Dr Lindsay Bennett

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Instrument Support Level 6
Instrument Support Level

Instrument Support Level 6

Manufacturer & Model

LEONARDO Germany GmbH. Meteor 50DXT Radar System

CEDA Archive Name


Data Products


Insurance Value


Physical Dimensions

425 cm x 356 cm x 280.8 cm, 2,800kg


See page for details

Daily Facility Charge

£70: when operating away from Chilbolton . £50: when operating at Chilbolton


Calendar 2:
X-band Mobile Weather Radar

X-band Mobile Weather Radar

The mobile radar operates at X-band (9.375 GHz, 3cm) and has Doppler and dual-polarisation capability. The radar measures areal precipitation, radial winds and polarisation parameters. It can also detect clear-air echoes at close range from insects. The system has a conventional parabolic antenna of 2.4m diameter and a beamwidth of 1 degree, operated without a radome.

Signal analysis, data retrievals and data storage are performed by PCs contained within the trailer unit. The radar can be operated via a laptop that connects by wireless, ethernet or 3G to the onboard PCs. The operational software allows the user to set up the radar for deployment and schedule the scanning sequence. The software also provides real-time data visualisation and product generation.

For more information, please see: The NCAS mobile dual-polarisation Doppler X-band weather radar (NXPol). 

Frequency: 9.375 GHz
Beamwidth: 1°
Antenna diameter: 2.4 m
Antenna gain: 44 dB
Peak power: >55 kW (typically ~70 kW)
Average power: ~80 W
Typical operating range: 100 – 150 km
Azimuth scanning range: 0° – 360°
Speed azimuth/elevation: 1° – 36° per second
Elevation scanning range: -1° – 181°
Measurement gate length: 75 m, 150 m or 300 m (pulse width dependent)
Number of range gates: user selectable, maximum 2000
Minimum gate spacing: 75 m
Pulse repetition frequency: 250-2500 Hz software controlled, depending on selected pulse width
Dual-PRF: 3/2, 4/3, 5/4
Pulse width: Short pulse 0.5μs, medium pulse 1 μs, long pulse 2 μs

This instrument has a wide range of applications including: aeroecology; dynamics of convective storms and extra-tropical cyclones; cloud microphysics; deep tropical convection; boundary layer structures such as convergence lines and sea-breezes; hydrology; urban rainfall.

The Mobile X-band Radar transmits pulses of electromagnetic radiation at an X-band frequency of 9.375 GHz and measures the amount of energy backscattered to the receiver.

The time delay between the transmitted and received pulses enables the range of the object to be determined.

In the case of precipitation, the magnitude of the backscattered signal is proportional to the size and number of raindrops. In the absence of precipitation, the radar is sensitive to backscattering from insects, known as clear-air echoes.

The radar also measures the radial velocity through the Doppler effect.

In addition, the radar has dual-polarisation capability; it simultaneously transmits and receives horizontally- and vertically- polarised waves.

Through this technique, the radar measures a number of additional variables that provide information on the size and shape of precipitation, target identification, attenuation, propagation effects and alternative methods for quantitative precipitation estimation.

The mobile X-band radar requires an “OfW 225 non-operational innovation or trial licence. The licence has to be applied for and usually takes about 8 weeks to be granted and currently costs £50. Other countries will probably require a similar kind of licence.

The instrument scientist is responsible for monitoring the quality of the data during the deployment of the radar. The system has a number of diagnostics that allows the instrument scientist to determine if the system is operating optimally or requires manufacturer servicing and intervention. The instrument scientist will also perform standard quality control on the campaign dataset after deployment.

