Home > MSc Dissertation: Sebastiaan Heunis

MSc Dissertation: Sebastiaan Heunis


Heunis, Francois Sebastiaan. Passive Coherent Location Radar using Software-Defined Radio techniques. MSc Dissertation. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 2010.


Passive Coherent Location radar is a technology that allows fully functional radar systems to be constructed without the need for a dedicated transmitter. These radar systems operate by utilising existing transmitters already present within the environment. This significantly reduces system costs, as well as complexity. This also means that PCL radar sites are passive and immune to jamming. Furthermore, PCL radar systems are able to operate within portions of the radiofrequency and microwave spectra that have previously been unavailable to radar. The amount of different transmitters and waveforms that are present in the environment is increasing all the time. This, along with the availability of low-cost, high-dynamic range analogue-to-digital converters, as well as desktop computers with powerful processing capabilities, has led to a large amount of published work appearing in the open literature during the last decade.

This dissertation details the design and implementation of a PCL radar system that utilises FM radio transmitters. For this purpose, the Universal Software Radio Peripheral and the opensource GNURadio Software-defined Radio Toolkit is used. It is shown that the PCL radar system has the ability to detect commercial passenger aircraft.