Measurement and validation of rainstorm parameters with the VPI radar

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University


This paper presents a broad overview of the equipment and rational of the experiment conducted by the VPI Satellite Communications Group under INTELSAT Contract 433. The object of this experiment is to assess the validity of meteorological radar as a predictor of satellite earth-space path fade statistics.

To validate the data collected by the VPI radar for this experiment, the differential reflectivity (ZDR) measured during the November 29-30, 1985 rainstorm is compared with calculated ZDR and ZDR from published plots.

The special hardware and calibration techniques required for this experiment are also described. An IBM-PC controlled antenna pointing system and a system to continuously monitor both the peak and average power of the radar transmitter are included. Also included is a calibration system for the radar receiver. A simple computer program is developed which will give the radar cross section of a metal sphere. This sphere is used as a calibrated radar target.