Radar Detection: A Research of the Science, History, and Uses

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  • Topic: Radar, Radio, Doppler effect
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Radar Detection
A Research of the Science, History, and Uses

Ever since Bryce K. Brown first invented the radar detection unit back in 1954 (Edgar, 2006, p. 53), the numerous uses of his technology has allowed for more than just police in speed traps to benefit from the technology. Police revenue from speed tickets that use the radar gun is in the billions of dollars. They can use this technology as an evidence product in court rooms, thus solidifying the speeders guilt. Yes, the police and court rooms should be thanking Mr. Brown for this invention, but this writer will also expose the other uses of this technology. The applications of the radar and the technology, helps many sports and record seekers gauge the speed and skill of many athletes in all sports. How fast does the pitcher in baseball or softball pitch? How fast do the fastest sprinters in the world run? With the radar detector, none of this knowledge would be known. This report delves into the technology of the radar, applications, science and history.

The use of Radar has been around since the 1950s. Radar stands for Radio Detection and Ranging and was first developed for military purposes. The word Detection stands for finding an object or target by sending out a radio signal. Merriam Webster defines radar as “a device or system consisting usually of a synchronized radio transmitter and receiver that emits radio waves and processes their reflections for display and is used especially for detecting and locating objects (as aircraft) or surface features (as of a planet). (Merriam Webster, 2012) The word Ranging means measuring the distance to the target from the radar device. In this paper this writer will explain how Radar works, the Science of Radar, the History of Radar and the different uses of Radar, specifically Radar Detectors.

Radar is when a signal is transmitted, then bounces off an object and later received by some type of receiver. Radar can see hundreds of miles even through fog, rain, snow, clouds, and darkness. It is similar to what happens when sound echo’s off a wall except instead of sound, Radar uses electromagnetic waves. Two types of electromagnetic waves are radio waves and microwaves. (Bureau of Meteorology, 2012) Radio waves have wavelengths that are 10 cm and greater. Microwaves have wavelengths that range from 10 cm to 1/10 mm. (Bureau of Meteorology, 2012) When the radar receives the signal, it lets you know the time taken for it to be received, the strength of the signal and the change in frequency. The use of this data would be an image, a position or the speed of your car. Radars have four main components: a transmitter that creates the energy pulse, a transmit/receive switch that tells the antenna when to transmit and when to receive the pulses, an antenna to send the pulses into the atmosphere and receive the reflected pulse back and a receiver that detects, amplifies and transforms the received signals into a video. (Institute of Geophysics, 2004) Radar output comes in two forms: reflectivity and velocity. Reflectivity measures how much exist in an area. German Heinrich Hertz discovered the behavior of radio waves in 1887. He showed that the invisible electromagnetic waves radiated by electrical circuits travel with the speed of light and reflected in a similar way. This is why data received from radar is called reflectivity. (Institute of Geophysics, 2004) Velocity measures the speed and direction. You need a Doppler radar to measure velocity. In 1842, Austrian physicist Christian Doppler discovered what is now called the Doppler Effect. This theory is that sound waves will change in pitch when there is a shift in the frequency. (Institute of Geophysics, 2004)

Radar was further developed during World War II and the technology was released to the public after World War II. Radar is used all around us but is mostly invisible. Radar is used to detect an object at a...
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