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Ramp sweep accuracy of RCS measurements using the HP 8530A
R. Shoulders (Hewlett-Packard), November 1991

The frequency accuracy of the HP 8530A receiver and HP 8360 Series synthesizers in ramp sweep is measured using a delay line discriminator. The effect of the frequency error on measurement accuracy is derived for radar cross section (RCS) measurements of one and two point constant-amplitude, scatterers and for background subtraction. The results of swept and synthesized frequency measurements are compared, showing that the errors due to ramp sweep are negligibly small for practical RCS measurements.

Swept frequency gain measurements from 33 to 50 GHz at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
M.H. Francis (National Institute of Standards and Technology),R.C. Wittmann (National Institute of Standards and Technology), November 1991

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.

Method of determining the phase center location and stability of wide beam GPS antennas
P.I. Kolesnikoff (Ball Communication Systems Division), November 1991

Some proposed attitude control systems will require sub-millimeter position accuracy and GPS signals. Toward this end, two antenna parameters must be determined and optimized. These two parameters are phase center location and phase center stability. The phase center location is defined as the point whose ideal spherical phase front has the minimum RMS difference between itself and the measured phase data. Phase center stability is the effective movement of a GPS antenna’s phase center caused by the deviation of the radiated phase front from an ideal spherical phase front. The RMS difference between the ideal phase and the measured phase is a good measure of phase center stability. This paper describes a method of determining the phase center location of a wide-beam GPS antenna. Once the phase center is determined, the phase center stability throughout the coverage region (usually a hemisphere) is characterized. Finally, some sources of error are identified. Methods of minimizing the effects of these error sources are addressed.

Compact range bistatic scattering measurements
E. Walton (The Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory),S. Tuhela-Reuning (The Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory), November 1991

This paper will show that it is possible to make bistatic measurements in a compact range environments using near field scanning. A test scanner is designed and operated. Criteria for the accuracy of positioning and repositioning are presented. Algorithms for the transformation of the raw data into bistatic far field calibrated RCS are presented. Examples will be presented where comparisons with theoretical bistatic sphere data are shown. Bistatc pedestal interaction terms will be demonstrated.

Some differences between gated CW and pulse radars in RCS and imaging measurements
R.H. Bryan (Scientific-Atlanta, Inc.), November 1991

This paper compare some of the features and capabilities of gated CW and pulse radars for RCS and imaging measurements. At the conceptual level, these two types of radars are very similar. The primary conceptual difference is that a pulse radar has a relatively high bandwidth receiver while a gated CW system has a relatively narrow bandwidth receiver. The measures of performance of an RCS and imaging system include sensitivity, measurement time, clutter rejection, dynamic range and accuracy. Other considerations such as inter-pulse modulation may be important in some cases. For some applications, typically where long ranges are involved, a pulse system has significant performance advantages. For many applications, the performance advantage of a pulse system is not significant, particularly when viewed in light of the large difference in cost. This is particularly true of Quality Assurance applications which are normally characterized by both short range and lower budgets. Typically, the price of a gated CW system is in the range of ¼ to ½ the price of a comparable pulse system. This paper discusses general similarities and differences in the fundamental operating characteristics of the two systems. Specific performance measures are discussed including system sensitivity, gate performance, clutter rejection, and measurement times. Other considerations such as pulse modulation are discussed. A summary of the various considerations is presented in order to give the reader an understanding of the applications for which a gated CW system is more appropriate.

Radar cross section measurements for computer code validation
S. Mishra (Canadian Space Agency),C. Larose (Canadian Space Agency) C.W. Trueman (Concordia University), November 1991

Computer codes for the computation of scattering are based on physical, mathematical, and numerical assumptions and approximations that impact the accuracy of the results in ways that are not obvious or quantifiable analytically. This paper stresses the usefulness of a concurrent measurement program to provide reliable RCS data for targets of special interest in establishing the range of validity of the various assumptions upon which a specific computer code is based. This in turn assists in developing “modelling guidelines” restricting the design of computer models for input to the code such that reasonable accurate results are likely to be obtained.

