Alan Jones grew up in Cape Town, and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Cape Town.
From 2011 to 2014, he attended various modules of the MEng (Radar and Electronic Defence) at UCT, graduating in 2014.
His supervisor was Prof Mike Inggs, and the topic of his thesis was “Implementation of a Pulsed Radar System on Open Source Software and Hardware”.
He is currently working for Eskom at Koeberg Nuclear Power Station, as a System Engineer.
Click on the photo to read an interview with him, which is part of the ‘Meet our Alumni‘ series.
Jones, Alan John. Implementation of a Pulsed Radar System on Open Source Software and Hardware. MEng (specialising in Radar and Electronic Defence) Dissertation. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 2014.
This project has looked at the possibility of implementing the low-end signal processing needed for a pulsed radar system on the Universal Software Radio Peripheral 2 (USRP2) board. This board is an FPGA data capture board developed by Ettus Research for use with the GNU Radio project. The normal application of this board is in the field of telecommunication, but it was believed that it could be used for radar applications with minimal alterations to the source code. The board was originally designed to stream data through itself, do some low-level signal processing, and then transmit. The original goal for this project was to implement a variable signal storage system as well as a Matched Filter for that signal.
Three main alterations were attempted. The first was the variable signal storage system. This design called for the system to receive and store the signal that was to be transmitted. It was also required to transmit the signal at the given pulse rate. This design did not work; it would not transmit any signals at all. It was not possible to determine if it was a problem with the storage module or something else. Therefore, the design of the storage module was changed to one where a hard-coded signal was stored, and it was found that, if it was installed connected straight to the DAC, then the board would broadcast signals, but if it was not, then the board would not broadcast any signals. The final change that was attempted was a Matched Filter implementation; this also caused no signals to be sent back to the computer, but the TX chain did still transmit.
From these tests, it became clear that the source code for the USRP2 was very sensitive to alterations, which makes it impractical to work with. To be able to use this board for radar applications, the board’s code would have to be completely rewritten and, rather than doing this, it would be more practical to use a board that has a larger amount of processing resources, something such as the Rhino board.