the reflected beams to measure how
quickly the rain is traveling and how fast it's falling. Scientists use a form of
visible radar called lidar (light detection and ranging) to measure air pollution
with lasers. Archeologists and geologists point radar down into the ground to
study the composition of the Earth and find buried deposits of historical

Photo: Radar in action: A Doppler radar unit scans the sky. Photo by courtesy of US Department of Energy.

One place radar isn't used is on board submarines. Electromagnetic waves

don't travel readily through dense seawater (that's why it's dark in the deep
ocean). Instead, submarines use a very similar system called SONAR (Sound
Navigation And Ranging), which uses sound to "see" objects instead of radio

Photo: A geologist moves a radar transmitter (mounted on a bike wheel) across the ground to study the
composition of the Earth beneath. His partner in the pickup behind interprets the radar signals on an electronic
display. This kind of ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is an example of geophysics. Photo by courtesy of US
Department of Energy.
Countermeasures: how to avoid radar

Radar is extremely effective at spotting enemy aircraft and shipsso much so

that military scientists had to develop some way around it! If you have a
superb radar system, chances are your enemy has one too. If you can spot
his airplanes, he can spot yours. So you really need airplanes that can
somehow "hide" themselves inside the enemy's radar without being spotted.
Stealth technology is designed to do just that. You may have seen the US air
force's sinister-looking B2 stealth bomber. Its sharp, angular lines and metal-
coated windows are designed to scatter or absorb beams of radio waves so
enemy radar operators cannot detect them. A stealth airplane is so effective at
doing this that it shows up on a radar screen with no more energy than a small

Photo: The unusual zig-zag shape at the back of this B2 stealth bomber is one of many features designed to
scatter radio waves so the plane "disappears" on enemy radar screens. The rounded front wings and
concealed engines and exhaust pipes also help to keep the plane invisible. Photo by courtesy of US Air Force.

Who invented radar?

Although many scientists contributed to the development of radar, best known

among them was a Scottish physicist named Robert Watson-Watt (1892
1973). During World War I, Watson-Watt went to work for Britain's
Meteorological Office (the country's main weather forecasting organization) to
help them use radio waves to detect approaching storms.

In the run up to World War II, Watson-Watt and his assistant Arnold Wilkins
realized they could use the technology they were developing to detect
approaching enemy aircraft. Once they'd proved the basic equipment could
work, they constructed an elaborate network of ground-based radar detectors
around the south and east of the British coastline. During the war, Britain's
radar defenses (known as Chain Home) gave it a huge advantage over the
German air force and played an important part in the ultimate allied victory. A
similar system was developed at the same time in the United States and even
managed to detect the approach of Japanese airplanes over Pearl Harbor, in
Hawaii, in December 1941though no-one figured out the significance of so
many approaching planes until it was too late.
How does radar work?

Air traffic controllers mostly use secondary radar to track commercial aircraft and only use real radar in the case where
transponders are not fitted, are turned off or are broken (iStockPhoto: LuisALouro)
Related Stories
Malaysia airlines flight MH 370: What we know, ABC News

What is radar and how is it used to track aircraft?

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 this month has raised many questions about how aircraft
are tracked.

One of the key means of tracking the position of aircraft is via radar, a system that evolved before World War II
and has been constantly refined since then, explains Dr Graham Brooker, a radar engineer at the University of
Sydney's School of Aerospace, Mechanical and Mechatronic Engineering.

The word RADAR is an acronym for RAdio Detection And Ranging, and in its simplest form it consists of a
transmitted radio signal aimed by an antenna in a particular direction, and a receiver that detects the echoes off
any objects in the path of the signal, he says.

The transmitter consists of an electronic circuit that oscillates at a specific frequency, usually much higher than
those frequencies used for radio or TV broadcasts, says Brooker.

This signal is sent out in short bursts of electromagnetic energy, called pulses, through the antenna which
produces a narrow beam like that of a torch.

"Radar makes it possible to determine the direction to an object, generally referred to as the target, based on the
direction the antenna is facing," says Brooker.

The distance to the target is determined from the time taken between transmitting the pulse and receiving the
echo. This can be accurately determined because the radar signal travels at the speed of light, which is constant.

Air traffic control

For air traffic control radars, the beam is shaped like a fan, narrow in the horizontal direction, and wide in the
vertical direction, to accommodate high-flying planes.

