High Accuracy Cross-Polarization Measurements Using a Single Reflector Compact Range
MI Technologies has developed a technique to achieve very high accuracy cross-polarization measurements using a single reflector compact range. The technique, known as the "Error Correction Code Algorithm" (ECCA) leverages the "ideal" performance of a single parabolic reflector when the feed axis is aligned to the parabola axis. ECCA mathematically corrects for the amplitude taper induced by the feed axis alignment.
Historically, 'conventional' compact range polarization purity has been limited to »-30 dBi. The ECCA technique, however, lowers the cross-polarization error to »-48 dBi. This performance has been verified in two separate inter-range measurement comparisons with the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The results of these tests prove ECCA is an extremely accurate technique for low cross polarization measurements and provides a lower cost, superior performance alternative to dual reflector systems when low cross-polarization measurements are required.
Near Field Range Error at Off-Probe-Calibration Frequencies
Proper operation of a planar NFR (near field range) includes probe correction as part of the processing of the measured data to result in accurate far field angle patterns, particularly for low cross polarized patterns. The far field transform of the near field data produces the angular spectrum which is the product of the plane wave transmission coefficient pattern of the AUT (antenna under test) with the plane wave receiving coefficient pattern of the probe. Probe correction consists of dividing the angular spectrum by the complex probe angle pattern resulting in the pure far field pattern of the AUT . For best accuracy of co and cross polarized AUT patterns one needs to use accurately measured probe complex co and cross polarized patterns in probe correction for each NFR test frequency.
The most accurate probe measurements are usually obtained from specialized test laboratories. However, if the number of frequencies is large, this may create problems due to cost or schedule. Because of this it is typical to procure probe calibration at only a few frequencies spanning the test band for each AUT even though pattern measurements are needed at several additional frequencies falling between the calibration frequencies. A typical strategy at any given test frequency is to perform probe correction using the nearest-neighbor-frequency probe calibration data.
This strategy produces some unknown error in the processed probe corrected far field patterns of the AUT at each non-calibrated frequency. Inthis paper we will show a method for estimating the non-calibrated frequency probe correction error for co and cross polarized patterns with examples.
Generalized Recursive Algorithm to Scattering by an Object Inside a Hollow Dielectric Waveguide Used as a Facility for Scattering Measurements
The theoretical study of scattering by various objects inside a circular hollow dielectric waveguide (HDW) is important to analyze the overall accuracy of the method in which this guiding structure plays a role of the main component of a micro-compact compact range. Here, we propose an theoretical approach to the solution of the problem of electromagnetic scattering from a spherical object inside a circular HDW based on the well-known method of separation of variables and the concept of recursive T-Matrix algorithm. Owing to the approach, we studied electromagnetic properties of a spherical scatterer inside a circular HDW as well as obtained basis to develop an approach for calculations of scattering by objects of other shapes. The results calculated for metallic spherical scatterers inside circular HDW were compared with corresponding measurements data of backward and forward scattering characteristics at 4-mm wave band.
Time and Frequency Antenna Measurement With One Signal Receiver
Antennas characteristics can be measured in two ways. lfrequency Domain Method (FDM) is more widely known. The main measuring instruments: Microwave Generator and Receiver. In Time Domain Method (TDM) measurements are fulfilled by using superwide band pulses. The main measuring instruments: Pulse Generator and Sampling Oscilloscope. TDM shows a number of advantages but for narrow-band antennas TDM is difficult to apply and FDM is required.
At the testing polygons aimed to measure various antennas we set equipment allowing to use both measurement methods. For TDM we used a two channel sampling converter SD200 of Geozondas production with bandwidth 0-18 GHz.
To unify measurements we developed a 3-channel sampling converter SD303 allowing besides pulse to measure sine wave amplitude and phase difference in dynamic range 100 dB. The third channel is used for synchronization. Thus the same instrument assures antenna measurements both in TDM and FDM.
At 100 m distance the following characteristics are obtained in Time and Frequency Domains Measurements: Bandwidth 1- 18 GHz.
Antenna pattern dynamic range 60 dB Gain measurement accuracy 0.5 dB Phase difference between 2 antennas error 0.5 - 3° (depends on frequency).
Hardware, software and digital signal processing algorithms are considered.
