Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Sri Lankan radar threatens shortwave listening

Jan 29, 2008 (LBO) – Sri Lanka is installing a hi-tech radar capableof detecting small boats of the type used by the Sea Tiger rebels aswell as small aircraft, a media report said.The high-frequency (HF) surface wave radar, developed at a cost of 39million Canadian dollars by Ottawa defence scientists and RaytheonCanada Limited, had been hailed as a major boost for maritimesecurity, Canada's National Post newspaper said.Standard radar which use microwaves can usually only 'see' on a lightof sight but HF or shortwave radio waves can travel over thecurvature of the earth hugging the surface.Surface wave radar (SWR) uses the 'ground wave' of a short wave radio signal to detect objects on the sea.Over the horizon radar that uses the sky wave of a shortwave radio signal which bounces off the ionosphere is used to detect aerialobjects thousands of miles away and can also be used over ground.Canada's federal government planned to build and operate eight radarsites on the country's east and west coasts as part of its push toimprove security in the aftermath of the September. 11, 2001 terrorattacks on the U.S."But the government has shut down the existing experimental radarsites in Newfoundland and the program has been cancelled," thenewspaper said."The project was derailed after one complaint was received that theradar interfered with civilian communications. The experimentalradars had been operating for 10 years without a complaint."Raytheon Canada, which builds the high-frequency surface wave radar,is pushing ahead with marketing the system to other nations and hassold the radar to Sri Lanka with the help of the Canadian CommercialCorporation, a Crown agency that helps firms market their productsoverseas.Sri Lanka has been looking for ways to improve its maritimesurveillance to prevent Tiger arms smuggling ships.Last year the navy sank several Tiger arms ships in the Indian Oceanafter weeks of deep-sea surveillance.Other international customers are being lined up for the Canadianradar, the National Post quoted Raytheon Canada vice president DennyRoberts as saying."The technology works," said Roberts. "Other countries don't seem tohave a problem with it."Roberts said the U.S. State Department informed the company onJanuary 15 that the high-frequency radar is not subject to U.S.government regulations since it is designed to track vessels within anation's own waters and because of that is not considered militaryequipment.The radar is said to be unique as it can track ships at much greaterdistances than regular surveillance systems, being able to detectobjects as far away as 200 nautical miles (370 kilometres) fromCanada's coasts.The system transmits high-frequency waves that follow the curvatureof the Earth to detect and track objects hundreds of kilometres overthe horizon.Regular radars are restricted to objects in their line of sight onthe horizon.To gain its advantage, the high-frequency surface wave radar uses theocean as a conducting surface to increase its range, the newspapersaid.The Canadian navy had been hoping the radars would cut down onsurveillance costs, in particular the flying time of Aurora maritimepatrol planes.The radar could be used to pinpoint suspicious ships, after whichAurora aircraft could be directed to those vessels to conduct furthersurveillance.
(via Kevin Redding, ABDX via DXLD)
Does anyone know what frequencies will be affected? (Kevin Redding,ABDX)
I bet it`s bad news for the SWLs of Asia. Geez, you mean thishas defense applications, not just studying ocean waves???Unfortunately, the ``ground wave`` signals propagate widely viaskywave, the nature of the SW medium
(Glenn Hauser, DXLD)
Re 8-114: Well, there was more to it than just one complaint. This issomething I was involved with in my Radio Amateurs of Canada (RAC)IARU Monitoring capacity. I am assuming this is the Raytheon HF SWR-503 OTH radar that was installed in the Grand Banks region ofNewfoundland and caused a great deal of interference to 80 m amateurband signals in the fall/winter of 1999, often centered near the DXwindow of 3790-3800 kHz. The signal was strong in both Europe and theeast coast of the Americas, and many complaints were made.At the time, we didn't know who to blame so these complaints were madewithin amateur circles, to the ARRL, RAC and FCC etc. It quicklybecame apparent it was coming from our Canadian east coast and thruthe RAC channels our concerns fell on the right ears and theinterference ceased. They may have regarded this as one complaint, butit was a significant one, made up of many. Obviously someone erred inallowing the radar to transmit in the 80m amateur band, but in hindsight this error brought it worldwide attention it didn't want andperhaps it's eventual downfall. I am unaware of it operating in any ofthe amateur exclusive frequencies since that time period.This radar didn't have the sweeper sound of the 60m CODAR, butoperated at a higher rate, and was dubbed as a buzz saw radar, andcovered about 20 kHz. The sound is not unlike the Chinese radar Ioften hear in or around the 7 MHz 40m ham band.As far as the comment on some of these radars being intelligent inthat they avoid frequency where they detect activity - in my opinion,when they can detect my (and others`) receiver's local oscillator(s)and frequency division scheme, and hence establish the frequency I'mtrying to listen to, and avoid that - then I will say they areintelligent. 73
[but, we wouldn`t want Big Brother doing that, would we? -- gh]
Some information at:
WATERLOO, Ontario, Canada, (Dec. 23, 1999) -- Raytheon Systems CanadaLtd., a subsidiary of Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTNA, RTNB), hasdeveloped and successfully demonstrated a shore-based, long-rangeHigh-Frequency (HF) Surface Wave Radar in collaboration with theCanadian Department of National Defence.Designated HF SWR-503, Raytheon's surface wave radar is an oceanicsurveillance system for monitoring such illegal activities as drugtrafficking, smuggling, piracy, illicit fishing and illegalimmigration. In addition, it may be used for tracking icebergs,environmental protection, search and rescue, resource protection,sovereignty monitoring and remote sensing of ocean surface currentsand winds. Because of its long-range capability, Raytheon's HF SWR-503allows a coastal nation to monitor surface and low-level airbornetargets up to and beyond its 200-nautical-mile (nm) Exclusive EconomicZone (EEZ).Lionel Leveille, president and general manager of Raytheon SystemsCanada Ltd., said, "Raytheon is the first to have successfullydemonstrated the long-range detection and tracking capability of thissystem at ranges beyond 200 nautical miles."The Canadian system consists of two land-based, long-range radars andan Operations Control Center (OCC). The two unmanned radars providecoverage of the Grand Banks region of Newfoundland renowned for itsoffshore resources, particularly fisheries and oil fields.
Extensive performance testing of the system was conducted using twofully functional radars in conjunction with alternate surveillancesensors, such as airborne radar, spotter aircraft and surface patrolcraft, which provided target verification. Raytheon's HF SWR-503successfully detected and tracked all targets observed by these othersensors, marking the world's first successful demonstration of HFsurface wave radar technology for EEZ monitoring activity.One hundred six coastal states currently have economic jurisdiction upto the 200-nm limit under the terms of the United Nations Conventionon the Law of the Sea. It is to the benefit of these coastal nationsto establish and maintain administration, law enforcement andenvironmental protection over this maritime zone.Raytheon's long-range HF radar is the first land-based sensor that canprovide continuous, all-weather and real-time surveillance of EEZwaters. Leveille added, "Raytheon's HF Surface Wave Radar is a majorbreakthrough providing greatly improved oceanic surveillance at afraction of the cost of traditional methods. It complements existingsurveillance assets and will dramatically increase the effectivenessof air and surface patrol missions by vectoring them directly totargets of interest."Raytheon Company, based in Lexington, Mass., is a global technologyleader that provides products and services in the areas of commercialand defense electronics, engineering and construction, and businessand special mission aircraft. Raytheon has operations throughout theUnited States and serves customers in more than 80 countries aroundthe world.
Corporate Communications corpcom@raytheon.com (via Moman,ibid.)
(Glen Hauser via dx-india e-group)

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