This beam scans around in a circle once every two or three seconds and echoes are displayed on a circular
display called a plan-position indicator.

The air traffic controller or a computer can track the echoes or 'blips' on the display to determine where the
aircraft is heading. This is called primary radar.
"Primary radar is seldom used any more in isolation as there are too many planes in the sky," says Brooker.

"These days, secondary radar is also used, in which a coded pulse sequence is sent to the aircraft and a
transponder on the plane generates a coded return, containing a lot of information about the aircraft. This used to
be called identification friend or foe, or IFF."
Air traffic controllers mostly use secondary radar to track commercial aircraft and only use real radar in the case
where transponders are not fitted, are turned off or are broken.

"There was a case couple of decades back where a young man flew a light plane half way across the US without
being detected as the air traffic controllers either had their primary radars turned off or thought his echo was from
a flock of birds," Brooker says.

If the aircraft transponder is switched off, it can be difficult to identify which one of the many primary radar "blips"
on the air traffic control display corresponds to the aircraft you are interested in, says Brooker.

"This may be why the transponder on flight 370 was apparently turned off at the range where the handover
occurred from one air traffic control to another.

Limits to radar
Most people will have heard the expression 'flying below the radar'. This is named after a true phenomenon, Dr
Brooker explains.

"It is caused by the interaction of the radar beam with the ground, which results in the beam 'lifting' off the horizon.
If an aircraft is flying low enough, the beam hardly illuminates it and the range at which it can be seen is limited."

There are also limits to the distance over which radar can be used. The main problem with radar for long distance
operation is the fact that the amount of power required to send and receive the signal is dependent on the
distance to the aircraft raised to the power of four, says Brooker.
"Therefore if you want to double the range at which you can detect an aircraft, the amount of transmitted power
must increase by a factor of 16."
Typical radars used to track planes out to a range of 100 kilometres or more transmit peak powers in the
megawatts. However, the transmitted pulse is short, typically one micro second or so, and they only occur a few
hundred times per second, so the average power is quite low.
For really long-range operation, the peak power required to send out the radar pulses become prohibitively large.
This has resulted in the development of innovations such as phased arrays that consist of a large number of
smaller transmitters and receivers on a planar surface that operate in unison and pulse compression, which
allows longer and lower power encoded pulses to be generated while still maintaining good range accuracy.
Another limitation to long-range radar is caused by attenuation through the atmosphere even in clear air, but
worse in the rain. This is inversely related to the wavelength of the signal, so long range radars operate at low

Hiding from radar

Electromagnetic waves "bounce" off objects that conduct electricity, so old-fashioned aircraft made from wood
and canvas didn't produce big radar echoes, says Brooker. The same applies to modern planes made from
carbon fibre composites. Aluminium skinned planes make the best targets.
"The shape of the aircraft is also important, and metal aircraft made from flat plates, sharp corners and edges
generally produce strong echoes, so if you want to make an aircraft invisible, you can either make it from flat
plates or facets that are aligned in such a way that the radar signals reflect away from the receiver. The F-117
stealth attack aircraft is an example of this."
Alternatively aircraft can be made without any right angles so that wings are blended into the body and external
features are eliminated. Making an aircraft skin that absorbs radar energy using "radar absorbent materials" is
another method to minimise the echo size, he says.

"The B-2 stealth bomber is probably the state-of-the-art, which uses most of these techniques, and provides an
echo about as big as that produced by a bumble bee."
Dr Graham Brooker a radar engineer at the University of Sydney's School of Aerospace, Mechanical and
Mechatronic Engineering. He was interviewed by Stephen Pincock.
MCQs in Navigational Aids and Radar Systems