Number of Spherical Wave Modes Required for the Prediction of Radiated EMI by a Near-Zone Measurement
Characterization of radiated EMI by means of near zone measurements is examined by computer simulations. Electric field radiated by a test structure is expanded in spherical wave modes. The influence of the number of spherical wave modes on the accuracy to predict the maximum far-field magnitude and the total radiated power is examined. The examinations of this paper support the electric field measurements of small equipment at small measurement distances in the standard radiated EMI frequency range 30 - 1000 MHz. Results are presented as a function kr0, where k is the wave number and r 0 is the radius of the minimum sphere which fully encloses the EUT. Results of this paper give valuable guidelines for choosing an appropriate number of measurement locations for predicting the far field by means of a near-zone measurement.
Using Standard Gain Horns
Standard gain horn antennas are commonly used as reference antennas in establishing absolute gain levels of antennas under test. However, their high sidelobes and backlobes can interact with the structure surrounding the horn in the measurement setup. These interactions degrade the accuracy of the gain values. Thus, while the gain of the horn may be carefully calibrated in free space, its gain value in the measurement environment can differ from its free space value. Examples will illustrate this problem and ways are described to reduce the sensitivity to the environment.
Accuracy Estimation of Microwave Holography From Planar Near-Field Measurements
Microwave holography is a popular method for diagnosis and alignment of phased array antennas. Holography, commonly known in the near-field measurement community as "back transformation", is a method that allows computation of the primary (aperture) fields from the secondary (far-zone) fields. This technique requires the far-zone fields to be known over a complete hemisphere and adequately sampled on a regular spaced grid in K-space.
The holography technique, while known to be mathematically valid, is subject to errors just as all measurements are. Surprisingly, very little work has been done to quantify the accuracy of the procedure in the presence of known measurement errors. It is unreasonable to think that the amplitude and phase of the array elements can be trimmed to better than the uncertainty of the back-transformed amplitude and phase. This makes it difficult for an antenna engineer to determine the achievable resolution in the measurement and calibration of a phased array antenna.
This study reports the results of an empirical characterization of known errors in the holography process. A numerical model of the near-field measurement and holography process has been developed and many test cases examined in an effort to isolate and characterize individual errors commonly found in planar microwave holography. From this work, an error budget can be developed for the measurement of a specific antenna.
Impact of Alignment Errors on Cylindrical Near-Field Antenna Measurements, The
This paper addresses the sensitivity of the cylindrical near-field technique to some of the critical alignment parameters. Measured data is presented to demonstrate the effect of errors in the radial distance parameter and probe alignment errors. Far-field measurements taken on a planar near-field range are used as reference. The results presented here form the first qualitative data demonstrating the impact of alignment errors on a cylindrical near-field measurement. A preliminary conclusion is that the radial distance accuracy requirement may not be as crucial as was stated in the past. This paper also shows how the NSI data acquisition system allows one to conduct such parametric studies in an automated way.
Application of the NIST 18 Term Error Model to Cylindrical Near-Field Antenna Measurements
This paper describes error analysis and measurement techniques that have been developed specifically for cylindrical near-field measurements. A combination of analysis and computer simulation is used to show the comparison between planar and cylindrical probe correction. Error estimates are derived for both the pattern and probe polarization terms. The analysis is also extended to estimate the effect of position errors. The cylindrical measurement geometry is very useful for evaluating the effect of room scattering from very wide angles since scans can cover 360 degrees in azimuth. Using a broad beam AUT and scanning over a large y-range provides almost full spherical coverage. Comparison with planar measurements with similar accuracy is presented.
Bistatic Radar Cross Section Study of Complex Objects Utilizing the Bistatic Coherent Measurement Systems (BICOMS)
The NRTF and MRC have recently completed the first bistatic RCS test utilizing the Bistatic Coherent Measurement System (BICOMS). BICOMS is the first true far-field, phase coherent, bistatic RCS measurement system in the world and is installed at the NRTF Mainsite facility. The test objects include a 10 foot long ogive and a 1/3 scale C-29 aircraft model. Full pol rimetric, 2-18 GHz monostatic and bistatic RCS measurements were performed on both targets at 17 degree and 90 degree bistatic angles. BICOMS data demonstrates excellent agreement to method-of moments RCS predictions (ogive) and indoor RCS chamber measurements (monostatic, ogive). This paper describes the BICOMS system and the test process, highlights some process improvements discovered during testing, assesses the quality of the collected data set, and analyzes the accuracy of the bistatic equivalence theorem.
