AMTA Paper Archive
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Transverse pattern comparison method for characterizing antenna and RCS compact ranges, The
This paper briefly reviews existing compact range performance characterization methods showing the limitations of each technique and the need for an accepted and well understood technique which provides efficient and accurate characterization of compact range measurement accuracy. A technique known as the transverse pattern comparison method is then described which has been practiced by the author and some range users for the past several years. The method is related to the well known longitudinal pattern comparison method, however, comparisons are conducted in the transverse planes where the required span of aperture displacement is much smaller and does not exceed the dimensions of the quiet zone. This method provides several advantages for characterizing compact range performance as well as enables range users to improve achievable measurement accuracies by eliminating the impact of extraneous signal errors in the quiet zone.
Effect of spherical measurement surface size on the accuracy of test zone field predictions, The
The field present in the test zone of an antenna measurement range can be calculated from the range field measured on a spherical surface containing the test zone. Calculated test zone fields are accurate only within a spherical volume concentric to the measurement surface. This paper presents a technique for determining the probing radius necessary to create a volume of accuracy containing the test zone of the range. The volume of accuracy radium limit is caused by the spherical mode filtering property of the displaced probe. This property is demonstrated in the paper using measured field data for probes of differing displacement radii. This property is used to determine the volume of accuracy radium from the probing radius. This is demonstrated using measured far-field range data.
HARC/STAR Microwave Measurement Facility: physical description and capabilities, The
A complete description is given of the unique radar cross-section (RCS) measurement facility built at the Houston Advanced Research Center in The Woodlands, TX. The uniqueness of this chamber comes from its ability to independently move the transmit and receive antennas, which can each be moved to any position within their respective ranges of motion to a resolution of about 0.05 degrees. The transmit antenna is fixed in azimuth, but can be moved in elevation: the receive antenna is free to move in both azimuth and elevation. Additionally, the target can be rotated in azimuth by means of an azimuth positioner. Analysis has been performed to determine the impact of chamber effects on measurement accuracy. The most notable chamber effect comes from the two large aluminum truss structures, which are the mounting supports for the transmit and receive antennas. Fortunately, the scattering from these structures can be readily separated from the desired target return through the use of range (time) gating. Time domain results are presented showing the effects of these structures.
HARC/STAR Microwave Measurement Facility: measurement and calibration results, The
Numerous monostatic radar cross-section (RCS) calibration routines exist in the literature. Many of these routines have been implemented at the RCS measurement facility built at the Houston Advanced Research Center in The Woodlands, TX. Key monostatic results are presented to give an indication of the measurement accuracy achievable with this chamber. Unfortunately, bistatic calibration routines are not nearly as common in the literature. As with the monostatic routines, a number of bistatic routines have been implemented and typical results are presented. Additionally, descriptions are given for some of the reference targets along with their support structures that are used during calibration.
Spherical nearfield measurement of a large deployable multibeam satellite antenna
A large deployable multibeam antenna for communication satellites operating in the Ka band with 2.5 GHz transmit/receive bandwidth was developed and measured. The antenna is an offset Cassegain system with a 4.7 m diameter mail reflector divided into a central and 24 rigid deployable panels. One application studied in detail was the continuous illumination of the FRG with 16 beams. Spherical nearfield measurement techniques were used to validate the predicted performance. Because the gravity influence would cause inadmissible deformations, a compensation device must be used. To take into account the influence of the remaining deformations varying with the elevation position of the antenna, a special analysis software was developed which uses measured surface coordinates. Because measured and computed values agree well, it is possible to predict the performance in orbit precisely. A pointing accuracy of 0.01 degrees was achieved by adjustment of the sub reflector using a monopulse tracking system.
New extrapolation algorithm for high resolution imaging applications
In ISAR applications data is acquired on a circular grid. In further processing, data on a rectangular grid is obtained by interpolation. This causes the loss of data outside the interpolated area. The latter can be corrected by extrapolation, but this can give incorrect information. A new technique s proposed which uses a larger rectangular area than in the above mentioned case. Some parts of this rectangle are calculated by extrapolation. Because most of the data in the larger rectangular area consists of original data, only minor parts are extrapolated. Consequently, this method is expected to be more reliable than traditional extrapolation techniques. Simulations have shown that the data obtained by the new interpolation - extrapolation scheme provide a considerable improvement to the amplitude - and phase accuracy across the enlarged rectangular grid.
