MERITXELL: The Multifrequency Experimental Radiometer With Interference Tracking for Experiments Over Land and Littoral-Instrument Description, Calibration and Performance

Sensors (Basel). 2017 May 10;17(5):1081. doi: 10.3390/s17051081.


MERITXELL is a ground-based multisensor instrument that includes a multiband dual-polarization radiometer, a GNSS reflectometer, and several optical sensors. Its main goals are twofold: to test data fusion techniques, and to develop Radio-Frequency Interference (RFI) detection, localization and mitigation techniques. The former is necessary to retrieve complementary data useful to develop geophysical models with improved accuracy, whereas the latter aims at solving one of the most important problems of microwave radiometry. This paper describes the hardware design, the instrument control architecture, the calibration of the radiometer, and several captures of RFI signals taken with MERITXELL in urban environment. The multiband radiometer has a dual linear polarization total-power radiometer topology, and it covers the L-, S-, C-, X-, K-, Ka-, and W-band. Its back-end stage is based on a spectrum analyzer structure which allows to perform real-time signal processing, while the rest of the sensors are controlled by a host computer where the off-line processing takes place. The calibration of the radiometer is performed using the hot-cold load procedure, together with the tipping curves technique in the case of the five upper frequency bands. Finally, some captures of RFI signals are shown for most of the radiometric bands under analysis, which evidence the problem of RFI in microwave radiometry, and the limitations they impose in external calibration.

Keywords: data fusion; microwave radiometry; multiband radiometer; radio-frequency interference.