Characterization of an Outdoor RCS Measurement Range
The Radar Signature Management Group of Racal Defence Electronics Limited specializes in the measurement, prediction and analysis of radar signatures. Types of measurement ranges used by the Group fall into three categories: • Indoor instrumented ranges • Outdoor measurement ranges • Full-scale trials, in which dynamic measurements are made of the target in its normal operational environment This paper describes a methodology used for characterizing the uncertainties within data from one of the outdoor RCS measurement ranges, at frequencies from 8 to 12 GHz. The results are summarized and uncertainties arising from the following sources are quantified: • Linearity • Absolute Accuracy • Stability and Repeatability • Polar Diagram The effects of background and target-to-pylon support interface are also discussed. The individual uncertainties are combined in a simple manner in order to obtain an overall uncertainty bound for the range, and recom mendations are made for reducing uncertainties against the difficulty and cost of implementation.
NFR Cross Polarized Pattern Errors Using a Linear Probe to Measure a Circularly Polarized Antenna
For greatest efficiency and accuracy in measuring patterns of a circularly polarized antenna on a planar near field range (NFR), a recommended procedure is to use a fast switched, dual circularly polarized probe. With such equipment one obtains complete pattern and polarization data from a single scan of the antenna aperture. For our task of measuring high gain shaped beam apertures, measurement efficiency is further improved by using a moderately high gain (about 12 dBi) probe that has been accurately calibrated for patterns, polarization, and gain over the test frequency band. Such a probe allows scan data point spacing to be typically at least one wavelength, thus keeping scan time minimized with acceptably small aliasing (data spacing) error. The measured near field amplitude and phase data is transformed via computer to produce the angular spectrum that is further processed to remove the effect of the probe patterns, i.e. probe correction. The final output is a set of (principal and cross) circular polarized far field patterns.
However on one occasion, due to fast breaking changes in requirements, we were unable to obtain a calibrated circular polarized probe in the available time. For this test we used an available calibrated 12 dBi fast-switched dual linear-polarized probe with software capable of processing principal and cross circular-polarized far field patterns. As anticipated, we found from preliminary tests that the predicted low cross-polarized shaped beam pattern was not achieved when using the calibrated fast Ku band probe switch. Further tests showed the problem to be due to small errors in calibration of the probe switch. This paper will discuss test and analysis details of this problem and methods of solution.
Facility Trade-Off for Measurements up to 500 GHz
Future European Space Agency (ESA) earth observation and space science missions such as MASTER and PLANCK will have instruments and associated antennas working well up into the Terahertz frequencies. The large sizes of the antenna apertures and the need to accurately verify their performance, place high demands on test facilities and test techniques. In recent decades, different types of facilities have been developed. ESA has identified that for measurements up to at least 500 GHz, existing facilities and techniques could be applied with a relatively modest investment. A trade-off between the cylindrical near-field and compact antenna test ranges at Astrium has been carried out to identify which of the two existing ranges would provide better accuracy.
Evaluation of the Accuracy of the PTP Phase Retrieval Algorithm by Means of a Numerical/Statistical Approach
Obtaining far-field radiation patterns of high frequency antennas (>80Ghz) from near-field measurements has been an important issue in the last twenty years. However with frequencies increasing into the millimetre and sub-millimetre bands, questions have been raised about possible limitations on the assessment of such antennas and in particular the measurement of phase. The PTP phase retrieval algorithm addresses the problem by extracting the phase from the knowledge of two amplitude data sets in the near-field. The accuracy of the algorithm is studied by simulation and measurement by means of a numerical/statistical approach. Pseudo-random phase apertures can be generated using Zernike polynomials, which in turn can be used as initial estimates for the algorithm. This paper shows some simulated and measured results for various separations. It can be seen that different pseudo-random phase functions can affect the accuracy of phase retrieved results in particular when the distance between planes is considerably small in relation to the AUT size.
Precision Positioner Alignment Techniques for Spherical Near Field Antenna Measurements Using Laser Alignment Tools
The majority of precision spherical positioner alignment techniques used today are based on procedures that were developed in the 1970's around the use of precision levels and auto-collimation transits. Electrical alignment techniques based on the phase and amplitude of the antenna under test are also used, but place unwanted limitations on accurately characterizing an antenna's electrical/mechanical boresight relationship. Both of these techniques can be very time consuming. The electrical technique requires operator interpretations of data obtained from amplitude and phase measurements. The autocollimation technique requires operator interpretations of optically viewed measurement data. These results are therefore typically operator dependent and the resulting error quantification can be inaccurate.
