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The Radar Data Acquisition (RDA) Software Engineering group is responsible for development and maintenance of the RDA sub-system, which includes the applications that provide status and control the radar equipment, and Signal Processing (SP) of the returned signal to provide radar base data for the Radar Product Generator (RPG) sub-system. To provide a better idea of what the RDA software group does at the ROC (Radar Operations Center), here are some of the things the group has been involved with and some current activity for the group:

  • Responsible for maintenance of the software that is run on the Next Generation Radar (NEXRAD) RDA sub-system. The RDA Software Engineering group produces software releases to the NEXRAD community on a regularly scheduled basis with features scheduled by the NEXRAD Software Recommendation and Evaluation Committee (SREC).
  • Assists the ROC Hotline in field support and responds to Requests for Technical Information (RTIs) about the software applications.
  • Conducts unit integration and regression testing of RDA software releases as part of the ROC software development process.
  • Provides support to ROC's test team during System, Operational, and Beta Testing.
  • Supporting the Data Quality Team, special project work Memoranda Of Understanding (MOUs) and Technical Interchange Meetings (TIMs) with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and the National Severe Storms Lab (NSSL) on future improvements to the NEXRAD signal processing.
  • Improving NEXRAD software security by releasing software updates for the NEXRAD operating system to patch vulnerabilities, provide enhanced logging of security information and traceability of security measures. Required updates are identified by ROC Systems Engineering and typically released on a quarterly basis.
  • Implementation of software enhancement Configuration Change Requests (CCRs) for NEXRAD. Enhancements recently implemented and currently under development include:
  • The Open RDA sub-system. This was a major technology update to the RDA developed by a partnership between the ROC and the Office of Science & Technology (OS&T). This update shifted the NEXRAD system to a SIGMET COTS solution for the backbone of the RDA sub-system. Status: Fielded circa 2006.
  • SZ-2 Phase Encoding for improved range unfolding of Doppler products. Status: Fielded circa 2007.
  • Super Resolution Radar Base Data providing enhanced visual detection of weather features. Status: Fielded circa 2008.
  • Staggered Pulse Repetition Times (PRT) Waveforms decreasing the likelihood of velocity aliasing issues in the Doppler base data. Status: Under development.
  • Automated Volume Scan Evaluation and Termination (AVSET) increasing the time the NEXRAD is sampling significant volumes of weather by more rapidly completing volume scans in some situations, to skip clear air from the higher elevation angles of most Volume Coverage Patterns (VCPs).
  • Clutter Mitigation Decision (CMD) helps prevent contamination of radar base data by Anomalous Propagation (AP) ground clutter by automatically detecting where to apply clutter filtering. Status: Fielded circa 2009.
  • Hybrid Spectrum Width Estimators improves the usefulness of radar base data in detecting atmospheric turbulence which can be dangerous to air traffic.
  • Making changes to RDA software in support of recent hardware changes, including the motherboard replacement and a router refresh.
  • Radial by Radial based noise estimation. (Build 14 Circa 2014).
  • Coherency Based Thresholding (CBT) to provide effective sensitive gain (Build 14 Circa 2014).
  • SAILS support (Build 14 Circa 2014).
  • Signal Processor SLEP support, including replace of the DAU/DCU/IFD/RCP8/RVP8 with RSP/IFDR/SPIP. (Build 17 Circa 2016).

News & Information:

  • The RDA OS will be updated in Build 18.0. The version of linux being used will be based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 7.3. This will allow the RDA processes to see all the memory installed on the RSP
  • The RDA will be reading VCP definitions from configuration files in build 18.0. This will remove several of the older VCP patterns that have been replaced by new patterns to provide better elevation sampling. The RDA and RPG will have the same base set of VCP definitions.
  • A less tapered data window, known as Mezza window, will be used to calculate the dual polarization base data, to reduce the variance in this data, without too much loss of spatial resolution.
  • Also the RDA GPS unit will be updated with a new model, refer to the ROC system's engineering web page for more information on this change, and required changes to the RDA.