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High Performance Dual Polarized Near-Field Probe at V-Band Provides Increased Performances for Millimeter Wave Spherical Near-Field Measurements
Andrea Giacomini, Lars Foged, Edward Szpindor, Wenji Zhang, Per Iversen, October 2017
The expanding market for millimeter wave antennas is drivinga need for high performance near-field antenna measurement systems at these frequencies. Traditionally at millimeter waves, acquisition of two orthogonal polarizations have been achieved through mechanical rotation of a single polarized probe and an associated frequency conversion module. This generally results in the collection of two complete spherical data sets, one for each polarization,with both acquisitions significantly separated in time. To enable improvements in both measurement speed and accuracy, MVG have developed a new high performance dual polarized feed in V-band (50GHz-75GHz). This probe has been integrated in a millimeter wave Spherical Near-Field (SNF) system via two parallel receiver channels that are simultaneously sampled. This architecture more than doubles the acquisition speed and additionally ensures that the two polarization components are sampled at precisely the same point in space and time. This is particularly important when performing accurate polarization analysis (e.g. conversion of dual linear polarization to spherical/elliptical polarizations). The two measurement channels are calibrated via radiated boresight measurements over a range of polarization angles, generating a four term “ortho-mode” correction matrix vs. frequency. The SNF probe is based on an axially corrugated aperture providing a medium gain pattern (14dBi). The probe provides symmetric cuts and low cross-polarization levels in the diagonal planes. The directivity/beam-width of the aperture has been tailored to the measurement system, ensuring proper AUT illumination and sufficient gain to compensate for free space path loss. Dual polarization capability is achieved with an integrated turnstile OMT feeding directly into the probe circular waveguide and a conical matching stub at the bottom. Thanks to the balanced feed used for each polarization, the port-to-port coupling is sufficiently low to allow for simultaneous acquisition of the two linear field components. Input ports are based on standard WR-15 waveguide to simplify the integration with the front-end (dual channel receiver). The paper will present the detailed description and measured performances of the new dual polarized SNF probe. Additionally, measurement time and achieved accuracy will be compared between the single polarization probe architecture and the dual polarized probe installed in the same spherical near-field antenna measurement system.
Determination of the Far Field Radiation Pattern of an Antenna from a Set of Sparse Near Field Measurements
Scott Kordella, Kenneth Grimm, November 2016
This work introduces a new technique in electromagnetic antenna near-field to far-field transformation (NF/FF). The NF/FF transformation is based on the solution of an inverse problem in which the measured NF and predicted FF values are attributed to a set of equivalent electric and magnetic surface currents which lie on a convex arbitrary surface that is conformal to the antenna under test (AUT). The NF points are conformal to the AUT, reducing the number of samples and relaxing positioning requirements used in conventional spherical, cylindrical and planar NF/FF geometries. A pseudo inversion of the matrix representing the mapping of the equivalent sources into the near-field samples is obtained by using the singular value decomposition (SVD). The SVD is used to form an approximation of the inverse of the matrix. This inverse, when multiplied by the NF measurement vector, solves for the efficiently radiating components of the current, and not the essentially non-radiating components of current which are not visible in the measurements. The inversion technique used is robust in the presence of measurement noise and provides a stable solution for the unknown currents. The FF is computed from the currents in a straightforward manner. The work develops the theoretical foundation for the approach and investigates the FF reconstruction accuracy of the technique for a test case. Approved for Public Release; Distribution Unlimited. Case Number 16-0884 The author's affiliation with The MITRE Corporation is provided for identification purposes only, and is not intended to convey or imply MITRE's concurrence with, or support for, the positions, opinions or viewpoints expressed by the author.
Phase Error Characterization of a Space-Fed Array
Brian Holman, Jacob Houck, Philip Brady, November 2016
GTRI has been developing a method for insertion phase calibration, as discussed in the paper “Insertion Phase Calibration of Space-Fed Arrays,” which was presented at AMTA in 2015 [1]. This method has been implemented to characterize the phase response of phase shifters in a system currently under fabrication at GTRI. One of the primary requirements for the phased-array antenna of this system is a maximum RMS phase error. The RMS phase error for this array is influenced by a variety of error sources, including phase shifter quantization, beam steering computer (BSC) algorithmic error, phase shifter unpredictability error, test fixture induced error, phase shifter thermal drift, and phase shifter frequency dependency. Each of these error sources has been categorized as either a non-deterministic error, whose behavior can be statistically characterized but not calibrated out, or as a deterministic error, whose behavior can be characterized and potentially calibrated out. The non-deterministic errors include element unpredictability, which is induced by the inability of an individual phase shifter to precisely repeat a given phase command, and errors induced by the calibration test fixture itself. The deterministic errors include phase shifter quantization error, which is a function of the phase state bit precision, BSC algorithmic error, which is driven by the numerical preciseness of calculation of the commanded phase states for each element, thermal driven phase drift, and phase shifter frequency dependency across the band of operation. To calibrate the insertion phase and phase-state response curves for all phase shifters used in the system, a custom-built calibration fixture was constructed into a septum wall that separates two semi-anechoic chambers. The realized phase-error budget of the system under fabrication was affected directly by the accuracy of both the calibration method and this fixture. We will present our analysis of all phase-error sources as they contribute to the overall phase-error design goal of the system. We have shown how the design and implementation of both the calibration fixture and methodology meet that goal.