MI Technologies has recently developed a mechanical alignment technique for Spherical Near-Field antenna measurements using a tracking laser interferometer system. Once the laser system has been set-up and stabilized in the operational environment; the entire spherical near-field alignment may be completed in a few hours, as compared to the much more lengthy techniques used with level/transit or electrical techniques. This technique also simplifies the quantification of the errors due to the inaccuracy of the alignment.
This paper will discuss the effect of the alignment error on results obtained from spherical near-field measurements, and the procedures MI Technologies developed using a tracking laser interferometer system to obtain the precision alignment needed for a spherical near-field measurement.
Measured Error Terms for the Three-Antenna Gain-Measurement Technique
This paper will detail the implementation and results of a gain calculation performed on standard gain horns (SGHs) in the LS and XN microwave bands. The three-antenna method was used to ensure the highest accuracy possible, and extensive efforts were made to minimize the error budget. The measurement was performed in a large anechoic chamber, with the receive and transmit antennas placed 4.6 meters high in opposing corners. The resulting fifteen meters of aperture separation (approximately 10D2/l. for LS band and 15D2/l for XN band) eliminated all measurable aperture interactions and greatly reduced multipath interference from chamber reflections. Rigorous analysis of the error terms proved this method to be both accurate and reliable. Typical values of measured error terms will be presented.
Cramer-RAO Bound System-Level Analysis for Multi-Mode Spiral Antennas; Single-Element and Arrayed
This paper considers the use of Cramer-Rao bound (CRB) to aid in providing accurate and quantitative system-level trades for antenna direction finding (DF). Past work has focussed on the use of spectral estimation techniques (e.g., MLM and MUSIC) to obtain needed DF accuracy. Here, the CRB is used to quickly assess tradeoffs in determining optimal antenna array positioning on a platform system. We develop the necessary CRB mathematical relations and demonstrate the potential advantage of using multimode spiral antennas over a standard linear phase interferometer (LPI). The standard LPI configuration is used as a baseline for comparison.
Accuracy and Calculation Sensitivity for AFRL Squat Cylinder RCS Calibration Standards
(U) Precise radar cross-section (RCS) calibration are needed for all RCS measurement facilities. In 1996, AFRL began to advocate the use of a series of precision, short cylinder RCS calibration standards, demonstrating consistently greater accuracy than traditional sphere targets. Previous AMTA publications [1,2,3,4] demonstrated the overall measurement fidelity of these targets. However, questions regarding the accuracy and stability of the numerical RCS solutions to these cylinders continue to be raised. This paper will strictly and thoroughly examine the accuracy of several numerical techniques used to predict the AFRL calibration cylinder RCS, and will examine such "real world" issues as gridding sensitivity, conductivity vanat1ons, frequency bandwidth, and practical manufacturing tolerances.
New Compact Antenna Test Range at Allgon Systems AB
Allgon Systems AB has put a new compact antenna test range into operation in July 2000. The investment was triggered by Allgon's planned move to a new building. An indoor facility was preferred for fast and efficient operation. The present primary application is the measurements of base station antennas.
The compact range is constructed using a single reflector with serrated edges. A sophisticated feed carrousel enables automatic changing of 3 feed systems. The size of the quiet zone is 3 meters. The initial frequency range is from 800 to 6000 MHz. However, the reflector accuracy allows future extensions to 40 GHz and higher. The cha mber size is 21 x 12 x 10.5 m (L x W x H). Absorber layout comprises 24, 36 and 48 inch absorbers. An overhead crane spans the entire facility.
The positioner system is configured as roll over azimuth with a lower elevation over azimuth for pick-u p and small elevation angle measurements. Different sizes of masts and roll positioners are available, depending on the AUT.
Instrumentation is based on a HP 8753. Software is based on the FR-959 Plus.
Antenna measurement results show the performance of the facility.
Gravity Deformation Measurements of 70m Reflector Surfaces
Two of NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN) 70-meter reflectors are measured using a Leica TDM-5000 theodolite. The main reflector surface was measured at five elevation angles so that a gravity deformation model could be derived that described the main reflector distortions over the entire range of elevation angles. The report describes the measurement equipment and accuracy and the results derived from the data.