The Mobile Alabama X-Band Radar (MAX)

Probably the most well-known tool in the meteorological world are the mobile radars. During the VORTEX projects that were centered in the Great Plains, the use of mobile radars became very popular. With a Doppler radar mounted on the back of a truck, mobile radar vehicles have the distinct advantage of being able to get within close proximity of weather of interest and able to scan below the National Weather Service WSR-88D radars.

In 2008, UAH built one of the first dual polarization mobile X-Band radar, MAX. MAX has played a vital role in the research at SWIRLL from participating in landfalling hurricanes, lake breeze boundary layer experiments, and severe weather research over the Tennessee Valley. The MAX system features a Dual-polarization X-band radar, a 10-m surface instrument tower, and hydraulic leveling jacks. With the help of Baron Radar Services, MAX is equipped with the Vaisala SIGMET RVP8 radar system and a 250 kW magnetron transmitter.

MAX deployed at Courtland, AL for a VORTEX-SE IOP on 23 April 2020.

MAX is typically operated by 1-3 personnel, accompanied by a weather balloon sounding system, and can be operational in 20-30 minutes. As with all of our SWIRLL platforms, MAX is operated by SWIRLL faculty, staff, and students.

  • Frequency: X-Band (9450 MHz)
  • Transmitter: Magentron
  • Polarization: Dual
  • Peak Transmit Power: 250 kW
  • Beamwidth: 0.95°
  • Antenna Size: 8ft
  • Variables Recorded: Z, V, W, ZDR, fDP, KDP, rhv, LDR
  • Receiver: RVP8
MAX Install

RHI from MAX of a Bounded Weak Echo Region (BWER) on 12 Feb 2020.

MAX deployed for Huricane Laura (2020).