UAV-aided weather radar calibration

Jiapeng Yin*, Peter Hoogeboom, Christine Unal, Herman Russchenberg, Fred Van Der Zwan, Erik Oudejans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
216 Downloads (Pure)


Weather radar is well recognized as an effective sensor for obtaining the microphysical and dynamical properties of precipitation at high spatial and temporal resolution. Radar calibration is one of the most important prerequisites for achieving accurate observations. In this article, a portable, cost-effective and repeatable radar calibration technique, namely, unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-aided radar calibration, is proposed. A UAV serves as the stable aerial platform carrying a metal sphere, flying over the radar illumination areas to complete the calibration process. The flying routine of the UAV can be pre-programmed, and thus, the antenna pattern regarding different elevation and azimuth angles can be retrieved. To obtain the position of the sphere, the real-time single-frequency precise point positioning-type global navigation satellite system solution is developed. In addition, the radar constant is calculated in the range-Doppler domain, and only the data where the metal sphere separates from clutter and other objects are selected. The S-band polarimetric Doppler transportable atmospheric radar (TARA) is used in the calibration campaign. The experiments demonstrate the following results: 1) antenna pointing calibration can be completed and 2) antenna pattern can be retrieved and weather radar constant can be accurately calculated.
Original languageEnglish
Article number8818617
Pages (from-to)10362-10375
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Antenna pattern retrieval
  • antenna pointing calibration
  • unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)-aided radar calibration
  • weather radar


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