Microwave Journal

2007 IEEE Radar Conference: The Place Where it All Began

The attendance was high at this year’s IEEE Radar Conference as engineers gathered at the Boston-area venue to learn from and interact with their peers.

May 9, 2007

The attendance was high at this year’s IEEE Radar Conference as engineers gathered at the Boston-area venue to learn from and interact with their peers.

The organizers, led by conference general Chairman, Dr. David L. Briggs dedicated the conference to showcasing recent innovations and achievements in radar systems and technology from research to radar construction. Tutorials on Tuesday and Friday morning provided the bookends to a program that included a Radar Systems plenary session on Tuesday afternoon followed by an extensive two days of technical sessions along with focus and poster sessions. Following the Plenary Session, a reception sponsored by the IEEE “Women in Engineering (WIE)” Society was held. The reception featured Keynote Speaker Professor Mildred Dresselhaus (Institute Professor and Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering at MIT).

Jack R. Kelble, recently retired vice president of Raytheon started the conference off with his keynote address followed by the Radar systems Plenary session, which featured eight well-known and distinguished speakers. Presenters from Army Research Labs, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, MIT Lincoln Labs, Science Applications International Corporation and the University of Massachusetts discussed topics ranging from ”US Army Radar Requirements for the 21st Century”, and “Next Generation Intelligent Radar” to “Haystack Ultra-wideband Satellite Imaging Radar” and “Short Wavelength Technology and the Potential for Distributed Networks of Small Radar Systems”. Technical Program Chairman, Dr. Eli Brookner gave an insightful and entertaining talk on “Phased-Array and Radar Breakthroughs” in which he discussed advances in the semiconductor devices being used in radar T/R modules, Metamaterials, Ultra wideband arrays and the impressive 24 story high Sea-based X-band (SBX) phased array radar.

Tutorials on Bi-static/Multi-static Radar by Professor Griffiths, Embedded Digital Processing for Radar by Drs. Martinez and Bond, Phased Array Radars and Radars--Amazing Breakthroughs and Future Trends by Dr. Brookner, and SAR Change Detection by Dr. Les Novak were given on Tuesday morning. Friday morning tutorials included: Space-Time Adaptive Processing (STAP) by Drs. Rabideau and Kogon, Radar Propagation Modeling by Dockery, Patterson, Brookner, Coherent Sources by Dr. Galani, and IBM Cell Broadband Engine Processor for Radar by Christensen and Lundgren.

There were 13 technical sessions, all chaired by renowned radar engineers and featuring a large number of invited papers. The sessions included: 1:

  1. "s1" Radar Systems and System Issues,
  2. "s2" Waveforms,
  3. "s3" Mechanical Engineering & Tracking,
  4. "s4" Signal Processing, Detection and Estimation,
  5. "s5" OTH & Special Radars,
  6. "s6" Phased Arrays and Antennas,
  7. "s7" Adaptive Processing,
  8. "s8" Emerging Technologies,
  9. "s9" SAR,
  10. "s10" Signal & Data Processing,
  11. "s11" Radar Coverage, Propagation,
  12. "s12" Transmit & Receive Modules (this session also featured a panel discussion),
  13. "s13" Electronic Devices. On Wednesday, 28 papers submitted by students competed for a best paper award.

Apart from the actual conference, two tours were scheduled for Friday morning: one to the MIT Lincoln Laboratory Haystack Radar and the other to the Raytheon Integrated Air Defense Center. With the conference starting on Tuesday, attendees were also able to enjoy some of the excitement of the Monday’s Patriot Day holiday in Massachusetts including the Patriots Day reenactment of the 1775 birth of the nation (Paul Revere’s ride, Battle on the Lexington Green, Battle at North Bridge in Concord) as well as the running of the Boston Marathon. Note - this year’s race drama and Patriots Day reenactment included a Nor’easter spring storm that brought high winds and lots of rain to the area in the hours preceding the events.

The conference also featured System and component manufacturers as well as simulation software vendors and measurement equipment providers exhibiting products related to radar system and component design, test and manufacturing.

At this year’ conference, TEK Microsystems, Inc. of Chelmsford MA announced the new Tarvos VXS, the first VXS product to combine six channels of 16-bit, 160 MSPS (mega samples per second) ADC (analog to digital conversion) with FPGA based DSP processing technology in a single slot along with a single DAC (digital to analog conversion) output channel. Tarvos VXS provides a high density processing solution for engineers developing advanced signal generation solutions in applications such as radar, electronic warfare and mobile communications.

Picosecond Pulse Labs was present and talking about their wide-band signaling technology and real-time sampler modules for use as downconverters in the digital receivers commonly found in radar front-ends. The Picosecond Pulse Labs' 7600 series Down Conversion Sampling Modules leverage proprietary technology to enable exceptional linearity performance over a broad RF bandwidth at sampling rates of up to 2 GSamples/s while greatly simplifying the architecture of digital receivers.

Representatives from Valpey Fisher showcased their high frequency, low phase noise precision timing devices including complete timing modules, commercial oscillators, Hi-Rel/COTS oscillators, and VCOs for use in optical networking, wireless infrastructure, test and measurement, and avionics.

FEI-Zyfer, a leader in spacecraft clocks and GPS-aided precision time and frequency generation and synchronization products was on-hand to discuss features and application for their precision oscillator products, including Rubidium and Cesium Atomic oscillators, as well as a host of ground and space-borne RF products and power sources.

The Micro Coax booth featured an impressive display of standard and customized cable solutions. Cable technology is apparently still evolving as new materials and construction methods are being introduced in order to address the ever-present need to reduce the weight while maintaining the physical integrity of the signal-carrying interconnects found in airborne radar systems and other RF applications.

The importance of Electromagnetic simulation software in radar component design was evident with the presence of four major tool providers including Ansoft Corporation, CST of America, Flomerics and Zeland.

At the beginning of the week CST had announced new performance increases in their Microwave Studio product through sophisticated imports, code optimization and hardware acceleration. One principle benefit to engineers will be the ability to solve larger electrical problems such as those encountered specifically in radar applications.

Flomerics was demonstrating the new integration between their MicroStripes product and AWR’s Microwave Office. The new capability allows microwave designers using Microwave Office to incorporate full-wave 3D EM analysis from Flomerics directly within this popular design environment.

Between sessions, attendees mingled around the refreshments and exhibition space to discuss the presentations, talk with vendors, share past “war” stories and speculate on upcoming contracts. The Boston venue and it’s proximity to the vast number of companies and universities responsible for the early developments in radar systems certainly fit the “The Place where it all Began” theme. The location also seemed to play a role in attracting high attendance both locally and from afar. Next year the conference pays homage to the land of Marconi as the show travels across the pond to Rome, Italy. The Microwave Journal looks forward to seeing you there.