AquariusRadar Pencil Beam Radars
The FPQ-6 class of instrumentation radar and similar DOD radars destined for retirement are the best candidates for the AquariusRadar job. Many have operated for over forty years and are being replaced by more modern radars ; for example, the FPQ-6 derivative at Cape Canaveral will be replaced by an larger and more powerful radar for space track; similar radars at the DoD Pacific tracking sites are being replaced by the more modern equipment. Luckily, in most cases, the retiring radars are being preserved and mothballed in an operational condition. The high transmitter power and narrow beam of the FPQ-6 class result in the high ERP (Effective Radiated Power) required for the AquariusRadar task. Both the Wallops Island, Va. and the Patrick AFB, Fl. radars have Nexrad coverage of thier offshore test areas and are potential in-situ test sites for the AcquariusRadar. For the West Coast tests, the FPQ-6 at Pillar Point Half Moon Bay is available for bona fide stakeholders in California State research projects. Courtesy Don Hammond; Herb Harris RCA Services Corp.
Hydrology Concept
Snowpack Enhancement An earlier and smaller relative of the FPQ-6 family of radars is the FPS-16 class of instrumentation radars. With only slightly less ERP( there are a few "super 16s" that have an ERP equal to the FPQ-6) the FPS-16 class radar makes an excellent choice for multiple fixed sites for stormwater abatement in large cities because of the greater numbers in the DoD inventory. The hail suppression task may require the totally mobile MPS-36 which is widely available. Capable of quick setup in remote mountanous areas, the MPS-36 would be invaluable in the snowpack enhancement role. In each case the radar must be connected by hi-speed modem or internet for immediate updates of storm systems. AquariusRadar is dependent on the NexRad in order to find the correct storm cell on which to operate. The modern software familiar to TV weather watchers utilizes the WSR88 data to create accurate prediction of individual cell movement, both speed and direction. Once the AquariusRadar operator has located the required cell using NexRad data displays, the AcquariusRadar simple A-scope display is used to maintain focus and "track" on the critical base of the moving storm cell. Timing is critical...only developing cells within the area of interest can be targeted by the AquariusRadar microwave beam. Similar test radars are available at Wallops Island, Va.(NASA) and Patrick AFB,Fl.(DoD). Both sites have NexRad coverage of off-shore control and target areas located to the northeast.<
Stormwater Abatement
Hail Suppression Pictured above is a FPQ-6 derivative at a Pacific DoD installation. Some of the high precision equipment used on this radar could be replaced by less accurate and less sensitive equipment thus reducing maintenance costs in the AquarisRadar role. The radars are equipped with older mainframe type computers. Making them readily linkable to the NexRad system for display and control purposes with modern desktop computers or PCs would further reduce maintenance costs. The most important feature of these radars is the very narrow and highly concentrated beam of microwave energy. These radars utilize a frequency of 5.6 Ghz. Other frequencies are optimal for heating water, but limit the range of radar because the microwave power is soon absorbed by clouds within a few thousand feet of entry and only heat the near perimeter of the cloud. The 5.6 Ghz allows penetration of distant clouds, heating of the central core and far edge of the cloud, and enough return energy for the proper guidance of the radar beam.
Southern California Operations
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