1. The minimum range of radar is primarily determined by

a. The pulse width and the TR cell recovery time
b. The ATR cell recovery time
c. The overall height of the antenna
d. The peak power output of the radar transmitter
2. Bearing resolution is
a. The ability to distinguish two target of different distances
b. The ability to distinguish two target of different elevations
c. The ability to distinguish two adjacent targets of equal distances
d. The ability to distinguish two targets of different sizes
3. Find the distance in yards to an object if the display of a radar signal measures 4.4
a. 380
b. 328
c. 722
d. 656
4. What device is located between the magnetron and the mixer and prevents received
signals from entering the magnetron?
a. TR box
b. ATR box
c. RF attenuator
d. Resonant cavity
5. Where is RF attenuator used in a radar unit?
a. Between the antenna and the receiver
b. Between the magnetron and the antenna
c. Between the magnetron and the AFC section of the receiver
d. Between the AFC section and klystron
6. What radar circuit determines the pulse repetition rate?
a. Discriminator
b. Timer/ synchronizer circuit
c. Artificial transmission line
d. Pulse-rate indicator circuit
7. Given the pulse width of 8 microseconds and a duty cycle of 8%, determine the pulse
repetition time of a radar system.
a. 100 us
b. 1 us
c. 1000 us
d. 10 ms
8. On runway, an ILS localizer shows
a. Deviation left or right of runway center line
b. Deviation up or down from ground speed
c. Deviation percentage from authorized ground speed
d. Wind speed along runway
9. Range markers are determined by
a. CRT
b. Magnetron
c. Timer
d. Video amplifier
10. The characteristic of the magnetron output pulse that relates to accurate range
measurement is its
a. Amplitude
b. Decay time
c. Rise time
d. Duration
11. The minimum range of a radar is determined by
a. The frequency of the radar transmitter
b. He pulse repetition rate
c. The transmitted pulse width
d. The pulse repetition frequency
12. A circuit to develop AFC voltage in a radar receiver is called the
a. Peak detector
b. Crystal mixer
c. Second detector
d. Discriminator
13. The echo box is used for
a. Testing and tuning of the radar unit by providing artificial targets
b. Testing the wavelength of the incoming echo signal
c. Amplification of the echo signal
d. Detection of the echo pulses
14. In a radar unit, the local oscillator is
a. A hydrogen thyratron
b. A klystron
c. A pentagrid converter tube
d. A reactance tube modulator
15. What is the peak power of a radar pulse if the pulse width is 1.0 microsecond, PRR is
900 and the average plate power input is 45 watts?
a. 50 kW
b. 45 kW
c. 60 kW
d. 62.5 kW
16. Radar uses what form of energy to detect planes, ships and land masses
a. Sound energy
b. Visible light
c. Infrared radiation
d. Electromagnetic energy
17. In a pulse radar system, what component controls the timing throughout the system?
a. Power supply
b. Synchronizer
c. Indicator
d. Receiver
18. What radar measurement of an object is referenced to true north?
a. Height
b. Surface angle
c. Vertical angle
d. One-way distance
19. Surface search radar normally scans how many degrees of azimuth?
a. 30 degrees
b. 90 degrees
c. 360 degrees
d. 180 degrees
20. What limits the maximum range of a surface search radar?
a. Pulse width
b. Transmitter power
c. Frequency
d. Radar horizon
21. What IF frequency (ies) is (are) normally used in radar receivers?
a. 30 or 60 MHz
b. 455 kHz
c. 70 MHz
d. 10.7 MHz
22. What is the typical frequency range about the center frequency of a tunable magnetron?
a. Plus or minus 5 percent
b. Plus or minus 10 percent
c. Plus or minus 15 percent
d. Plus or minus 8 percent
23. What type of radar provides continuous range, bearing and elevation data on an object?
a. Track radar
b. Search radar
c. Pulsed radar
d. Doppler shift
24. What radio navigation and determines the distance from a transponder beacon by
measuring the length of time the radio signal took to travel to the receiver?
a. Radar
b. Loran C
c. Distance marking
d. Distance measuring equipment
25. Which of the following is a feature of an instrument landing system?
a. The localizer which shows aircraft deviation horizontally from center of runway
b. The glideslope or glide path which shows vertical altitude of an aircraft during
c. Provides communications to aircraft
d. Both a and b
26. What transmission method does not depend on relative frequency or target motion?
a. Digital transmission
b. Frequency modulation
c. Pulse modulation
d. CW modulation
27. The beat frequency in a swept-frequency transmitter provides what contact information?
a. Frequency
b. Travel time
c. Range
d. Velocity
28. A self- synchronization radar system obtains timing trigger pulses from what source?
a. Transmitter
b. Echo box
c. Anti-transmit and receive box
d. Transmit and receive box
29. In externally-synchronized radar, what determines the PRR of the transmitter?
a. Synchronizer
b. Master oscillator
c. Blocking oscillator
d. Free-running multivibrator
30. Transmitter power readings are most often referenced to what power level?
a. 1 watt
b. 1 milliwatt
c. 1 microwatt
d. 1 picowatt
31. What type of radiator normally drives a corner reflector?
a. Half-wave
b. Despun
c. Isotropic
d. Marconi
32. A monopulse receiver has how many separate channels?
a. One
b. Two
c. Three
d. Four
33. How many major lobes are produced by a paraboloid reflector?
a. One
b. Two
c. Three
d. Four
34. The Doppler variation is directly proportional to what radar contact characteristics?
a. Frequency
b. Velocity
c. Range
d. Travel time
35. What is the simplest type of scanning?
a. Single lobe scanning
b. Mechanical scanning
c. Electronic scanning
d. Electromechanical scanning
36. What term is used to describe the ability of a radar system to distinguish between
targets that are close together?
a. Target resolution
b. Bearing resolution
c. Range resolution
d. Angular resolution
37. Radar altimeters use what type of transmission signal?
a. Amplitude modulated
b. Frequency modulated
c. Phase modulated
d. Pulsed modulated
38. Tracking radar searches a small volume of space during which phase of operation?
a. Scanning
b. Tracking
c. Searching
d. Acquisition
39. How many active elements are contained in a magnetron?
a. Two
b. Three
c. Four
d. Five
40. Transit time might be defined as the time required for
a. RF energy to travel through the waveguide
b. A pulse to travel a wavelength inside a waveguide
c. One cycle of operation to be completed
d. Electrons to travel from cathode to anode
41. On a basic synchro system, the angular information is carried on
a. Dc feedback signal
b. Stator lines
c. Deflection coils
d. Rotor lines
42. What circuit element receives the drive voltage in a radar systems fiber optic signal
a. Filter capacitor
b. Load-limiting capacitor
c. Temperature sensor
d. Transistor
43. For a range of 10 nautical miles, the radar pulse repetition frequency (PRF) should be
a. Approximately 8.1 kHz or less
b. 900 Hz
c. 18.1 kHz or more
d. 120.3 microseconds
44. If the operating radar frequency is 3000 MHz, what is the distance between the
waveguide and the spark gaps in older radar units?
a. 10 cm
b. 5 cm
c. 2.5 cm
d. 20 cm
45. Ship raster scan radar has a CRT with the following characteristics: 70 pixels per
character, 80 character per line, 25 lines per screen and it scans 100 screen per second.
What is the minimum required bandwidth for the electron beam control signal?
a. 210 MHz
b. 0.21 MHz
c. 2.1 MHz
d. 21 MHz
46. Continuous wave radar is frequency modulated with a 50-Hz sine wave. At the output of
the receiver phase detector, a phase delay of 36 degrees is measured. This indicates a
target range of
a. 15 km
b. 75 km
c. 150 km
d. 300 km
47. A target pulse appears on the CRT 100 microseconds after the transmitted pulse. The
target slant range is
a. 30 km
b. 93 miles
c. 15 km
d. 15, 000 yards
48. A gated LC oscillator operating at 12.5 kHz is being used to develop range markers. If
each is converted to a range, the range between markers will be
a. 120 km
b. 12 km
c. 1.2 km
d. 210 km
49. What type of tube best meets the requirements of a modulator switching element?
a. Thyratron
b. Magnetron
c. Klystron
d. Phanotron
50. What type of transmitter power is measured over a period of time?
a. Peak
b. Return
c. Average
d. Reciprocal