Far Field Uncertainty due to Noise and Receiver Nonlinearity in Planar-Near Field Measurements
Serge Balma, Dominique Picard, Pascal Meisse, November 2016
The uncertainty of the far field, obtained from antenna planar near field measurements, against the dynamic range is investigated by means of statistical analysis. The dynamic range is usually limited by the noise floor for low level signals and by the receiver saturation for high level signals. The noise level could be important for high measurement rate, which requires the usage of a high signal level to ensure a sufficient signal to noise ratio. As a result the nonlinearities are increasing, thus a compromise must be accomplished. To evaluate the effects of the limited near field dynamic range on the far field, numerical simulations are performed for dipoles array. Initially, the synthetic near field data corresponding to a given antenna under test were generated and directly processed to yield the corresponding far field patterns. Many far field parameters such as gain, beam width, maximum sidelobe level, etc. are determined and recorded as the error-free values of these parameters. Afterwards, the synthetic near field data are deliberately corrupted by noise and receiver nonlinearities while varying the amplitude through small, medium and large values. The error-corrupted near field data are processed to yield the far field patterns, and the error-corrupted values of the far field parameters are calculated. Finally, a statistical analysis was conducted by means of comparison between the error-corrupted parameters and the error-free parameters to provide a quantitative evaluation of the effects of near field errors on the different far field parameters.
BIANCHA: A spherical indoor facility for bistatic electromagnetic tests
Patricia López-Rodríguez, Olga Hernán-Vega, David Poyatos-Martínez, David Escot-Bocanegra, November 2016
BIANCHA (BIstatic ANechoic CHAmber) is a singular facility located at the premises of the National Institute for Aerospace Technology (INTA), Spain, and was devised to perform a wide variety of electromagnetic tests and to research into innovative measurement techniques that may need high positioning accuracy. With this facility, both monostatic and bistatic tests can be performed, providing capability for a variety of electromagnetic measurements, such as the electromagnetic characterization of a material, the extraction of the bistatic radar cross section (RCS) of a target, near-field antenna measurements or material absorption measurements by replicating the NRL arch system. BIANCHA consists of two elevated scanning arms holding two antenna probes. While one scanning arm sweeps from one horizon to the other, the second scanning arm is mounted on the azimuth turntable. As a result, BIANCHA provides capability to perform measurements at any combination of angles, establishing a bistatic, spherical field scanner. In this regard, it is worth noting that in the last years, a renewed interest has arisen in bistatic radar. Some of the main reasons behind this renaissance are the recent advances in passive radar systems added to the advantages that bistatic radar can offer to detect stealth platforms. On the other hand, with the aim of developing new aeronautic materials with desired specifications, research on the electromagnetic properties of materials have also attracted much attention, demanding engineers and scientists to assess how these materials may affect the radar response of a target. Consequently, this paper introduces BIANCHA and demonstrates its applicability for these purposes by presenting results of different tests for different applications: a bistatic scattering analysis of scaled aircraft targets and the extraction of the electromagnetic properties of composite materials utilized in an actual aeronautical platform.
