A Technique for Magnetron Oscillator Based Inverse Synthetic Aperture Radar Image Formation

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Engineering


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Advisor: Michael C. Wicks


Magnetron oscillator based marine radar technology is mature, affordable, reliable, and very effective for maritime safety applications. Commercial systems such as the Furuno DRS25A may be procured at a modest cost as compared to fully coherent solid-state systems costing many tens of thousands of dollars. Magnetron oscillators inherently generate random phase signals. Phase instability on a pulse-to-pulse basis impedes this class of marine radar from success in applications requiring coherency such as moving target indication (MTI) or in generating target imagery. This limitation may be overcome by incorporating radio frequency (RF) sampling technology to augment the current capability of available systems. RF sampling in order to extract a reference signal on transmit and a target echo on receive permits fully coherent processing. Marine radars traditionally operate non-coherently, and as such, offer limited surveillance in clutter rich environments. In this article, we report on a non-coherent marine radar that has been modified to produce a pseudo-coherent (coherent-on-receive) sensor system. This is crucial to MTI or target image formation. In laboratory experiments, we employed a magnetron oscillator based system to generate an inverse synthetic aperture radar (ISAR) image. Using four different algorithms: filtered back-projection (FBP), time domain and frequency domain back-projection (TDBP and FDBP), and the Algebraic reconstruction technique (ART), images have been formed and results compared.


Electrical Engineering, Engineering, radar imaging, pseudo coherent, marine radar, filtered back projection, Algebraic reconstruction technique, time domain back projection, frequency domain back projection, ISAR, experiment

Rights Statement

Copyright 2019, author