MAX (Mobile Alabama X-Band)

Timeline & Status


Scheduled Completion Date
Date Completed
Additional Information & Links
Research & Design Process
MAX Truck Purchased
Bid Process & Award
Truck Bed Designed & Installed
Pedestal Acquired & Installed
Major Interior Components Installed
Antenna Installed
Rotary Joints Acquired
Radar Cabinet Installed



System Completed
System Testing Phase I
3/10 - 3/17 2008
Complete. Rotary Joints have a few issues that must be resolved. Returned to manufacturer for repairs and upgrades.
System Testing Phase II
5/27 - 5/30
Rotary Joints have returned. Phase II testing will start on 5/27/2008
First Deployment

The first deployment was to study the Wheeler Lake Breeze

Link To Preliminary Results

System Testing Phase III
Rotary Joints will be back and ready for testing
MAX completed - Completely operational in both H and H+V

Lake Breeze Experiment
(Wheeler Lake, AL)

Dual Doppler measurements using MAX and ARMOR over the Wheeler Lake Area. MIPS will also be involved. This experiment will look at the various effects Wheeler Lake has on cloud formation, boundary layer parameters, and CI.
Landfalling Hurricanes
Hurricane Season 08
MAX will be deployed on landfalling hurricanes and tropical storms from South Texas to North Carolina. MIPS will be co-located with MAX on these deployments in various setups depending on the strength and location of landfall. We will also co-locate with other research organizations and within 50 km of NWS Nexrad Radars.
UAH Tornado Observations and Research
Year Round
MAX will be deployed on severe thunderstorms that are capable of producing damage from straight-line winds, downbursts, and tornadoes. This research will take place in the North Alabama Region.


The main goal behind MAX is to investigate tornado and severe/hazardous weather phenomena that are especially problematic in the Southeast United States. MAX is apart of a much larger project named the UAH Tornado and Hurricane Observations and Research (THOR) activity. THOR involves close collaboration between UAH and the NASA Short-term Prediction Research and Transition (SPoRT) Center, and three entities of the National Weather Center in Norman, OK: (a) the NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL), (b) the NOAA/NWS Storm Prediction Center (SPC), and (c) the University of Oklahoma. Within NSSL and SPC, a Hazardous Weather Testbed (HWT) was created in 1997 to address the detection and forecasting of hazardous weather phenomena. A similar testbed is evolving in Huntsville, concerning the formation of the NASA Sport and expansion of UAH mesoscale research and instrumentation infrastructure. In order to unify this research and emphasize the close connection and collaboration between the NOAA and UAH, the SPC/NSSL and UAH/NASA testbeds were termed HWT-Norman and HWT-Huntsville, respectively. The latter is composed of the NASA Sport center, the Huntsville Weather Forecast Office (NWS/HUN), and the UAH THOR. The HWT testbeds at both locations will focus on infusing research results into operations to improve detection and forecasting of hazardous weather. The HWT-Huntsville consists of several ground based instruments which will work hand in hand with the MAX. A small sampling of these instruments include, MIPS (Mobile Integrated Profiling System), ARMOR (Advanced Radar for Meteorological and Operational Research), disdrometers, and several other surface instrumentation. Some of the main areas of research that the MAX will be a crucial components to are as follows

• Tornadoes and damaging winds
• Tornadoes and severe winds associated with QLMCS's
• Kinematics of tornadic rainbands during the landfall of tropical cyclones (TC)
• Boundary detection, interaction and prediction
• Investigate the relationships among lightning, deep convection, and severe storms
• Investigate the predictability of lighting initiation (associated with convective initiation), evolution and cessation
• Quantitative precipitation estimation and forecasting (QPE)

Specifications of the MAX
Radar Parameter
Value of Range of Values
Transmit Frequency X-Band (9450 MHz) (H+V, H)
Transmit Type Magnetron (Solid State Modulator )
Polarization Dual
Peak Transmitted Power 250 kW
Pulse Width 0.4, 0.8, 1.0, 2.0 ms
Min / Max PRF 250 / 2000 s-1
Antenna Size and Type 8ft (2.44m)
Beamwidth .95°
Antenna Gain 44.5 dB
Scanning 0-360 azimuth, 0.5-90 deg. Elevation
First Side-lobe -31 dB
Variables Recorded Z, V, W, ZDR, fDP, KDP, rhv, LDR
Receiver RVP8