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Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-037
Date: October 2010

Step Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar Characterization and Federal Evaluation Tests

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The objective of this report is to provide a comprehensive emissions characterization and evaluation of a step frequency ground penetrating radar (SF GPR) system. These study results will help officials determine whether SF GPR can be operated safely, that is, without interfering with other tools, in a proposed configuration that may include frequency notching in specific frequency bands. The final system configuration results present evidence that the SF GPR system will work without interfering with other systems. This report provides detail and raw data for all the tests so that decisionmakers may make their own evaluations of the data.

Joseph Peters
Director, Office of Operations
Research and Development


This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for the use of the information contained in this document.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trademarks or manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the objective of the document.

Quality Assurance Statement

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.


2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Step Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar Characterization and Federal Evaluation Tests

5. Report Date

October 2010

6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

M. Scott, J. Arnold, and D. Gibson

8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

Starodub, Inc.
3504 Littledale Road
Kensington, MD 20895

10. Work Unit No.
11. Contract or Grant No.


12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Research and Special Programs Administration
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296

13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Electromagnetic Emissions Testing and Characterization Report

14. Sponsoring Agency Code

HRDO-04 and RVA-21

15. Supplementary Notes

The FHWA Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative (COTR) was David Gibson, P.E. James A. Arnold contributed significant electrical engineering and communications input.

16. Abstract

A step frequency ground penetrating radar (SF GPR) system was characterized and evaluated to determine whether it can be operated safely in a proposed configuration that may include frequency notching in specific frequency bands. This emission testing was conducted with possible notching configurations turned on and then turned off to allow for both scenarios to be evaluated. Testing work focused on emissions characterization measurements suitable for computer analysis of potential interference with relevant systems. After initial testing was completed, needs for follow-up testing were defined. This follow-up testing was completed, and results are included in this report.

Results from initial emissions testing showed that the SF GPR met National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) criteria for most frequencies, but some emissions frequencies still exceeded NTIA criteria. In addition, unintentional emissions below 140 MHz were observed to exceed intentional emission criteria at many frequencies. System adjustments were performed, and follow-up emissions testing was conducted using a final system configuration. The final system configuration met NTIA criteria for intentional emissions as described in the report. Unintentional emissions below 140 MHz were characterized to allow them to be evaluated as needed.

17. Key Words

Electromagnetic emissions characterization measurement testing, Step frequency ground penetrating radar, SF GPR

18. Distribution Statement

No restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service, Springfield, VA 22161.

19. Security Classification (of this report)


20. Security Classification (of this page)


21. No. of Pages


22. Price


Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors

Table of Contents

List of Figures

List of Tables

List of Abbreviations

ASR-11Airport surveillance radar release 11
dBmdecibels relative to 1 milliwatt
EIRPEquivalent isotropic radiated power
FAAFederal Aviation Administration
FCCFederal Communications Commission
FHWAFederal Highway Administration
GHzGigahertz (109 hertz)
GPSGlobal positioning system
GPS L1Global positioning system down link frequency 1
kHzKilohertz (103 hertz)
MHzMegahertz (106 hertz)
MMICMonolithic microwave-integrated circuit
NTIANational Telecommunications and Information Administration
NTIA SPSNTIA Spectrum Planning Subcommittee
RBWResolution bandwidth
SF GPRStep frequency ground penetrating radar
VBWVideo bandwidth
SARSATSearch And Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking
RFRadio frequency
RMSRoot mean squared
USDOTUnited States Department of Transportation

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