February 2006 | NTIA Technical Report TR-06-444

Effects of RF Interference on Radar Receivers

Frank H. Sanders; Robert L. Sole; Brent L. Bedford; David Franc; Timothy Pawlowitz

Abstract: This report describes the results of interference tests and measurements that have been performed on radar receivers that have various missions in several spectrum bands. Radar target losses have been measured under controlled conditions in the presence of radio frequency (RF) interference. Radar types that have been examined include short range and long range air traffic control; weather surveillance; and maritime navigation and surface search. Radar receivers experience loss of desired targets when interference from high duty cycle (more than about 1–3%) communication-type signals is as low as -10 dB to -6 dB relative to radar receiver inherent noise levels. Conversely, radars perform robustly in the presence of low duty cycle (less than 1–3%) signals such as those emitted by other radars. Target losses at low levels are insidious because they do not cause overt indications such as strobes on displays. Therefore operators are usually unaware that they are losing targets due to low-level interference. Interference can cause the loss of targets at any range. Low interference thresholds for communication-type signals, insidious behavior of target losses, and potential loss of targets at any range all combine to make low-level interference to radar receivers a very serious problem.

Keywords: radar interference; RF interference; radar interference vulnerability; radar performance degradation; radar target loss; radar target detection; UWB interference effects

For technical information concerning this report, contact:

Frank H. Sanders
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-7600

To request a reprint of this report, contact:

Lilli Segre, Publications Officer
Institute for Telecommunication Sciences
(303) 497-3572

Disclaimer: Certain commercial equipment, components, and software may be identified in this report to specify adequately the technical aspects of the reported results. In no case does such identification imply recommendation or endorsement by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, nor does it imply that the equipment or software identified is necessarily the best available for the particular application or uses.

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