1. The pulse width and the TR cell recovery time
2. The ability to distinguish two adjacent targets of equal distances
3. 722
4. ATR box
5. Between the magnetron and the AFC section of the receiver
6. Timer/ synchronizer circuit
7. 100 us
8. Deviation left or right of runway center line
9. Timer
10. Rise time
11. The transmitted pulse width
12. Discriminator
13. sting and tuning of the radar unit by providing artificial targets
14. A klystron
15. 50 kW
16. Electromagnetic energy
17. Synchronizer
18. Surface angle
19. 360 degrees
20. Radar horizon
21. 30 or 60 MHz
22. Plus or minus 5 percent
23. Track radar
24. Distance measuring equipment
25. Both a and b
26. Pulse modulation
27. Range
28. Transmitter
29. Master oscillator
30. 1 milliwatt
31. Half-wave
32. Three
33. One
34. Velocity
35. Single lobe scanning
36. Target resolution
37. Frequency modulated
38. Acquisition
39. Two
40. Electrons to travel from cathode to anode
41. Stator lines
42. Transistor
43. Approximately 8.1 kHz or less
44. 2.5 cm
45. 21 MHz
46. 300 km
47. 15 km
48. 12 km
49. Thyratron
50. Average
MCQs in Radar Systems

Choose the letter of the best answer in each questions.

