A low-cost mechanically-steered weather radar concept
Due to the Earth curvature, current operational networks of long-range weather radars are inherently unable to cover about 70% of the lower troposphere. Dense networks of inexpensive short-range units could notably improve the awareness and timely reaction to important weather events. A concept for a weather network node featuring mechanical rotation in azimuth and frequency steering in elevation is proposed, merging traditional approaches and technology advancements to fulfill present-day requirements within low-cost constraints. Achieving optimal cross-polarization drives the choice of a mechanically steered aperture. Integrated front-end chipsets support distributed power generation as close as possible to the antenna. Receiver over-elevation removes the need for a rotary joint, if sufficient processing power is available on-board.