Articles | Volume 10, issue 2
Research article
14 Feb 2017
Research article |  | 14 Feb 2017

VHF antenna pattern characterization by the observation of meteor head echoes

Toralf Renkwitz, Carsten Schult, and Ralph Latteck

Abstract. The Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY) with its active phased array antenna is designed and used for studies of phenomena in the mesosphere and lower atmosphere. The flexible beam forming and steering combined with a large aperture array allows for observations with a high temporal and angular resolution. For both the analysis of the radar data and the configuration of experiments, the actual radiation pattern needs to be known. For that purpose, various simulations as well as passive and active experiments have been conducted. Here, results of meteor head echo observations are presented, which allow us to derive detailed information of the actual radiation pattern for different beam-pointing positions and the current health status of the entire radar. For MAARSY, the described method offers robust beam pointing and width estimations for a minimum of a few days of observations.

Short summary
The knowledge of the actual radiation pattern is crucial for the analysis of radar echoes and is also an important indicator of the radar's health status. The method described here allows the radiation pattern to be characterized by observing meteor head echoes. In contrast to previous studies we generate angular occurrence maps of meteor trajectory points for periods of normal and limited radar functionality to derive the radiation pattern and compare them thorough simulation results.