Upcoming course: Introduction to Radar (2014)

2 Feb 2014 - 11:45

The first week of February (3 to 7 February 2014) marks the start of the second course of 2014: An Introduction to Radar, presented by Prof Douglas Gray, who is visiting us from the University of Adelaide in South Australia.

Course code: EEE5119Z

Overall Aims of Course

The principal aim of this course is to introduce students to the fundamental principles underlying radar systems and to enable them to understand and apply these principles to generic radar systems. The subject is specifically structured around these aims.

On successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • describe the main principles underlying radar systems.
  • understand the role of each component of a radar system.
  • use the radar equation to describe the performance of radar systems.
  • understand how target and environmental characteristics affect the choice of system design parameters.
  • describe and assess the relative advantages of different types of radars.


Copies of slides used during the lecture will be placed on the course web page prior to lectures. A set of brief lecture notes summarizing main points can be found on the web but lectures may not follow these notes in strict order and students are encouraged to use appropriate reference books to follow up more detailed aspects of the course.

The main reference text is M.A. Richards, J.A.Scheer and W.A. Holm (Eds) Principles of Modern Radar –Basic Principles but the book G W Stimson Introduction to Airborne Radar is also an excellent introduction.

Tutorials are focused on the application of the theory covered in lectures to data and some examples using Matlab may be made available to students during the course.

Course Outline

The course covers the areas listed below:

  • Overview of Key Principles: Radar Components and Processing, Radar System Functions, Radar Types, Radar Applications
  • Radar Range Equation: Point target derivation, System Noise, SNR, System Losses
  • Radar Waveforms and Ambiguity Function: CW, Single Pulse, Pulse Doppler, Coherent vs incoherent, Range estimation and range ambiguities, Ghosts, Sensing Doppler frequencies – Doppler ambiguities, Pulse compression, FMCW, Phase coding, Other waveforms, eg. Passive radar, noise radar, ambiguity function definition and properties
  • Transmitters: Waveform generation, Power conversion, Mixers, Duplexors , RF devices – magnetrons, and travelling wavetubes, Synchronisation and Timing Issues
  • Antennas and Phased Arrays: Radiation patterns, Beamwidth, sidelobes and gain, Antennas,Phased arrays
  • Propagation, Scattering and Clutter: Propagation, Attenuation, Refraction, Diffraction, etc, Scattering, Radar cross-section, Target fluctuation, Clutter, Surface and Volume clutter, Ground clutter for airborne radar
  • Radar Receivers RF aspects: Preamplifiers, Down-conversion, Limiters, Noise Figures
  • Radar Signal Processing: Matched filters, Range processing, Doppler processing, Fourier transforms, Conventional phase shift beamforming, STAP
  • Detection and the Radar Equation: Detection Principles, Statistical Detection Theory, Pulse Envelope Detector, Radar Equation, Integration, CFAR
  • FMCW radars: Doppler effect, FMCW/Pulse compression, FMCW, Ambiguities
  • Parameter Estimation and Tracking Radars: Key basics of estimation theory, Range accuracy, Frequency estimation, Direction of arrival, Tracking radars – lobing and monopulse
  • Synthetic Aperture Radar: Cross-range resolution, Synthetic aperture and resolution, Azimuthal chirps, SAR image formation, MoComp.

Course Information


The course is presented in an intensive five-day format, which includes lectures and hands-on practical sessions.

Following the lectures, there will be a series of weekly tutorials/seminars organized by UCT. In preparation for these tutorials, students will be provided with a problem sheet or a short quiz and will be expected to submit their solutions electronically prior to the tutorial. These solutions will not be marked but credit will be given attempting and submitting solutions and for tutorial attendance and participation.

During the course, some additional exercises will be set – these are not for assessment but it will be useful if students try them to ensure proper mastery of the subject.

This will also be a 3 hour exam run by UCT.


Menzies Seminar Room, 6th floor, Menzies Building (Upper Campus), University of Cape Town

Date and Time

Daily lectures: 08:00 – 17h00
Monday 03 February 2014 – Friday 07 February 2014