1. If the peak transmitted power in a radar system is increased by a factor of 16, the
maximum range will be increased by a factor
a. 2
b. 4
c. 8
d. 16
2. If the antenna diameter in a radar system is increased by a factor of 4, the maximum
range will be increased by a factor of
a. 2
b. 2
c. 4
d. 8
3. If the ratio of the antenna diameter to the wavelength in a radar system is high this will
result in (indicate the false statement)
a. large maximum range
b. good target discrimination
c. difficult target acquisition
d. increased capture area
4. The radar cross section of a target (indicate the false statement)
a. depends on the frequency used
b. may be reduced by special coating of the target
c. depends on the aspect of a target, if this non-spherical
d. is equal to the actual cross-sectional area for small targets
5. Flat-topped rectangular pulses must be transmitted in radar to (indicate the false
a. allow a good minimum range
b. make the returned echoes easier to distinguish from noise
c. prevent frequency changes in the magnetron
d. allow accurate range measurements
6. A high PRF will (indicate the false statement)
a. make the returned echoes easier to distinguish from noise
b. make target tracking easier with conical scanning
c. increase the maximum range
d. have no effect on the range resolution
7. The IF bandwidth of a radar receiver is inversely proportional to the
a. pulse width
b. pulse repetition frequency
c. pulse interval
d. square root of the peak transmitted power
8. If a return echo arrives after the allocated pulse interval,
a. it will interfere with the operation of the transmitter
b. the receiver might be overloaded
c. it will not be received
d. the target will appear closer than it really is
9. After a target has been acquired, the best scanning system for tracking is
a. nodding
b. spiral
c. conical
d. helical
10. If the target cross section is changing, the best system for accurate tracking is
a. lobe switching
b. sequential lobing
c. conical scanning
d. monopulse
11. The biggest disadvantage of CW Doppler radar is that
a. it does not give the target velocity
b. it does not give the target range
c. a transponder is required at the target
d. it does not give the target position
12. The A scope displays
a. the target position and range
b. the target range, but not position
c. the target position, but not range
d. neither range nor position, but not only velocity
13. The Doppler effect is used in (indicate the false statement)
a. moving-target plotting on the PPI
b. the MTI system
c. FM radar
d. CW radar
14. The coho in MTI radar operates at the
a. intermediate frequency
b. transmitted frequency
c. received frequency
d. pulse repetition frequency
15. The function of the quartz delay line in an MTI radar is to
a. help in subtracting a complete scan from the previous scan
b. match the phase of the coho and the stalo
c. match the phase of the coho and the output oscillator
d. delay a sweep so that the next sweep can be subtracted from it
16. A solution to the blind speed problem is
a. to change the Doppler frequency
b. to vary the PRF
c. to use monopulse
d. to use MTI
17. Indicate which one of the following applications or advantages of radar beacons is false:
a. Target identification
b. Navigation
c. Very significant extension of the maximum range
d. More accurate tracking of enemy targets
18. Compared with other types of radar, phased array radar has the following advantages
(indicate the false statement)
a. very fast scanning
b. ability to track and scan simultaneously
c. circuit simplicity
d. ability to track many targets simultaneously

1. a. 2
2. c. 4
3. d. increased capture area
4. d. is equal to the actual cross-sectional area for small targets
5. b. make the returned echoes easier to distinguish from noise
6. c. increase the maximum range
7. a. pulse width
8. d. the target will appear closer than it really is
9. c. conical
10. d. monopulse
11. b. it does not give the target range
12. b. the target range, but not position
13. a. moving-target plotting on the PPI
14. a. intermediate frequency
15. a. help in subtracting a complete scan from the previous scan
16. b. to vary the PRF
17. d. More accurate tracking of enemy targets
18. c. circuit simplicity