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Federal Highway Administration Research and Technology
Coordinating, Developing, and Delivering Highway Transportation Innovations

This report is an archived publication and may contain dated technical, contact, and link information
Publication Number: FHWA-HRT-10-037
Date: October 2010

Step Frequency Ground Penetrating Radar Characterization and Federal Evaluation Tests


SF GPR technology was characterized in this study via standardized methods relative to emissions criteria established by the NTIA. This technology has been demonstrated to be an effective tool for evaluating civil infrastructure materials and structures, as well as many other Federal applications in the national interest, such as land mine and unexploded ordinance detection. The results from SF GPR testing show that this technology meets proposed NTIA criteria for all of the configurations evaluated during follow-up testing in September 2009 for intentional emissions above 140 MHz. Unintentional emissions below 140 MHz may require a waiver at some frequencies.

Emissions measurement data were collected to evaluate general emissions over a broad range of frequencies that the SF GPR operates in. In addition, detailed emissions data were collected over significantly narrower bandwidths corresponding to critical Federal systems. General test data were analyzed and described in this report, while detailed Federal system data will be provided to appropriate agencies in electronic form (along with this report).

A proposed coordination procedure for operational use of SF GPR has also been developed and is summarized in appendix A. The proposed coordination procedure requires SF GPR users to register their systems with NTIA and also requires that they notify NTIA if SF GPR operations are going to take place at an airport facility.

This measurement study has shown that SF GPR technology meets NTIA criteria and that an efficient coordination mechanism can be implemented that provides safety through a registration process and limited usage based on proximity to airport facilities. FHWA/USDOT has also shown that operational use of SF GPR technology will have critical implications for a variety of important subsurface evaluation applications in the national interest.

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