Providing Solutions for Future Challenges and Technology - Reliability, Performance, Innovation

Pulse systems is pleased to announce its NEW Gallium Nitride based SSPA

Solid State Power Amplifiers (SSPA) based on gallium nitride (GaN) transistor technology is an exciting new development for weather radar, as well as other commercial and military applications, making SSPA's the future of weather radar design.

Pulse Systems has made this technology readily available and has already been used to replace older vacuum tube based power amplifiers. For example, our new TR-3600 SSPA can act as a direct replacement for our magnetron tube based universal TR-1061 250 KW C-Band weather radar transmitter system.

To date, older tube-based systems (such as those using magnetron and klystron technology) have been the standard in weather radar systems. However, all of these systems depend upon high voltages and peak power specifications, requiring large, complex transmitter systems. The new SSPA GaN transistor technology offers several advantages over older tube-based technology.

Advantages of Solid State Power Amplifiers

Maintenance and Reliability

  • MTBF of an SSPA transmitter is estimated to be at 250,000 hours versus 3000 hours for a typical magnetron-based transmitter.
  • SSPA transmitters require no consumable components. In contrast, tube-based systems require some components to be replaced every few years, resulting in higher lifetime costs for repair and maintenance.
  • In addition, SSPA systems require no oil tank and generate no X-ray radiation, for better environmental safety and sustainability.

Better Performance and Specifications

  • SSPA systems have voltage and peak power requirements that are substatially lower than tube-based technology. No high voltages are used in the SSPA, with maximum voltage used in the SSPA system at about 50 VDC.
  • SSPA transmitters are “instant on”. There is no warm-up time as is required by a magnetron or klystron.
  • SSPA transmitters provide significantly greater phase stability than magnetron transmitters, for improved clutter rejection and overall data quality.
  • SSPA pulse lengths are infinitely adjustable in the range of up to 100 microseconds, whereas a magnetron transmitter is usually limited to just a few pulse lengths.
  • GaN-based SSPA transmitters have built-in redundancies, and can continue to operate with reduced power output in the event of a module failure. In contrast, a magnetron failure is a catastrophic one, resulting in interruption of data collection.

Simplified System Design

  • Reduced voltage and peak power constraints result in simpler and more cost-effective weather radar configurations.
  • Some expensive components are no longer necessary, such as long waveguides or waveguide rotary joints. TR limiters are easier and cheaper to design, utilizing semiconductor limiters that do not require radioactive or consumable components.
  • There is no requirement for waveguide pressurization, although a pressurizer can still be used to keep the waveguide clean and dry, if desired.
  • The SSPA transmitter can be placed directly behind the transmitter and receiver antenna.

Click here for more information about our TR-3600 Solid State Power Amplifier. Full product documentation and product data sheets, including electrical and mechanical specifications, are available upon request.* 

Please contact Pulse Systems with your specific needs and requirements.
Tel: (781) 828-1142

Pulse Systems, Inc. is a certified ISO 9001:2008 design and manufacturing company and a certified FAA Repair Station.