RCS target non-contact position measurements
ORBIT's String Reel Target Manipulation System is used to support and rotate a target during RCS measurements. One of the challenges in this kind of RCS measurement is to accurately determine the position of the target in space, since the weight and moment of inertia of the target and the string flexibility do not allow measuring its position with conventional methods (linear encoder, etc.). In order to overcome this problem, the Non-Contact Optical Measurement System (NCOMS) has been developed and tested at ORBIT. The system provides the capability for precision tracking of the target position (X, Y, Z) and orientation (ROLL, PITCH, YAW). NCOMS is a computer-controlled system and operates by using two standard CCD cameras (stereo technique), as well as by use of a single camera with insignificant accuracy degradation. Another advantage of NCOMS is that the system operation does not require accurate camera positioning. The only requirements for CCD camera installation are target visibility and use convenience.
Novel APC-methods for accurate pattern determination
Antenna pattern measurements are dominantly influenced by the presence of extraneous fields in the test zone. A fast and simple way to recognize problems in pattern measurements provides the Antenna Pattern Comparison-technique (APC). This method usually consists of recording azimuthal patterns on different positions across the test zone. Differences in the amplitude data give a rough indication for the magnitude of the interfering signal. The "Novel APC-method" (NAPC) employs both amplitude- and phase-data so that it becomes possible to separate the direct and the extraneous signals from each other. It will be shown that this method is eminently suited to correct radiation patterns of high-gain and low-sidelobe antennas. For verification purposes corrected patterns are compared with time-dated ones and the resemblance is excellent. It is concluded that the NAPC-method is promising and powerful technique for accurate antenna pattern determination, mainly because it can be easily implemented for most applications.
Hughes Aircraft Company RCS/antenna measurement chamber characterization
The Hughes Aircraft Company Compact Range facility for antenna and RCS measurements, scheduled for completion in 1993, is described. The facility features two compact ranges. Chamber 1 was designed for a 4 to 6 foot quiet zone, and Chamber 2 was designed for a 10 to 14 foot quiet zone. Each chamber is TEMPEST shielded with 1/4 inch welded steel panels to meet NSA standard 65-6 for RF isolation greater than 100 dB up to 100 GHz, with personnel access through double inter locked Huntley RFI/EMI sliding pneumatic doors certified to maintain 100 dB isolation. While Chamber 1 is designed to operate in the frequency range from 2 to 100 GHz, Chamber 2 is designed for the 1 to 100 GHz region. Both RCS measurements and antenna field patterns/gain measurements can be made in each chamber. The reflectors used are the March Microwave Dual Parabolic Cylindrical Reflector System with the sub-reflector mounted on the ceiling to permit horizontal target cuts to be measured in the symmetrical plane of the reflector system.
Modeling System Reflections To Quantify RCS Measurement Errors
RCS measurement accuracy is degraded by reflections occurring between the feed antenna, the range, and the radar subsystem. These reflections produce errors which appear in the image domain (both 1-D and 2-D). The errors are proportional to the RCS magnitude of the target under test and they are present in each of the typical range calibration measurements. Current 2-term error models do not predict or account for the above errors. An improved 8-term error model is developed to do so. The model is based on measurable reflections and losses within the range, the feed antenna, and the radar. By combining the improved error model with the commonly used 2-term RCS range calibration equation, we are able to quantify the residual RCS errors. The improved error model is validated with measured results on a direct illumination range and is used to develop specific techniques which can improve RCS measurement accuracy.
Dynamic air-to-air imaging measurement system
METRATEK has completed a highly successful program to prove the feasibility of high-resolution, air-to-air diagnostic radar cross section imaging of large aircraft in flight. Experience with the system has proven that large aircraft can indeed be imaged in flight with the same quality and calibration accuracy that can be achieved with indoor and outdoor ranges. This paper addresses the results of those measurements and the Model 100 AIRSAR radar and processing system that were used on this program.
An Implementation of the three cable method
The three cable method for removing the amplitude and phase variations of microwave cables due to temperature change and movement can offer a substantial improvement in antenna measurement accuracy. Implementation details of the method are provided for a planar near-field range. Items specifically addressed are range configuration, hardware requirements, data collection methodology, identification and assessment of error sources, and data reduction requirements.
