Translated title of the contribution: Current status and development prospects of atmosphere radio sensing systems in Russia

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Determination of accurate and urgent information about atmosphere status is a necessary condition of synoptic, aviation and other prediction formation which are significant in many areas of human being. One of the fundamental types of hydrometeorology measurements is the aerologic measurements performing in the free atmosphere. Among them, the most important and significant place is occupied the atmosphere radio sensing performing with the help of aerologic radiosonde (ARS), which are lifted in the free atmosphere by a gas-filling envelope. This review is devoted to a brief historical reference on the role and contribution of the native scientists, designers from different organizations into development of engineering facilities for atmosphere radio sensing. We note that our compatriot, the prominent scientist in aerology professor P.A. Molchanov is the radiosonde inventor and he is the author of its application method. At first, an idea of the radiosonde method was offered by him in 1923. This idea was implemented at January 30th, 1930 by the successful launch of the first ARS. From results of our historical excursus, it follows that in the area of Russian State Hydrometeorology their own native traditions were developed in principles of system construction, which are intended for the atmosphere radio sensing. Its’ distinguishing features are application of the radar technology for slant-distance measurement and utilization of super-regenerative transceiver (SRT) in the radiosonde structure. Such a solution allows creation of the radio-telemetric system on the base of the combined radio channel principle on the same carrier frequency, and the ensure achievement of optimal combination of its engineering-economical characteristics and high competitiveness among foreign prototypes. Then, the review contains engineering means description for radar sounding, which were developed in our country during two last decades. Among them, at the end of 1990-s, the development of new compact radar station «Briz» was performed by the worker team of the Radiotechnical Institute of Ural State Technical University «UPI» (now Institute of Radioelectronics and Information Technologies of Ural Federal University - IRIT UrFU). Essential decrease of mass-sizes characteristics and power consumption was distinctive features of this radar technology together with system structure completely on the base of the modern semiconductor element basis. Digital processing and control methods using microprocessor devices found wide application. Antenna system is performed in the form of the phase antenna array, in which electromechanical scanning in azimuth and elevation and the electronic control by the antenna pattern are combined. Experience obtained at development of radar technology «Briz» at the very beginning of this century was used at development of the improved aerologic radar computing complex (ARCC) «Vector-M». This complex in 2004 successfully passed testing in the Central Aerologic Observatory (Dogoprudny-town of Moscow region). After two years, the operative breadboard of this complex was delivered for experimental operation in the aerologic observatory of Omsk-town (Russia). At present, according to order of Russian Hydrometeorology Committee, 30 «Vector-M» complexes are successfully operates in Russian State aerologic network. Further investigations on the way of improvement of the radar technology of the sensing method are directed to the search of new principles of radar constructions, which are necessary to increase essentially some engineering-economic indices. These investigations at CME department are performed in two directions. The first one is based on application of SRT phase sensitivity on influence of an interrogation coherent radar signal. The second one - on implementation of the monopulse measurement method of ARS angular coordinates. This method allows growth the determination accuracy of the angular coordinated (up to 1,5…2 times) and increase on 2…3 dB the energy potential of the radio channel compared to the equal-signal zone method. The more accurate measurement of the slant distance to ARS and the possibility of its movement instantaneous velocity determination by the Doppler method are advantages of the monopulse radar. This gives an opportunity to check the perturbation fine structure in the atmosphere - its turbulence. Main parameters and characteristics of the atmosphere radio sensing systems are determined mainly not only by perfection of the ground-based part of ARCC, but its on-board part. Therefore, the ARS modernization is permanently performed in parallel with development of radar technologies «Briz» and «Vector-M» at Communication Facilities and Technologies (CFT) department of USTU-UPI. At this, the continuity principle is undeviatingly fulfilled during development of new types of ARS with improved features. According to this principle, new ARS provide its compatibility not only with new radar types, but with the old complexes of type AVK-1 and AVK-1М, a number of which in the Russian aerologic network is rather large. During last two decades, some new ARS types and units for these were developed. Further prospects of ARS modernization relate to measurement accuracy increase of meteorological parameters and application of more effective methods of binary frequency and phase modulation of the carrier frequency of the telemetric channel. Another prospect relates to implementation in ARCC of the packet method of telemetric information transmission. An expediency of this method realization relates to known problem of the radiosonde signal reception at its swinging during the flight. Due to the radiosonde antenna pattern irregularity, the signal at the radar receiver output fades by 10…20 dB with the swinging period. Because of this reason, the radar reception of coordinate and telemetric information stops temporarily. At present, one more perspective of atmosphere radio sensing development consists in SRT replace by autodyne transceiver (ADT). It is known that SRTs have a principal disadvantage - the wide radiation spectrum (4…6 MHz), which creates problems of electromagnetic compatibility of radio electronic devices. At that, ATR constructively have no differences from the first systems, but they have essentially lesser the radiation width spectrum. Another direction of radio sensing system development is the search and implementation principally new engineering solutions. At present, there is such a direction in Russia concerned to development and realization the radio sensing systems developed on the base of the satellite radionavigation systems (SRNS) GLONASS/GPS. Similar systems were developed in the beginning of 1990-s by foreign companies Vaisala, Graw, MODEM etc. Accumulated experience of SRNS based upper-air system operation show its principal advantages compared to another systems in power consumption, sizes and weight. Moreover, navigational upper-air system does not require adjustment, stabilization and orientation of the receiving station antenna, which gives additional advantages at using on the moveable objects. At present, in UrFU and at RADIY JSC (Kasli-town, Russia) the investigation are fulfilled on creation of the mobile navigational upper-air sounding system on the base of SRNS GLONASS/GPS called «Polus». The «Polus» system consists of the ground-based tracking station (GBTS) and the ARS launched in the free flight. The ARS measures atmosphere parameters, current coordinates, a velocity vector and transmit this information to GBTS via radio channel in the range 400…406 MHz with application of narrowband FM. In 2009, the acting breadboard of the «Polus» upper-air sounding system was developed, which passed successfully the initial testing on the aerologic station «Verkhnee Dubrovo» (Ekaterinburg-town, Russia). After that, the experimental pre-production model was developed and manufactured, which was used at the Baikonur Space Center for comparative testing with a serial radar system MARL-A. During this testing, a number of single and paired launchings of ARS was performed. Testing results of the experimental pre-production model of the upper-air sounding system «Polus» show that accepted engineering solutions and achieved indices correspond to engineering requirements, which makes to the modern radio sensing system and can be used at production of the «Polus» system’s serial model
Original languageRussian
Pages (from-to)3-49
Number of pages47
JournalУспехи современной радиоэлектроники
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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