Range instrumentation performance verification and traceability
D. Lynch (Hewlett-Packard Company), November 1991

This paper will discuss the need for performance verification, or calibration, of the transmitter and receiver systems used in an antenna or RCS range. Errors introduced by the range and positioning system means the instrumentation’s performance must be measured independently of the range and positioner. The performance verification should insure that the measurement system exceeds the manufactures’ specifications by a reasonable margin. The verification must be performed with the equipment installed on the range to insure adequate performance on the range. The system must als be verified as a system, rather than individual instruments. This guarantees that measurement errors in each instrument will not add together to exceed the system’s specifications. Testing of the system should be easy and repeatable to insure accuracy of the verification by the test technician. The tests should also be documented for later reference. The measurements should be traceable to a local standard such as NIST to certify the accuracy and stability of the measurement. The verification should be repeated on a regular basis to insure continued accuracy of the measurement system.

Range field compensation
D.N. Black (Georgia Institute of Technology),E.B. Joy (Georgia Institute of Technology), M.G. Guler (Georgia Institute of Technology), R.E. Wilson (Georgia Institute of Technology), November 1991

The accuracy of antenna measurements can be improved by compensating for the effects of extraneous fields present in an antenna range using analytical compensation techniques. Range field compensation is a new technique to provide increased measurement accuracy by compensating for extraneous fields created by refection and scattering of the range antenna field from fixed objects in the range and by leakage of the range antenna RF system from a fixed location in the range. The range antenna field must be the dominant field in the range, and the range field cannot change for different AUTs. Existing compensation techniques are limited in the amount of compensation they can provide. The range field is measured over a spherical surface encompassing the test zone using a low gain probe. The measured range field is used in subsequent antenna measurements to compensate for the effects of extraneous fields. This technique is demonstrated using measurements simulated for an anechoic chamber far-field range.

Measurement receiver error analysis for rapidly varying input signals
O.M. Caldwell (Scientific-Atlanta Inc.), November 1991

An assessment of instrumentation error sources and their respective contributions to overall accuracy is essential for optimizing an electromagnetic field measurement system. This study quantifies the effects of measurement receiver signal processing and the relationship to its transient response when performing measurements on rapidly varying input signals. These signals can be encountered from electronically steered phased arrays, from switched front end receive RF multiplexers, from rapid mechanical scanning, or from dual polarization switched source antennas. Numerical error models are presented with examples of accuracy degradation versus input signal dynamics and the type of receiver IF processing system that is used. Simulations of far field data show the effects on amplitude patterns for differing rate of change input conditions. Criteria are suggested which can establish a figure of merit for receivers measuring input signals with large time rates of change.

Applications of portable near-field antenna measurement systems
G. Hindman (Nearfield Systems Incorporated), November 1991

Portable near-field measurement systems can provide significant flexibility to both large companies seeking to increase their antenna test capabilities, and small companies looking for their first investment in a test range. There are many unique applications for portable near-field antenna measurement systems in addition to their use for standard antenna performance measurements. Some additional applications include flight-line testing, anechoic chamber quiet zone imaging, and EMI testing. Many of NSI’s near-field systems have been portable designs, capable of being set up in a small lab or office and easily relocated. Key features required for use of a portable system are rapid setup, simplicity of use, low cost, and accuracy. This paper will be focused on practical experience with installing, calibrating, and operating portable near-field measurement systems. It will also cover tradeoffs in their design, and usage in a variety of applications.

