SDR Is At the Heart of This Soup-Can Doppler Radar Set

Want to explore the world of radar but feel daunted by the mysteries of radio frequency electronics? Be daunted no more and abstract the RF complexities away with this tutorial on software-defined radar.

Taking inspiration from our own [Gregory L. Charvat], whose many radar projects have graced our pages before, [Luigi Freitas]’ plunge into radar is spare on the budgetary side but rich in learning opportunities. The front end of the radar set is almost entirely contained in a LimeSDR Mini, a software-defined radio that can both transmit and receive. The only additional components are a pair of soup can antennas and a cheap LNA for the receive side. The rest of the system runs on GNU Radio Companion running on a Raspberry Pi; the whole thing is powered by a USB battery pack and lives in a plastic tote. [Luigi] has the radar set up for the 2.4-GHz ISM band, and the video below shows it being calibrated with vehicles passing by at known speeds.

True, the LimeSDR isn’t exactly cheap, but it does a lot for the price and lowers a major barrier to getting into the radar field. And [Luigi] did a great job of documenting his work and making his code available, which will help too.

4 thoughts on “SDR Is At the Heart of This Soup-Can Doppler Radar Set

  1. Low cost preamps are available for S-band receive LNAs.
    If you can obtain them, the MGF1302should operate well into this band, with a low Nf, and decent gain.
    Being a single gate device, means a simply supply voltage, but no active bias on the gate.

    1. Modern sub 2eur MMIC will do ubder 0.5dB NF on S-band thesedays.
      No need to attempt sourcing antique MGF1302’s. :)
      Skyworks and Mini-Circuits both have multiple suitable models and NXP has tons of low cost units meant for 2.4GHz wifi use.

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