December 1955 Popular Electronics
Table of Contents
Wax nostalgic about and learn from the history of early electronics. See articles
published October 1954 - April 1985. All copyrights are hereby acknowledged.
When I saw this photo of a man holding a fluorescent light bulb in the beam of a radar antenna, it reminded me of how we used to do the same thing on our AN/MPN-14 radar system in the USAF. The unit in the photo is a General Electric's FPS-6 height-finding radar, which operates in the S-band 2,700-2,900 MHz region. The AN/MPN-14 is a mobile ground control approach (GCA) with both an S-band airport surveillance radar (ASR) and an X-band precision approach radar (PAR). Our S-band radar had a 600 kW peak power whereas the FPS-6 put out a couple megawatts, but 600 kW was enough to light the bulb. Of course these days you would never see a company-sponsored photo of a man standing in front of a high power radar antenna with a fluorescent light bulb in his hand. In fact, with as litigious as society is today I would not be surprised if the fellow's family has sued GE - especially if he eventually contracted some form of cancerous tumor.
The General Electric Company uses fluorescent lighting tubes to demonstrate the u.h.f. radio beam pattern radiated by the multi-million-watt FPS-6 radar. A study of radar beam effects is being made by G.E. engineer Zenn Zenon, shown on ladder holding another lighted fluorescent tube. The FPS-6 is a height-finding radar unit constructed for the U.S. Air Force. Typical of all modern radar equipment, the antenna is housed in a ball-like radome.
Posted September 19, 2019