General analytic correction of probe-position errors in spherical near-field measurments
L.A. Muth (National Institute of Standards and Technology), November 1991

A recently developed analytic technique that can correct for probe position errors in planar near-field measurements to arbitrary accuracy [1] is shown to be also applicable to spherical near-field data after appropriate modifications. The method has been used to successfully remove errors in the near-field, hence leading to more accurate far-field patterns, even if the maximum error in the probe’s position is as large as 0.2?. Only the error-contaminated near-field measurements and an accurate probe position error function are needed to be able to implement the correction technique. It is assumed that the probe position error function is a characteristic of the near-field range, and that it has been obtained using state-of-the-art laser positioning and precision optical systems. The method also requires the ability to obtain derivatives of the error contaminated near-field defined on an error-free regular grid with respect to the coordinates. In planar geometry the derivatives are obtained using FFTs [1], and, in spherical geometry, one needs to compute derivatives of Hankel functions for radical errors, and derivatives of the spherical electric and magnetic vector basis functions for errors in the ? and Ø coordinates. The error-correction technique has been shown to work well for errors in and of the spherical coordinates r, ? or Ø. Efficient computer codes have been developed to demonstrate the technique using computer simulations.

The Effect of range errors on phase measurements of a spiral antenna
S. McMillan (Ball Communication Systems Division), November 1991

Phase relationships between the three dominant modes on a four armed spiral can be used to perform broad band, direction of arrival estimates, but this requires accurate estimates of the phase behavior of the antenna both in the design stage and for calibration purposes. Unfortunately, imperfections in range design make the measurement and interpretation of phase information extremely difficult. This paper describes an approach where the imperfections of the range and the behavior of the antenna are modelled, and range effects removed from antenna data through antenna motion, and frequency change. This technique obtained tremendous accuracy at the cost of large amounts of data processing.

Antenna test range validation
J. Lemanczyk (Technical University of Denmark),O. Breinbjerg (Technical University of Denmark), R. Torres (ESA-ESTEC-XEE), November 1991

Antenna specifications for space applications are very stringent in most cases requiring that antenna measurement facilities be validated before testing can proceed. One method by which this validation can be achieved is by means of antenna test range intercomparisons which entail the measurement of a suitable test antenna at several ranges wherein one range acts as a control laboratory. The problems of such an intercomparison manifest themselves in the availability of suitable validation antennas as well as a clear definition of test parameters and the standardization of comparison procedures to ensure accuracy, reliability and consistency. The several test range intercomparisons carried out by the Technical University of Denmark (TUD) under contract from the European Space Agency (ESA) provide the basis for the current effort under ESA contract to define a suitable validation antenna, design and acquire an antenna for 12 GHz operation as well as defining a Verification Test Plan.

Superresolution signal processing for RCS measurement analysis
B.W. Deats (Flam & Russell, Inc.),D. Farina (Flam & Russell, Inc.), November 1991

Superresolution (SR) processing techniques have been used for many years in direction finding applications. These techniques have proved valuable in extracting more information from a limited data set than conventional Fourier analysis would yield. SR techniques have recently proven to be an extremely powerful radar cross section (RCS) analysis tool. Typical resolution improvements of 2 to 30 times may be achieved over conventional Fourier-based range domain data in both the one-dimensional and two-dimensional image domains. Typical measurement scenarios which can most benefit from SP processing are presented. These include: VHF/UHF RCS measurements, measurement of resonant targets, and performing detailed scattering analysis on complex bodies. Measurement examples are presented illustrating the use of SR processing in a variety of test conditions. When the advantages of SR processing are combined with the accuracy of Fourier techniques, a new window is opened through which target scattering characteristics can be seen more clearly than ever.

Design your measurement system for optimum throughput
G. McCarter (Hewlett-Packard Company), November 1991

To achieve optimum measurement accuracy and range throughput in antenna and radar cross-section (RCS) measurement applications requires a careful and thorough design of the measurement system. Measurement accuracy requirements, test time objectives, system flexibility, and system costs must all be balanced to achieve an optimum system design. Considering these issues independently will result in unwanted and/or unexpected system performance tradeoffs. This paper examines these issues in some detail and suggests a system design approach which balances microwave performance and measurement speed with system cost.

