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HF radars: Physical limitations and recent developments


K.-W. GURGEL, H.-H. ESSEN and S. P. KINGSLEY
Coastal Engineering, VOL 37, NOS. 3-4, pp. 201...218,
ISSN 0378-3839, August 1999.
Abstract - - High-frequency (HF) radars based on ground-wave propagation are used for remotely sensing ocean surface currents and gravity waves. For some 20 years a number of sytems have been developed taking advantage of improved electronics and computer techniques. However, the performance of these systems are limited by physical constraints, which are due to HF wave propagation and scattering as well as to the technical design of the measuring system. Attenuation of the HF ground-wave is strongly dependent on the radio frequency and sea-water conductivity. Experimental data confirm the predicted decrease of propagation range with decreasing conductivity. HF radar systems use different methods of spatial resolution both in range and azimuth. Range resolution by means of short pulses and frequency-modulated chirps is compared, as well as azimuthal resolution by means of beam forming and direction finding (phase comparison). The emphasis is placed on recent developments.
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