Questioning Your Radar’s Performance? Here Is Something You Might Try…
Posted on 10/19/10 in Blog, No Comments

Although radar has been vastly improved since its early WWII days, a thorough understanding of its operation, especially tilt management, is vital to be sure that what it shows you is accurate.

As you know, radar sends out high frequency pulsed power from the nose radome of the aircraft. Water droplets reflect a small amount of power back to the radome. The strength of the received signal depends on the density of the storm and its distance from the aircraft. This signal is processed and displayed on a screen in the cockpit, showing azimuth and distance to the weather to be avoided. In most systems, the TEST function checks only the display operation, with very little testing of the receiver or transmitter.


Jeff Nicholls – Lead Bench Technician

Salt Lake City, Utah Facility

Jeff Nicholls- Lead bench technician- SLC

A good ground test, if your home base is in mountain country, is to use the ground map mode and–carefully operating the antenna tilt–find the most distant mountain peak that provides a reasonable return. This will set a reference for your radar and, if checked regularly, can give you a heads up if a transmitter or receiver becomes weak. Inflight tests can be performed using the same procedure, finding a reference that can be checked each time you return to the same area. The weakest link in a radar system is the transmitter magnetron. Depending on the radar, these magnetrons output from KW to 10 KW of power. Magnetrons normally last about 5 years before replacement is needed.

If you aren't sure about the true condition of your radar, we can bench check it, and give it a clean bill of health or repair it as needed. For more information, call Doug Hayden or Ed Wilk at 801-539-8412.