Software Defined Radar basics | What is Software Defined Radar

This page defines Software Defined Radar basics.It mentions block diagram of Software Defined Radar and explains various modules of software defined radar. The benefits or advantages of software defined radar architecture are also mentioned.

Radar: The term RADAR stands for RAdio Detection And Ranging. It is mainly used to detect object's location and direction along with its velocity.

Software defined radar: The radar whose internal modules are software configurable is known as software defined radar. The same has been described below. It follows software defined radio architecture.

Software defined radar block diagram

Software Defined Radar Block Diagram

The figure-1 depicts software defined radar block diagram. As shown it consists of following modules.

1. RF/Microwave section: It consists of signal conditioning modules, up converters and down converters, Local oscillators and Active Phased Array Antenna.
• Signal conditioning modules: They are multiple channels which performs operation on analog signal.
• Up converters: They are DUCs i.e. Digital Up Converters.
• Down converters: They are DDCs i.e. Digital Down Converters. Refer DUC vs DDC for complete description on DUC and DDC modules.
• Local Oscillators: They are highly stable Local Oscillators. They are used to provide very tight synchronization among DUCs, DDCs, DACs and ADCs.
• Active Phased Array Antenna: This antenna array takes care of multiple radio signal transmission and reception.

2. IF/Baseband Section: It consists of high sample ADCs and DACs. The ADCs/DACs support wide input signal bandwidth. High sample rate ADCs/DACs can be used for direct sampling transmitter and direct sampling receiver designs.
• ADCs: It performs analog to digital conversion. It processes down converted received data. The data output of ADC is given to processor for further processing.
• DACs: It performs digital to analog conversion. It processes radar data to be transmitted and provides input to up converters.

3. Radar processor and data storage modules.
• Radar processor: The complex signal processing algorithms are developed and ported on processor used in software defined radar.
• data storage modules take care of providing storage of results as per user requirements.

Advantages of Software defined radar architecture

Following are the advantages of Software defined radar architecture.
➨The software configured modules allow engineers to quickly prototype and test/validate advanced radar systems of choice with common set of available hardware.
➨It benefits from large availability of Software defined radio modules. Hence this will save great amount of time and money due to ease in integration of ready modules.
➨It helps in analyzing radio signals with very wide signal bandwidth.


Refer following radar tutorial links which covers radar measurements, doppler radar, FMCW radar, radar bands, radar scope, weather radar, radar range and resolution, ground radar etc.
Radar Measurements   Doppler Radar   FMCW RADAR   RADAR BANDs   RADAR SCOPE   Weather Radar   Ground Penetrating Radar System  RADAR RANGE and RESOLUTION 

Radar calculators

Following are useful radar calculators to calculate radar range, radar PRF, radar resolution etc.
Radar Range calculator   Radar PRF vs Range   Radar Range Resolution 

RF and Wireless Terminologies