Artificial Beam Sharpening Technique for Radar Beacon Systems

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1 May 1966

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A method of improving angular discrimination artificially in radar beacon systems, without going to extremely high frequencies of operation or using unreasonably large interrogator antennas, involves the use of a null-type antenna pattern superposed on a normal directional beam. The effective are over which replies are obtained is determined by an amplitude discriminator circuit within the beacon which compares the amplitude of the pulse signals received on the null pattern with those received via the directional beam. Only if the latter exceed the former by a predetermined amount does the beacon produce a reply. The method, which has been tried experimentally and its theory verified, produces an increase in traffic handling capacity, as well as improved angular resolution, by reducing unwanted triggering and, hence, clutter on the display and the over-interrogation of transponder beacons. An antenna is described which eliminates triggering on sidelobes by providing the proper current distribution to the radiating elements to cause the null pattern to cover the sidelobes of the normal beam. Triple-pulse amplitude discriminators have been built and tested in a double-pulse interrogation system. Some theoretical considerations and design curves and equations for use in designing nulltype antennas are given in the Appendix.