MSc Dissertation: Aadil Volkwin


Adobe-PDF-downloadVolkwin, Aadil. Suitability of a Commercial Software Defined Radio System for Passive Coherent Location. MSc Dissertation. Department of Electrical Engineering, University of Cape Town, 2008.



This dissertation provides a comprehensive discussion around bistatic radar with specific reference to PCL, highlighting existing literature and work, examining the various performance metrics. In particular the performance of commercial FM radio broadcasts as the radar waveform is examined by implementation of the ambiguity function.

The FM signals show desirable characteristics in the context of our application, the average range resolution obtained is 5.98km, with range and doppler peak sidelobe levels measured at -25.98dB and -33.14dB respectively. Furthermore, the SDR paradigm and technology is examined, with discussion around the design considerations. The USRP, the TVRx daughterboard and GNURadio are examined further as a potential receiver and development environment, in this light.

The system meets the low cost ambitions costing just over US$1000.00 for the USRP motherboard and a single daughterboard. Furthermore it performs well, displaying desirable characteristics, The receiver’s frontend provides a bandwidth of 6MHz and a tunable range between 50MHz and 800MHz, with a tuning step size as low as 31.25kHz. The noise characterisation of the receiver reveals a NF of 10dB, a sensitivity of -105dB and a dynamic range of 62dB.

Finally, the investigation into the stability of the daughterboard frontend oscillators due to ageing effects is shown to be steady with acceptable levels of variation, showing a fractional frequency variation from 2.3 to 0.8 parts per 10 million and a maximum frequency drift of 4Hz.

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