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Open AccessArticle

Insect Monitoring Radar: Maximizing Performance and Utility

School of Science, UNSW Canberra, The University of New South Wales, Canberra, ACT 2610, Australia
Institute for Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, Canberra, ACT 2617, Australia
Now at PO Box 154, Lobethal, SA 5241, Australia
Now with Western Sydney University Penrith, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
Australian Plague Locust Commission, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(4), 596;
Received: 11 January 2020 / Revised: 3 February 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 11 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Radar Aeroecology)
Autonomously-operating radars employing the ‘ZLC configuration’ have been providing long-term datasets of insect flight activity to heights of about 1 km since the late 1990s. A unit of this type operating in Australia has recently received a major upgrade. The aim of the project was to maximize the utility of the radar to entomologists and aeroecologists by providing larger and more continuous datasets and extending observations to 2.5 km. The upgrade was achieved primarily by incorporating modern digital technology, which has enabled much improved data-acquisition, control performance, and data-archiving capacity; by implementing a more comprehensive observing protocol; and by replacing fixed electronic signal-acquisition gates with specially developed software that identifies insect echoes and applies a narrow moving gate that follows them. The upgraded version provides an approximately five-fold increase in hourly sample sizes, a doubling of the duration of observations (from 12 to 24 h per day) and a doubling of the height range over which observations are made. The design considerations (incentives and constraints) that informed the various subsystem implementations are identified, and the necessary compromises are discussed. Observations of the development of a layer echo during a migration by two different insect types are presented as a demonstration of the upgraded unit’s capabilities. View Full-Text
Keywords: radar; insect; migration; aeroecology; signal gating; ZLC configuration radar; insect; migration; aeroecology; signal gating; ZLC configuration
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MDPI and ACS Style

Drake, V.A.; Hatty, S.; Symons, C.; Wang, H. Insect Monitoring Radar: Maximizing Performance and Utility. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 596.

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