I've for some time now wanted to do more RF design. Although I have taken some RF design courses, I haven't actually made a single RF design before. But you can't learn without doing and inspired by the MIT coffee can radar designed by Gregory Charvat, I figured that building a radar should be a doable project that would offer some challenge while also having some real world use.

The simplest radar is a continuous wave Doppler radar, which continuously transmit a constant frequency signal. This signal reflects from a moving target and Doppler shift causes reflected signal to change frequency. This reflected signal is then received and mixed with the transmitted signal. Mixer product is the difference of the frequencies which is proportional to the speed of the target. This kind of radar is very simple to make, in fact there are even some children's toys. Unfortunately it can't detect the range of the target and isn't that exiting.

A little more sophisticated radar which can detect also the range can be made by modulating the frequency of the transmitted signal. This kind of radar is called continuous wave frequency modulated radar (FMCW radar).

Interesting project with some application in our space. 

All hardware design files, firmware and processing software is available at github

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Comment by Jake Stew on December 4, 2014 at 1:04pm

Awesome project!

What we need for drones is simple object detection and altimetry.

My opinion is that we'll never be able to implement much in the way of active collision avoidance. You just can't give a drone autonomous decisions that they can't make well.  For example, your drone detects a flagpole in it's path so it changes course, crashing into a small child.  I don't think a system like that will ever be allowed.

Best case is probably to just stop forward flight or deploy a parachute that would stop a fixed wing.  Maybe your system would be good for something like that.

In any case, I've noticed that projects that use an oddball processor don't usually get much traction.  There's too much costs and learning curve associated with buying new programmers, dev boards, and learning new toolchains.  I'd suggest trying to use something DIYers are familiar with and normally use... PIC, Atmel, or STM32.

Comment by Jake Stew on December 4, 2014 at 1:26pm

Here's the link to his project page...

Here is a hackaday article on it...

This project is really, really awesome for a first version!  With a couple minor changes this could be very useful!

Comment by Bill Bonney on December 4, 2014 at 3:12pm
I've always liked the power divider just by printing tracks.
Comment by F. C. Bearsch on December 5, 2014 at 5:40pm

what are the price points on these?

Comment by Jake Stew on December 9, 2014 at 10:51pm

It appears to be an entirely DIY project at this point.

So... add up the BOM based on your quantities, add in $10-20 for the board, and another $20 or so for shipping everything.


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