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Building a Radar for the Ham Bands

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KK5JY, Jan 12, 2018.

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  1. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    In the US, radio amateurs have access to literally hundreds of MHz of microwave frequencies, across several bands. One of the common uses of micro-wavelengths is radar systems that can detect objects at a distance.

    If you had a reason to build a radar for your own private use, which of the amateur bands would you choose, and why?

    For reference, here's a link to a chart which at least lists the microwave bands allocated to amateurs in the US:

    There are different kinds and uses for radars, so feel free to give more than one answer. E.g., a vehicle radar to detect proximity to other vehicles might use one band, while a radar to detect aircraft flying in the skies overhead might use another.

    Building a radar is probably not the first thing hams think about using their privileges for, but it does seem like it should be a valid use of our allocations. After all, radar technology is a very active field, and building a "ham radar" would seem to be a neat learning experience.

    I know many of you have professional experience with radar equipment of all kinds, so I'm hoping some of you might enjoy sharing some insight from your experiences.
  2. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Volunteer Moderator Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    40 meters and aimed at Russia :rolleyes:


    [One of the Hams Who Remembers the Woodpecker]
    N7ANN, G3ZBP, K4PIH and 14 others like this.
  3. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I am not sure if it'd be allowable under Part 97, which limits one-way transmissions to a few specific types.

    Unless it could be considered to be a "beacon station" ?
  4. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wondered about that, but in addition to your idea of operating under beacon rules (97.203(g)), it could also work under these:

    97.3(a)(46) Telemetry. A one-way transmission of measurements at a distance from the measuring instrument.

    97.111(b): In addition to one-way transmissions specifically authorized elsewhere in this part, an amateur station may transmit the following types of one-way communications:
    ...(7) Transmissions of telemetry.​

    It might be a small stretch, but not an unreasonable one. And assuming that it could be permissible under the rules, this seemed like a fun and novel project to discuss. :cool:
  5. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Maybe. Suppose we just assume it's OK under the rules one way or another.

    What could an amateur use "amateur radar" for ?
  6. W7UUU

    W7UUU QRZ Lifetime Member #133 Volunteer Moderator Life Member Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Finding donuts? :rolleyes::D

    K9ASE, KA2CZU, AC8UN and 1 other person like this.
  7. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I can do that instinctively. No need for electronics.
    KD8DEY and W7UUU like this.
  8. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's what I was hoping we could do, at least for the purposes of the thread. :)
    Learning about radar, for one. After all, our service is a training service, among other things. Tinkering with radars on the ham bands is certainly harmless, since it won't interfere with other radar services, many of which are safety-related.

    After that, the sky is the limit, at least as far as I am concerned. ;)
  9. WE4E

    WE4E Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    W7UUU likes this.
  10. N0TZU

    N0TZU Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I don't see why it can't be considered a beacon, properly ID'd of course. There's no regulation restricting scanning or rotating the antenna beam around (mechanically or electronically). The ERP and RF safety would need to be considered.
    KK5JY likes this.

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