Probabilistic analysis of ambiguities in radar echo direction of arrival from meteors

Kastinen, Daniel; Kero, Johan

Meteors and hard targets produce coherent radar echoes. If measured with an interferometric radar system, these echoes can be used to determine the position of the target through finding the direction of arrival (DOA) of the incoming echo onto the radar. Depending on the spatial configuration of radar-receiving antennas and their individual gain patterns, there may be an ambiguity problem when determining the DOA of an echo. Radars that are theoretically ambiguity-free are known to still have ambiguities that depend on the total radar signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). In this study, we investigate robust methods which are easy to implement to determine the effect of ambiguities on any hard target DOA determination by interferometric radar systems. We apply these methods specifically to simulate four different radar systems measuring meteor head and trail echoes, using the multiple signal classification (MUSIC) DOA determination algorithm. The four radar systems are the Middle And Upper Atmosphere (MU) radar in Japan, a generic Jones inline-formula2.5λ specular meteor trail radar configuration, the Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY) radar in Norway and the Program of the Antarctic Syowa Mesosphere Stratosphere Troposphere Incoherent Scatter (PANSY) radar in the Antarctic. We also examined a slightly perturbed Jones inline-formula2.5λ configuration used as a meteor trail echo receiver for the PANSY radar. All the results are derived from simulations, and their purpose is to grant understanding of the behaviour of DOA determination. General results are as follows: there may be a region of SNRs where ambiguities are relevant; Monte Carlo simulation determines this region and if it exists; the MUSIC function peak value is directly correlated with the ambiguous region; a Bayesian method is presented that may be able to analyse echoes from this region; the DOA of echoes with SNRs larger than this region are perfectly determined; the DOA of echoes with SNRs smaller than this region completely fail to be determined; the location of this region is shifted based on the total SNR versus the channel SNR in the direction of the target; and asymmetric subgroups can cause ambiguities, even for ambiguity-free radars. For a DOA located at the zenith, the end of the ambiguous region is located at 17 dB SNR for the MU radar and 3 dB SNR for the PANSY radar. The Jones radars are usually used to measure specular trail echoes far from zenith. The ambiguous region for a DOA at 75.5inline-formula elevation and 0inline-formula azimuth ends at 12 dB SNR. Using the Bayesian method, it may be possible to analyse echoes down to 4 dB SNR for the Jones configuration when given enough data points from the same target. The PANSY meteor trail echo receiver did not deviate significantly from the generic Jones configuration. The MAARSY radar could not resolve arbitrary DOAs sufficiently well enough to determine a stable region. However, if the DOA search is restricted to 70inline-formula elevation or above by assumption, stable DOA determination occurs above 15 dB SNR.



Kastinen, Daniel / Kero, Johan: Probabilistic analysis of ambiguities in radar echo direction of arrival from meteors. 2020. Copernicus Publications.


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