A practical technique for calibrating single-antenna polarimetric radar systems is introduced. This technique requires only a single calibration target such as a conducting sphere or a trihedral corner reflector to calibrate the radar system, both in amplitude and phase, for all linear polarization configurations. By using a metal sphere, which is orientation independent, error in calibration measurement is minimized while simultaneously calibrating the crosspolarization channels. The antenna system and two orthogonal channels (in free space) are modeled as a four-port passive network. Upon using the reciprocity relations for the passive network and assuming the crosscoupling terms of the antenna to be equal, the crosstalk factors of the antenna system and the transmit and receive channel imbalances can be obtained from measurement of the backscatter from a metal sphere. For an X-band radar system with crosspolarization isolation of 25 dB, comparison of values measured for a sphere and a cylinder with theoretical values shows agreement within 0.4 dB in magnitude and 5 deg in phase. An effective polarization isolation of 50 dB is achieved using this calibration technique.