USGS EROS Archive - Radar - SIR-C Radar Modes

Science Center Objects

Spaceborne Imaging Radar C-band (SIR-C) Radar Modes

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The Spaceborne Imaging Radar C-band (SIR-C) radar has various modes of operation which are different combinations of frequency and polarization (see Table below). Modes 1 through 16 were the primary modes of operation; most of the repeat-pass interferometry data collected during the last three days of SRL-2 were collected in Mode 20. Different modes were used for each datatake depending on the primary science goal of the datatake. For example, geology datatakes were often taken in Mode 11 which provides dual frequency and dual polarization data and a swath width of approximately 30-50 km thereby providing good data coverage. Ecology datatakes were often taken in mode 16 which is dual frequency and quad polarization; due to the greater amount of data collected in mode 16, the swath width is narrower and is typically 10-25 km wide. Many sites were imaged in more than one mode on different data passes. The mode information for each datatake is included in a text file posted with the u. for each datatake. This text file, called DTHDR.TXT has the mode information on line #6.

The columns headed by "channel 1", "channel 2", etc., indicate the data recorded to each of four high density digital recorders on-board the Space Shuttle during mission operations. Therefore, to find out which frequencies and polarizations were recorded for a particular mode, just look up all the frequencies and modes saved to the four recorder channels. In order to double the swath, the same frequency and polarization was saved to more than one channel.

The frequency and polarizations letter abbreviations indicate the following :

  • LHH - L-band, Horizontal transmit and receive
  • LVH - L-band, Vertical transmit, Horizontal receive
  • LHV - L-band, Horizontal transmit, Vertical receive
  • LVV - L-band, Vertical transmit and receive
  • CHH - C-band, Horizontal transmit and receive
  • CVH - C-band, Vertical transmit, Horizontal receive
  • CHV - C-band, Horizontal transmit, Vertical receive
  • CVV - C-band, Vertical transmit and receive


MODE Channel 1 Channel 2 Channel3 Channel4 Notes
0 --- --- --- --- X-SAR only
1 LHH LHH LHV LHV Double swath
2 LVH LVH LVV LVV Double swath
3 CHH CHH CHV CHV Double swath, APL receives CH
4 CVH CVH CVV CVV Double swath
5 LHH LHH LVV LVV Double swath
6 CHH CHH CVV CVV Double swath
7 LHH LHH CHH CHH Double swath, APL receives CH
8 LHH LHH CHH CHH Double swath
9 LVV LVV CVV CVV Double swath
10 LVH LVH CVH CVH Double swath, APL receives CV
11 LHH LHH CHH CHV Normal swath
12 LVH LVV CVH CVV Normal swath
13 LHH LVV CHH CVV Normal swath
14 LHH LVH LHV LVV Normal swath
15 CHH CVH CHV CVV Normal swath
17 LHH LHH LVV LVV Normal swath, 40 MHz experimental mode
18 CHH CHH CVV CVV Normal swath, 40 MHz experimental mode
19 LHH LHH CHH CHH Normal swath, 40 MHz experimental mode
20 LVV LVV CVV CVV Normal swath, 40 MHz experimental mode
21 LVH LVV CVV CVV Normal swath, interferometry mode
22 CVV CVV CVV CVV Double swath, interferometry mode

Access Data

As of June 2005, unprocessed precision and interferometry data is no longer available from the EROS archive as the SIR-C processor is inoperable and not repairable. Repair parts and maintenance support of critical system components are no longer available to continue SIR-C system operations.

Precision and interferometry data that has been previously processed can be downloaded through EarthExplorer.