VHF/UHF RCS measurements in indoor microwave facility
J. Saget (Dassault Electronique),J. Garat (CEA/CESTA), November 1990

Radar cross section (RCS) measurements were performed in the 0.1-1 GHz band in an anechoic chamber optimized for microwave frequencies. Selection of proper instrumentation, antennas, measurement techniques and processing software are discussed. Experimental results, showing the accuracy and sensibility of the system are presented.

Antenna phase measurements at 105-190 GHz
J. Tuovinen (Helsinki University of Technology),A. Lehto (Helsinki University of Technology) A. Raisanen (Helsinki University of Technology), November 1990

A novel differential phase measurement method is developed. No flexible cables or rotary joints are needed in this method. Phase center positions and phase patterns of two corrugated horns are measured at 105-115 GHz and 176-190 GHz by using this method. Good agreement between the measured values and theoretical values, calculated with the modal matching technique, is obtained. Also a new phase error correction method is introduced. This method makes possible to measure the phase error in the cable and then to remove the error numerically from the results. The accuracy of the phase error correction is limited by the phase measurement device in the system. Experimentally this method is verified at 10 GHz.

Laser tracker for radar calibration sphere position measurement
W.D. Sherman (Boeing Defense and Space Group),C.R. Pond (Boeing Defense and Space Group), M.D. Voth (Boeing Defense and Space Group), P.D. Texeira (Boeing Defense and Space Group), November 1990

A laser tracker using a computer controlled feedback loop has been designed and tested. The tracker follows a small retroreflector embedded in a radar calibration sphere. Angle encoders coupled to two orthogonal scanning mirrors give azimuth and elevation pointing angles to the target. Phase measurements of an intensity modulated laser beam give change in distance to the target, while absolute range is determined by knowing the initial 2p ambiguity interval of the target position. The crossrange accuracy of the system is limited by the scanning mirror encoders to =.063 inches rms at 105 feet (50 microradians). The downrange accuracy of the system is ˜.015 inches rms. This versatile system can be used for: a) contour measurements of models with the aid of a retroreflector moving over the surface, b) accurate determination of the coordinates of a single moving target, and c) determination of the orientation of a large extended target. Anticipated modifications of the system, with their potential precision measurement capabilities and applications, are discussed.

High performance hardware gate improves compact range performance
A.R. Lamb (Hughes Aircraft Company),H. Hgai (Hughes Aircraft Company), J. Paul (Hughes Aircraft Company), Y. Chu (Hughes Aircraft Company), November 1990

Comparative measurements have been made in a compact range to determine the performance improvements that can be achieved when adding a hardware gate to a CW-based measurement system. Starting with conventional stepped frequency CW measurements made in the time domain mode, high resolution downrange data was collected to determine the background levels of the compact range. This was followed by comparative measurements under the same conditions adding a narrow pulsed hardware gate to reject inter-horn coupling and high returns from the compact reflector. A second mode of comparison was examined by collecting aspect data with a specific range gate fixed about the target. Software gated measurements required more points to insure alias free operation, while the hardware gated measurements allowed fewer points which reduced measurement time without sacrificing any accuracy. Finally, imaging measurements were made with both software and hardware gating to compare the measurement time and accuracy

Short term stability performance of pulsed instrumentation radars using TWTAS
J. Allison (Hughes Aircraft Company),J. Paul (Hughes Aircraft Company), R. Santos (Hughes Aircraft Company), November 1990

Pulse-to-pulse amplitude and phase noise can affect the overall measurement accuracy of RCS instrumentation radars. Depending upon the measurement requirements, such noise can limit the overall performance whenever pulse-to-pulse repeatability is required in the signal processing. Radar systems using pulsed TWTAs are subject to high noise due to limitations in the performance of the TWTA modulators and power supplies. A characterization of this additive noise is important to understand the limitations in system performance. Measurements have been made on kilowatt power TWTAs at L and X band as well as 20 watt pulsed TWTAs at S, C, and X/Ku band at various duty cycles and PRFs.

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