A Wide Dynamic Range Radar Digitizer

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  • Author: Ed Crean & Paul Hiller
Receiver processing that has been performed in the analog and radio frequency (RF) domains is performed digitally now, with improved performance (near ideal filters and associated signal processing functions) as well as the flexibility to dynamically configure the channel characteristics (i.e., modulation and matched filter response). However, converting from the analog to digital domain introduces errors which limit overall system performance. One of the most important limitations is dynamic range, which is the range of signal amplitudes that can be captured by an ADC. This defines the minimum detectable signal in the presence of a larger, interfering signal. This is set both by the number of bits and the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR). This article describes the use of a high speed, 16-bit ADC for weather radar signal capture.