New Pulse Analysis Techniques for Radar and EW

Pulsed signals are widespread in radar and other EW applications, and they must be accurately measured for manufacturing, design of countermeasures, and threat assessment. However pulse measurements are an especially challenging area for signal analysis due to a combination of factors.

  • Wide pulse bandwidth
  • Complex signal environments containing pulses from a number of different sources, often with dramatically different characteristics such as bandwidth, repetition rate and modulation type
  • Pulse environments with wide dynamic range in the pulses to be analyzed or created
  • Pulses with complex modulation that must be demodulated and decoded or measured
  • Pulses that are difficult to detect due to very low duty cycle, intermixing with other signals, and low apparent power level at the analysis point

Fortunately many of the improving signal processing and analog-digital conversion technologies behind the generation of complex pulse environments also enable new techniques for effective pulse analysis. This application note will discuss the best tools for different types of pulse analysis, along with display and analysis techniques for various signals and measurement goals. This note will also cover key signal acquisition and processing technologies such as IF and frequency mask triggering, signal capture, and post-processing.

The analysis described here is part of a comprehensive pulsed radar analysis application, Option BHQ for the 89600 VSA software. With this option, the VSA software provides a broad set of analysis tools and statistical reports of pulse characteristics, operating on both RF/microwave signal analyzer and oscilloscope platforms.