SRI International, the organisation behind the Advanced Modular Incoherent Scatter Radar (AMISR), brought an example of the smallest unit with them to Banff, Canada, to show it to the participants of the ISR Summer School.
The photo on the left shows an Antenna Element Unit, or AEU. The AEU is a little radar in itself, since it is both a transmitter and receiver. Breaking a high-power radar such as an incoherent scatter radar into many, many small units like this has the advantage that every unit runs at relatively low power, which is easier to construct.
A typical AMISR deployment, like PFISR at Poker Flat or the RISRs at Resolute Bay, have 4096 AEUs. These are arranged in smaller units such that 32 AEUs make up a panel, 8 panels make up a group, and finally 16 groups are called a face, which is a complete deployment. However, depending on purpose and funding, the radars can be made much larger (i.e. more power and resolution) and/or panels can be arranged in a different way in order to achieve a specific spatial resolution pattern.
Tomorrow, the ISR Summer School will go on an excursion in order to get out of the conference centre for a while, and the blog will be updated only afterwards.
Photo: Thomas Ulich.