How-To: Build a synthetic aperture radar from 0 of junk

Ever wish you could build a radar system like the ones used on space missions and spy satellites? Want to do it for less than $250? Well then, Greg Charvat has the solution for you, with The $240 High Resolution X-Band Linear Rail SAR Imaging System. By using his intellect and skillfully mining ham radio swap meets, he was able to build a working synthetic aperture radar (SAR) capable of capturing high resolution scans of tiny things. For instance, the above message was actually written in push pins, hidden behind a foam plate.

Ok, the directions are a bit sparse, and you will need some extra components that aren’t included in that price (such as a PC capable of driving the system), but it’s still a pretty impressive feat. Here are some of the features of the system:

  • High-resolution X-band rail SAR developed for $240
  • Built in my garage and basement
  • Built from surplus microwave components
  • Point-to-point wiring and other construction techniques
  • Utilizes a Geni garage door opener screw-drive for a linear rail
  • Surplus cordless drill planetary gear set transmission coupling