Validation of the radiation pattern of the VHF MST radar MAARSY by scattering off a sounding rocket's payload
Abstract. The Middle Atmosphere Alomar Radar System (MAARSY) is a monostatic radar with an active phased array antenna designed for studies of phenomena in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. Its design, in particular the flexible beam forming and steering capability, makes it a powerful instrument to perform observations with high angular and temporal resolution. For the configuration and analysis of experiments carried out with the radar it is essential to have knowledge of the actual radiation pattern. Therefore, during the time since the radar was put into operation various active and passive experiments have been performed to gain knowledge of the radiation pattern. With these experiments the beam pointing accuracy, the beam width and phase distribution of the antenna array were investigated. Here, the use of a sounding rocket and its payload as a radar target is described which was launched in the proximity of the radar. The analysis of these observations allows the detailed investigation of the two-way radiation pattern for different antenna array sizes and beam pointing positions.