The mobile X-band radar transmits pulses of electromagnetic radiation at an X-band frequency of 9.375 GHz and measures the amount of energy backscattered to the receiver. The time delay between the transmitted and received pulses enables the range of the object to be determined. In the case of precipitation, the magnitude of the backscattered signal is proportional to the size and number of raindrops. In the absence of precipitation, the radar is sensitive to backscattering from insects, known as clear-air echoes. The radar also measures the radial velocity through the Doppler effect.
In addition, the radar has dual-polarisation capability; it simultaneously transmits and receives horizontally- and vertically- polarised waves. Through this technique the radar measures a number of additional variables that provide information on the size and shape of precipitation, target identification, attenuation, propagation effects and alternative methods for quantitative precipitation estimation.