Home > MSc Dissertation: Gordon Farquharson

MSc Dissertation: Gordon Farquharson


Farquharson, Gordon. Design and Implementation of a 200 to 1600 MHz, Stepped Frequency, Ground Penetrating Radar Transceiver. MSc Dissertation. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 1999.


This thesis project deals with the design and construction of a 200 to 1600MHz, stepped frequency, ground penetrating radar transceiver. This dissertation describes the system specifications of the radar, the design procedure used, the implementation of the radar transceiver, and measurements made to determine the performance of the transceiver.

The dissertation briefly outlines the current state of ground penetrating radar technology. The system specifications of the transceiver are then developed and these are used to design the radar transceiver. The design considers various transceiver architectures, the synthesizer implementation using phase locked loops, and modification to the architecture for system phase coherence. The implementation of each of the transceiver modules is described showing specifications and specific designs for each. Laboratory measurements are made to measure the performance parameters of the transceiver and these are compared with the system specifications. The dissertation concludes with a summary of the work presented, a discussion on the performance of the radar with respect to the design and recommendations for the transceiver use and for future improvements.

The major results and conclusions of the thesis are that a stepped frequency, ground penetrating radar transceiver module was designed and constructed and found to operate with the radar but that there was an insufficient accuracy in phase noise measurements to characterise the causes for the transceiver limitations completely. There were also unexplained spurious harmonics close to the carrier signal at high frequencies. Despite these limitations, most of the system specifications were achieved with the exception of the dynamic range and synthesizer phase noise and the transceiver dynamic range performance can be improved by limiting the frequency band to less than 800MHz. It was recommended that accurate measurements of the phase noise be made and that the IF harmonic levels be investigated to ensure that they do not significantly affect the radar data. It was also stated that the radar be used over a reduced bandwidth to improve the dynamic range.