Dual-Polarization Observations of Slowly Varying Solar Emissions from a Mobile X-Band Radar

Sensors (Basel). 2017 May 22;17(5):1185. doi: 10.3390/s17051185.


The radio noise that comes from the Sun has been reported in literature as a reference signal to check the quality of dual-polarization weather radar receivers for the S-band and C-band. In most cases, the focus was on relative calibration: horizontal and vertical polarizations were evaluated versus the reference signal mainly in terms of standard deviation of the difference. This means that the investigated radar receivers were able to reproduce the slowly varying component of the microwave signal emitted by the Sun. A novel method, aimed at the absolute calibration of dual-polarization receivers, has recently been presented and applied for the C-band. This method requires the antenna beam axis to be pointed towards the center of the Sun for less than a minute. Standard deviations of the difference as low as 0.1 dB have been found for the Swiss radars. As far as the absolute calibration is concerned, the average differences were of the order of -0.6 dB (after noise subtraction). The method has been implemented on a mobile, X-band radar, and this paper presents the successful results that were obtained during the 2016 field campaign in Payerne (Switzerland). Despite a relatively poor Sun-to-Noise ratio, the "small" (~0.4 dB) amplitude of the slowly varying emission was captured and reproduced; the standard deviation of the difference between the radar and the reference was ~0.2 dB. The absolute calibration of the vertical and horizontal receivers was satisfactory. After the noise subtraction and atmospheric correction a, the mean difference was close to 0 dB.

Keywords: absolute calibration; antenna gain (with radome); dual-polarization; meteorological radar receiver; slowly varying component of the solar emission at 3.2 cm; solar radio noise.