EE501 - Radar Remote Sensing

This course introduces students to radar remote sensing.  It is intended for students with elementary understanding of Electrical Engineering analysis in Electromagnetics, Statistics, and Signal Processing.  The course is intended to appeal to students of all engineering interests, and not merely those seeking proficiency in radar systems.

Radar is used widely to help us understand our environment; here are a few examples:
  • Weather radar helps us measure and track precipitation and severe storms.  It can help predict the formation and melting of snowpack for our summer water supply.
  • Radar is used by law enforcement agencies and regulatory agencies to measure vehicle speeds on our roads.
  • Radar is used by astronomers studying asteroids, planetary surfaces, and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.  We know the length of Venus's day because radars on Earth could penetrate Venus's permanently cloudy sky.
  • Radar is used in Air Traffic Control systems to coordinate aircraft traffick through our busy skies.
  • Radar is used in fire-control systems to guide weapons, and in Early Warning systems to detect intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
  • Radar is used to study parts of the atmosphere that are too high for aircraft and too low for satellites.
  • Radar is being added to automobiles to provide collision avoidance and warning systems.
  • Over-The-Horizon (OTH) radars can provide missile launch detection, track maritime smuggling activity, and monitor ocean sea-state to aid shipping.
  • Synthetic Aperture Radars provide spectacularly detailed radio pictures of the surface of the Earth and other planets.
There are additional technologies that are closely related to radar:
  • Global Positioning Systems (GPS) can be thought of as multistatic radars, providing location and time service worldwide.
  • Forward scatter bistatic radar systems provide electromagnetic "tripwires" for target detection
  • Magnetotelluric Systems provide a radar-like view into the top 100 km of the Earth's crust.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging provides a low-invasiveness, electromagnetic means to image the interior of our bodies.
  • SONAR and Ultrasound technologies use acoustic waves instead of radio waves to accomplish similar tasks.
In this class we'll learn about various topologies of radars (monostatic and bistatic) and how pulse compression can greatly improve the range resolution of radars.  We'll also learn what we mean by the concept of "resolution" through a formal statistical analysis.  We'll see how volume targets (like weather) are different from point targets (like aircraft).   We'll see some surprising and counter-intuitive techniques  for improving radar performance that will enrich your broader understanding of Electrical Engineering.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this course, students should be able to:
  • analyze core performance of radar systems using the Radar Equation in monostatic and bistatic forms
  • justify the form of the Radar Equations
  • describe the propagation issues which modify the accuracy of the Radar Equation
  • simulate the performance of a radar using appropriate forms of the Radar Equation
  • compute the Doppler shift of targets in various circumstances
  • explain the conflicting constraints of range and Doppler aliasing
  • explain the function of the in-phase/quadrature receiver
  • explain several classes of pulse compression techniques for compact and extended targets
  • apply matched filter theory to detect signals in the presence of noise
  • compute and plot the ambiguity function of any waveform
  • construct and apply signal processing algorithms to analyze real and simulated radar data
  • compute and analyze the performance of estimators
  • distinguish among efficient, sufficient, biased, and biased estimators
  • compute the Cramer Rao Lower Bound for the usual estimator of signal power
  • explain the fundamentals of Synthetic Aperture Radar technique

Course Logistics

Lectures 3+1 hours/week; also occasional Office Hours on Sunday afternoons.
Credits 4
Course Grade
 6 assignments (70%) + project (30%)
InstructorJohn Sahr 
 Class Email
 Grading Marcos Inoñan
Required TextTitle:     Introduction to Radar Systems (3rd ed)
Author:    Skolnik  
ISBN:      978-1891121524

...and occasional instructor-provided notes
Suggested Reference Texts
 Levanon, Peebles, Willis&Griffiths, and Skolnik (Radar Handbook)

Students are encouraged to work together on homework and projects, however they are expected to turn in their own work.
  • please use to communicate with the whole class.d
  • You may also email me directly, jdsahr@uw.eduPlease include [EE501] in the subject to help me notice your note (amongst the ~250 emails per day that I get).

Homework assignments and data sets will be distributed electronically; homework assignments will be submitted electronically.

It is understood that conference travel, family emergencies, and other unforeseen events may on occasion intrude upon the course; students are encouraged to contact the instructor to request assistance with such circumstances. 

The instructor will gladly attempt to accommodate student needs as advised by Disability Resources for Students (