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  • Maik Wolleben

Vehicle-Mounted Radiometer going to Australia

In October 2022, I was testing one of Skaha Labs' vehicle-mounted microwave radiometers. This one was going to CSIRO in Australia, and I wanted to guarantee it was in top shape. I drove this sensor over more than 500 acres in two days and collected excellent soil moisture data.

The sensor antenna (the white box) sticks out the truck's backside. Inside the cab, we have the controller (the Pelican case) and an iPad to display raw-data from the sensor in real-time.

The output of the sensor is the level of microwave emission, which is directly correlated to soil moisture. The map in the bottom right of the picture is an excellent example of a field with moderate topographic relief. (Higher elevations are predominantly dry, as indicated by red.)

The system I tested here is the same (antenna, operating frequency, etc.) I put on centre-pivot irrigation systems. The only difference is in the firmware to enable higher sampling rates required by the vehicle's increased speed. Its sensing depth is about 50 cm and the sensor footprint, if mounted as shown in the picture, is about 2 meters.

Users can download raw-data in hdf5 format directly from the controller but also have the option to have raw-data automatically uploaded to the SkahaLabs server, processed, and the final products made available in a Google Drive folder.

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