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A collaborative effort at Texas Tech University on high power RF transmitters has directly translated to the development of phased array pulsed ring down sources (PRDS). By operating an array of PRDS, peak radiating power on target can theoretically be multiplied by the number of sources. The primary limitation on the application of the array concept is the jitter with which the individual sources can be fired. An ideal jitter of a small fraction of the risetime is required to accurately synchronize the array to steer and preserve the risetime of the radiated pulse. This paper describes in detail the implementation of a GPS based timing system that will synchronize the individual antennas to operate at different geo-locations to function in a coordinated fashion to deliver the peak power of each element to a single position. Theoretical array performance is shown through Monte Carlo simulations, accounting for switch jitter and a range of GPS timing jitter. Each module will include a control unit, low jitter pulser, low jitter spark gap, antenna element, as well as a GPS receiver. The location of each module is transmitted to a central controller, which calculates and dictates when each element is fired. Low jitter in the timing of the GPS reference signal is essential in synchronizing each element to deliver the maxim power. Testing using a preliminary setup using GPS technology is conducted with both 1 pps and 100 pps outputs. Jitter results between modules are recorded to ~10 ns without any correction factors. With the timing and geospatial errors taken into account, the proposed concept will show usable gains of up to several hundred MHz.
Date of Conference: 23-27 May 2010