X-Band linear rail SAR imaging

[Greg Charvat] really wanted high resolution X-Band linear rail SAR imaging system. He wanted it bad enough to scrounge through parts at HAM radio swap meets until he had the bits to build one himself. The unit is used to take high resolution radar imaging. For example, the image above is constructed of push pins behind a foam wall. The synthetic aperture radar system came in at roughly  $250. Not bad at all. You may have to dig through the links a bit to find the build information. Be sure to check out the hardware gallery and the schematics(pdf).

[via Makezine]


  1. CircuitMage says:

    “this radar is capable of approximately 1.4 inches of range resolution. ” puts down my treasure hunting hopes for now….oh well.

  2. Grandad says:

    Can it see through Bra’s?

  3. Elias says:

    I do have to say, god damn what a crappy scan: http://web.mit.edu/gr20603/www/website%20pdfs/240dollar_railsar_notes.pdf .

    Is someone supposed to be able to read that?

  4. BinarZero says:

    SAR and ISAR imaging require a lot of heavy processing, as for 1.4 inch range resolution you have to apply some pretty clever tricks to get it that low. RADAR is a pretty in depth field so kudos to the guy that built it.

  5. polymath says:

    So how long before we start seeing these things installed in luxury car bumpers?

  6. sarsface says:

    This is impressive, did anybody see on the site how fine the scanning resolution is? Not the penetration depth, but how small an object it would register. As soon as I began reading I thought of Snow Crash and the RadiKS Smartwheels.

  7. medix says:

    Forget car bumpers, what about handheld devices for locating avalanche victims before they suffocate? Near-realtime imaging would help greatly..

  8. madengr says:

    The magic of SAR is in the signal processing (software these days).

  9. strider_mt2k says:

    -or for finding Slaver stasis boxes hidden within planetary systems…

    Oh darnit that’s Neutrinos!
    Okay! Everybody back on the bus!

  10. fartface says:

    Hmm, all linux and Mac… Nice to see windows is not capable of doing the high end stuff like this.

    Too bad microsoft makes a toy OS compared to the rest.

  11. Gert says:

    @fartface: What does that have to do with SAR?! Keep your fanboyism out of this. You troll!

    Man this scanning looks complex.

  12. lwatcdr says:

    First thing I thought of was could you use Arecibo to do a SAR image of our moon? Or maybe even the ISS?

  13. kabukicho2001 says:

    The horn antenna may be replaced with a programable beam patch antenna to simplify the moving parts.

  14. greycode says:

    “I am able to understand radar, construct the hardware and provide an access point to a computer. for a high resolution radar system. Now gosh darn it, I wish I knew how to use a computer.”

    The Linux vs. Windows game is so tired, please go to a place that cares fartface.

  15. madengr says:

    “The horn antenna may be replaced with a programable beam patch antenna to simplify the moving parts.”

    No. The whole point of Synthetic Aperture Radar is to physically scan a small aperture along a track, effectively synthesizing a large aperture (narrow beam-width).

  16. polymath says:

    Could the movement along the track be replaced with several boxes in a row? Something akin to a linear phased array?

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