Portable Radars Bring Surveillance Where Needed
“Radar made smaller,” isn’t a slogan for SpotterRF, although it certainly could be. This innovative company has developed a number of compact radar systems that can literally be hauled around in a backpack—then set up in minutes to establish a surveillance barrier around any desired perimeter. This small but technologically agile firm is bringing radar technology to a wider group of users (spanning military, industrial, and even commercial markets) than ever before.
Control and access are enabled through a standard laptop computer, tablet, or smartphone, and with the low-power radar system running on a rechargeable battery. Whether a SpotterRF radar system becomes a standard part of a residence’s surveillance/security system has yet to be seen but, for small forces needing agility and looking for an electronic edge, these portable radar systems are quickly becoming more necessity than accessory.
SpotterRF has been issued patent No. 7755533 for its technology—specifically, for the use of a switched-beam radar device to measure the three-dimensional (3D) position of an object without need of more expensive phased-array antennas. The company offers the world’s first complete portable radar system with its Radar Backpack Kit (Fig. 1), which contains everything needed to establish a surveillance radar system for covering a 150-acre area. It all fits within a small, three-day backpack weighing only about 20 lbs.
1. A Radar Backpack Kit contains all the equipment needed to erect a working, battery-powered X-band surveillance radar system capable of providing a secure perimeter.
A Radar Backpack Kit contains two of the company’s model M600C radars, a lightweight tripod, a model HUB6A network hub, a model 2590 battery, system cables, and an Android tablet. Each of the M600C radar units (Fig. 2) is completely sealed from the weather and environment. It weighs only 4 lbs., measures just 8.75 x 10.125 x 2.25 in., and can detect and track walkers or multiple targets to a distance of 1000 m from the antenna unit. A model M600C radar system is energy efficient, consuming only 10 W power for a relatively long running life on the rechargeable battery.
2. A key part of the Radar Backpack Kit is the SpotterRF M600C radar unit which includes an Ethernet port for ease of connection to a portable computer.
For the hardy hiker carrying four M600C radar units into the field, a 360-deg. coverage area can be established in a manner of minutes, with a total coverage range of approximately 1000 x 800 m or about 150 acres for every M600C radar. Each M600C unit features an Ethernet interface for ease of interoperability with a laptop or tablet computer, showing a cursor on a target on a display screen. The maximum surveillance range is about 1 km for a walker and about 1.5 km when tracking a vehicle. The range resolution is 3 m, with an angular accuracy of ±3 deg. The radar system provides an update rate of once per second (1 Hz) and can support 20 simultaneous tracks. It operates at X-band (10.0 to 10.5 GHz), using frequencies licensed by the United StatesFederal Communications Commission (FCC).
The SpotterRF M600C radar units are designed for operating temperatures from -30 to +65°C. With their Ethernet interfaces and Internet connectivity, they can be easily integrated into existing security systems in support of current equipment. The radar units provide output information as Global Positioning System (GPS) coordinates of real-time tracks shown in a Web browser (e.g., Google Earth) or via other situational-awareness software.
The company actually offers several choices of radar systems and sizes, with its even-smaller C40 compact surveillance radar (CSR) measuring only 6.9 x 9.0 x 1.7 in. and weighing a mere 1.5 lbs. for ease of installation around a domestic or business perimeter(Fig. 3). The company claims a setup time of only about 10 minutes, using Web User Interface (UI) software for installation. This smaller radar system has a coverage area of 350 x 300 m or about 20 acres, with a maximum detection range of 350 m for a walker and 500 m for a vehicle. It works in all types of weather conditions and consumes less than 8 W power using supplies from +12 to +30 VDC by means of a power over Internet (PoE) injector. The system can process 20 simultaneous tracks and is priced at less than $12,000 for all required hardware and software.
3. A very low-power surveillance radar system can be assembled using the C40 compact surveillance radar (CSR) unit, which measures just only 6.9 x 9.0 x 1.7 in.
The SpotterRF portable radar systems have been used at the US Army’s Camp Williams (UT) for mobile force protection training, with only 30 to 60 minutes required for training. This testing provided an evaluation of the SpotterRF’s radar system’s effectiveness in conjunction with existing US Army surveillance systems. The SpotterRF CSR solutions can provide effective perimeter protection for small forces that require agility. One of the instructors at Camp Williams, Sgt. First Class Paul Diamond, notes that “Troop position may change overnight or in an hour. Since we can make SpotterRF radar operational from pack to track in just a few minutes, we minimize the time our troops are at greatest risk. This ultimately saves lives.”
The different SpotterRF CSR systems are designed for integration with existing equipment, such as infrared (IR) cameras and other intrusion-detection-system (IDS) equipment. The CSR systems can be linked by means of Ethernet network and can communicate with Google Earth, RaptorX, Falconview, and other situational awareness software.