  • Fuel for the onboard generator if used
  • Instrument insurance
    • The user is responsible for the cost of insuring the instrument while on deployment: the insurance cost is £ 900K.
    • The instrument scientist will generally be responsible for the instrument. However, in the event that the user has enough experience to operate the instrument in the absence of the instrument scientist, the user will be responsible for the instrument during the deployment. In such situations, a formal agreement is required for insurance purposes.
  • Public liability insurance
    • We are not liable for any damage or injury arising from the deployment or operation of this instrument when unattended by the instrument scientist.
  • Shipping expenses
    • The user is liable for all costs arising from the shipping of the instrument both to and from a deployment.
  • IS T&S
    • The user is responsible for coving the travel and subsistence expenses of the IS while attending the instrument.
  • The radar can only be towed with a suitable vehicle and this is hired specifically.
  • Shipping overseas is possible, but requires dismantling of the antenna and waveguides, to be packed into boxes. The radar has to be transported on a flat rack and carried in the ship’s loose load hold below deck
  • The instrument scientist should be consulted in all cases.
  • With antenna:
    • 399.5 cm (h) x 255 cm (w) x 445 cm (l) 
  • Without antenna:
    • 300 cm (h) x 255 cm (w) x 445 cm (l)

The Mobile X-band Radar requires a flat (<3% incline) and firm piece of ground (concrete, tarmac, gravel) in a location with as few obstructions as possible to reduce the amount of ground clutter.

Buildings, trees, and power lines are the main obstacles. The ideal site configuration is to deploy the radar on top of two shipping containers with flat racks on top, to provide elevation above obstructions and ensure that health and safety regulations for radiation exposure are met. The containers can also be used as storage and office facilities

There also needs to be good road access to the site: wide enough for the trailer and no low hanging tree branches. Security, power, visibility and internet are the four main considerations.

The radar cannot be left unattended unless security is guaranteed.

A 3-phase power supply is preferable, but an adaptor box can be used with a single-phase supply.

A building or portacabin is needed for the controlling computer. It is possible to communicate between this computer and the radar by wireless, but a network cable is preferable. 3G communication is also possible. All of this should be discussed in detail with the instrument scientist.

The Mobile X-band Radar cannot be operated without the instrument scientist, or without detailed consultation with the instrument scientist. This consultation will include detailed health and safety requirements and risk assessments. The risk assessments will be dependent on exactly how the radar is deployed, whether it is situated on top of a platform and whether it is in an area accessible to the public or not. The primary consideration is exposure to the transmissions and a radiation exposure assessment will be required to determine whether a barrier or exclusion zone is required.

In nearly all circumstances the instrument scientist and other staff will be responsible for the deployment and setup of the radar. Any user involved in the deployment must have had prior training and permission from the instrument scientist to help.

  • Supply Voltage: 400 V
  • Connection Type: Single or 3-phase
  • Male connector: CEE 5-pole
  • Maximum consumption: 12 kW
  • Fuse of the main power distributor: 32 A
  • Maximum occurring residual current: 500 mA
  • Fuel tank: 80 L
  • Maximum operating time: 24 hr
Operating conditions
  • Temperature range: -10° to +35°C
  • Permissible operational wind load: 90 kmph (56 mph)
Trailer/Radar Specification
  • Weight 2800 kg: (with full 80 L fuel tank)
  • Height in transport (antenna at 0°): 3995 mm
  • Max height (antenna at 90°): 4250 mm
  • Width (supports retracted): 2550 mm
  • Width (supports extended): 3560 mm
  • Length: 2808 mm
  • Length including towbar: 4550 mm
  • Nose Weight: 120 kg
  • Tyres – type: 225/75 R16
  • Tyres – pressure: 5.75 bar
Field Data
  • The radar utilises two main software applications.
  • Ravis® is the maintenance and calibration software used for system diagnostics and testing, as well as real-time data visualisation.
  • Rainbow®5 is the scan scheduling, data visualisation, and analysis software, which provides near real-time product and image generation (“quicklooks”).
  • These images are pngs and can be uploaded to a web catalogue for viewing and animation.

radar data catalogue

Archive data
  • Data is provided in NetCDF files following the AMF data standard
  • Files contain no more than 24 hours worth of data.
  • Instrument name is
    • ncas-mobile-x-band-radar-1
  • The data product(s) associated with this instrument:
    • radar