Saturday, July 28, 2012

An Amazing Real-Time Implementation of the Coffee Can Radar: Ranging with Cantenna Radar

Dear Dr. Charvat,

My name is Mihai Albu. I used to work at the Haystack Observatory as an undergraduate and I saw your wednesday lunch talk about wall penetrating radar. I'm currently a graduate student at Umass Lowell and I'm working at one of their compact radar ranges. Long story short, I stumbled on your cantenna OCW site one night while perusing the Make magazine site to look for ideas for a new spare time project and I built a 3.4GHz variation of your design. (I had a spare VCO from a previous project and I didn't want to spend a lot). I've attached a picture of it. Initially, I used your matlab scripts for imaging but I also wrote a real-time processing program in Matlab using the Data Aquisition Toolbox. Here is a link of it in action . I keep going back and tweaking the design in my free time; my next step(s) will be to replace the current ramp generator with an ADC and integrator to get a smoother ramp and also to redesign the antennas to get a narrower beamwidth. (The current antennas are asparagus cans with a simulated HPBW of 72 degrees which is similar to the values you got with the coffee can antenna). I wanted to thank you for posting this project; it has been a key foothold for a number of important concepts and so much fun that it almost feels like cheating.

Mihai Albu

Nice Work Mihai!!