In the past decades, the Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) has been demonstrated to be one of the most powerful instruments for ionosphere monitoring. The Institute of Geology and Geophysics at the Chinese Academy of Sciences was founded to build a state-of-the-art phased-array ISR at Sanya (18.3°N, 109.6°E), a low-latitude station on Hainan Island, named the Sanya ISR (SYISR). As a first step, a prototype radar system consisting of eight subarrays (SYISR-8) was built to reduce the technical risk of producing the entire large array. In this work, we have summarized the preliminary experimental results based on the SYISR-8. The amplitude and phase among 256 channels were first calibrated through an embedded internal monitoring network. The mean oscillation of the amplitude and phase after calibration were about 1 dB and 5°, respectively, which met the basic requirements. The beam directivity was confirmed by crossing screen of the International Space Station. The SYISR-8 was further used to detect the tropospheric wind profile and meteors. The derived winds were evaluated by comparison with independent radiosonde and balloon-based GPS measurements. The SYISR-8 was able to observe several typical meteor echoes, such as the meteor head echo, range-spread trail echo, and specular trail echo. These results confirmed the validity and reliability of the SYISR-8 system, thereby reducing the technical risk of producing the entire large array of the SYISR to some extent.