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The on-ground characterization of the synthetic aperture radiometer onboard the Soil Moisture and Ocean Salinity mission is described. Characterization includes basic functionality, internal calibration, thermal cycling, response to point and flat sources, self-radio-frequency interference, and others. The description of the different tests performed as well as the detailed results are provided. The results show that the instrument is very stable and has all gains and offsets consistent with the ones obtained at subsystem level. On the other hand, the phase of the visibility has a larger variation with temperature than expected, a small signal leakage from the local oscillators is present, and a small interference from the X-band transmitter during short periods of time has been detected. The implementation of internal-calibration procedures, along with the accurate thermal characterization performed, have been used to produce highly accurate brightness-temperature values well within specifications.