Measurements for the verification of antenna temperature calculations for reflector antennas
One antenna characteristic that is difficult to predict accurately is the antenna temperature. There are two basic reasons this is true. First, the effect of the full volumetric radiation pattern of the antenna must be taken into account. Secondly, the antenna temperature calculation requires knowledge of the noise power incident on the antenna, from the environment in which it is operating. This paper describes a measurement program which was undertaken to establish the accuracy of a model which is being used to predict antenna temperature for earth based reflector antennas. The measurements were conducted at 11 GHz, using an 8-foot diameter Cassegrain reflector antenna in an outdoor environment. The measurements are compared to predictions generated by The Ohio State University Reflector Antenna Code. Use of the reflector code allows the full volumetric pattern of the antenna, including all sidelobes, backlobes and cross-polarized response, to be included in the calculation. Additionally, the contribution to the antenna temperature from the various regions of the pattern can be calculated separately and analyzed.
A Hologram type of compact antenna test range
The applications of conventional reflector type compact antenna test ranges (CATR), becomes increasingly difficult above 100 GHz. The main problems are the tight surface accuracy requirements for the reflector, and therefore the high manufacturing costs. These problems can be overcome by the use of a new hologram type of compact range, in which a planar hologram structure is used as a collimating element. This new idea is described, and its performance is studied with theoretical analyses and measurements at 110 GHz.
Characterizing compact range performance for space communication antenna applications
This paper addresses measurement requirements for space communication antennas and identifies antenna parameters most influenced by indoor compact range quiet zone quality. These parameters include sidelobe level, beam pointing, and gain. The compact range mechanisms limiting measurement accuracy are identified and discussed. Proven methods for characterizing quiet zone performance are described and demonstrated through illustration and example. Analysis is presented which related quiet zone quality characteristics to antenna measurement accuracy. The paper summarizes typical measurement results and error levels achievable for modern compact range systems. Methods for improving compact range performance for satellite antenna testing are also presented.
Stereo optical tracker for compact range models
A Precision Optical Measurement System (POMS) has been designed, constructed and tested for tracking the position (x,y,z) and orientation (roll, pitch, yaw) of models in Boeing's 9-77 Compact Radar Range. A stereo triangulation technique is implemented using two remote sensor units separated by a known baseline. Each unit measures pointing angles (azimuth and elevation) to optical targets on a model. Four different reference systems are used for calibration and alignment of the system's components and two platforms. Pointing angle data and calibration corrections are processed at high rates to give near real-time feedback to the mechanical positioning system of the model. The positional accuracy of the system is (plus minus) .010 inches at a distance of 85 feet while using low RCS reflective tape targets. The precision measurement capabilities and applications of the system are discussed.
Design considerations for a planar near-field scanner
Planar Near-Field scanning is becoming the method of choice for testing many types of antennas. These antennas include planar phased arrays, space deployable satellite antennas and other antennas either too large to move during the test or otherwise sensitive to the gravity vector. The planar scanner is a major component of the measurement system and must provide an accurate and stable platform for moving the RF probe across the test antenna's aperture. This paper describes basic design requirements for a planar near-field scanner. Based on recent development activity at Scientific-Atlanta several design considerations are presented. Scanner parameters discussed include basic scanner concepts and geometry, scanner accuracy and stability, RF system including cabling and accuracy, load carrying requirements of the RF probe carriage, position and readout systems and drive and control systems. A scanner will be presented which incorporates many of the design features discussed.
Speed and accuracy for near-field scanning measurements
Rapid data acquisition is crucial in making comprehensive near-field scanning tests of electronically-steered phased array antennas. Multiplexed data sets can now be acquired very rapidly with high speed automatic data acquisition. To obtain high speed without giving up accuracy in probe position a feature termed subinterval triggering has been devised. To obtain simultaneously reliable thermal drift or tie scan data a feature termed block tie scans has been devised. This paper describes these two features that yield speed and accuracy in planar near-field scanning measurements.
The Commissioning of a fast planar near-field facility
Some of the novel mechanical and electronic subsystems features on a recently installed high specification planar near-field scanner are described together with a discussion of the problems encountered during the commissioning period. The test facility incorporates a number of novel design concepts both in terms of its instrumentation, control and processing subsystems. Features of the facility are the speed of data acquisition and the accuracy of the acquired near-field data. Scan speeds of up to 0.8 m/s and positional accuracies of 30 microns in the Z-axis have been achieved, and the near-field data is acquired, displayed and measured on the fly, hence allowing a typical 3m x 3m scan to be executed and the measured near-field results to be displayed and processed within a period of thirty minutes.
Swept frequency gain measurements from 33 to 50 GHz at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
As part of an effort to provide improved measurement services at frequencies above 30 GHz, scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have completed development of a swept frequency gain measurement service for the 33-50 GHz band. This service gives gain values with an accuracy of ± 0.3 dB. In this paper we discuss an example measurement and the associated errors.
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