Efficient Full-Wave Algorithms for Monostatic RCS of Electrically Large Structures
Oscar Borries, Erik Jørgensen, Peter Meincke, November 2016
Finding the monostatic radar cross section (RCS) of a structure using computational electromagnetics (CEM) is a challenging task, particularly when the structure is large in terms of wavelengths. Such structures are challenging due to the large computational requirements, often combined with high accuracy demands and/or complicated geometry. Previously, these challenges have resulted in algorithms that either relax the accuracy requirements by using asymptotic methods or, if full-wave methods are used, require extreme runtimes even on very large computing clusters. For full-wave methods based on an integral equation formulation, such as Method of Moments (MoM), the reason for the large computational requirements can be found in the O(f^6) computational time scaling of monostatic RCS, where f is the frequency. Acceleration algorithms such as the Multi-Level Fast Multipole Method (MLFMM) reduce this to O(C(f,v) f^2 log f), where C(f,v) is the number of iterations required for convergence of an iterative solver, and v is the number of incident angles. Unfortunately, in most state-of-the-art implementations of monostatic RCS, C(f,v) is very large, meaning that in practice MoM is preferred to avoid an iterative solver. In this paper, we describe a range of efforts towards developing an efficient algorithm for large-scale monostatic RCS, in particular for structures that are too large to handle for MoM. These efforts include an efficient discretization based on higher-order basis functions and quadrilateral meshing of the structure, an MLFMM implementation focused on keeping memory requirements low, and a highly efficient block Krylov solver. The efficient higher-order discretization has already proven its worth for scattering problems, and the paper will demonstrate how its advantages over traditional RWG discretizations make it perfectly suited for RCS computation. In particular, combining the low amount of unknowns with a strong preconditioner allows rapid convergence of the iterative solver. The use of a low-memory MLFMM implementation, tailored for higher-order basis functions, means that problems of unprecedented size can be handled even on ordinary workstations, i.e., without resorting to expensive computing clusters. Finally, recent work on block Krylov solvers, along with interpolation algorithms for linear systems with a large amount of right-hand sides and efficient stopping criteria, allows a short computing time by significantly reducing the number of iterations.
Gain antenna measurement using single cut near field measurements
Manuel Sierra Castañer, Francesco Saccardi, Lars Foged, November 2016
There are some antennas where rapid validation is required, maintaining a reduced measurement space and sufficient accuracy in the calculation of some antenna parameters as gain. In particular, for cellular base station antennas in production phase the measurement time is a limitation, and a rapid check of the radiation performance becomes very useful. Also, active phased arrays require a high measurement time for characterizing all the possible measurement conditions, and special antenna measurement systems are required for their characterization. This paper presents a single or dual cut near field antenna test procedure for the measurement of the gain of antennas, especially for separable array antennas. The test set-up is based on an azimuth positioner and a near to far field transformation software based on the expansion of the measurements in cylindrical modes. The paper shows results for gain measurements: first near to far field transformation is performed using the cylindrical modes expansion assuming a zero-height cylinder. This allows the use of a FFT in the calculation of the far field pattern including probe correction. In the case of gain, a near to far field transformation factor is calculated for theta = 0 degrees, using the properties of separable arrays. This factor is used in the gain calculation by comparison technique. Depending on the antenna shape one or two main cuts are required for the calculation of the antenna gain: for linear arrays it is enough to use the vertical cut (larger dimension of the antenna), for planar array antenna 2 cuts are necessary, unless the array was squared assuming equal performance in both planes. Also, this method can be extrapolated to other kind of antennas: the paper will check the capabilities and limitations of the proposed method. The paper is structured in this way: section 1 presents the measurement system. Section 2 presents the algorithms for near to far field transformation and gain calculation. Section 3 presents the validation of the algorithm. Section 4 presents the results of the measurement of different antennas (horns, base station arrays, reflectors) to analyze the limitations of the algorithm.  Section 5 includes the conclusions.
Compact First-Order Probe for Spherical Near-Field Antenna Measurements at P-band
Oleksiy Kim, November 2016
A number of European Space Agency's (ESA) initiatives planned for the current decade require metrology level accuracy antenna measurements at frequencies extending from L-band to as low as 400 MHz. The BIOMASS radar, the Galileo navigation and search and rescue services could be mentioned among others. To address the needs, the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), who operates ESA’s external reference laboratory “DTU-ESA Spherical Near-Field (SNF) Antenna Test Facility”, in years 2009-2011 developed a 0.4-1.2 GHz wide-band higher-order probe. Even though the probe was manufactured of light-weight materials -- aluminium and carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP) -- it still weighs 22.5 kg and cannot be handled by a single person without proper lifting tools. Besides that, a higher-order probe correction technique necessary to process the measurement data obtained with such a probe is by far more demanding in terms of the computational complexity as well as in terms of calibration and post- processing time than the first-order probe correction. On the other hand, conventional first-order probes for SNF antenna measurements utilizing open-ended cylindrical waveguides or conical horns fed by cylindrical waveguides operating in the fundamental TE11-mode regime also become excessively bulky and heavy as frequency decreases, and already at 1 GHz an open-ended cylindrical waveguide probe is challengingly large. For example, the largest first-order probe at the DTU-ESA SNF Antenna Test Facility operates in the frequency band 1.4–1.65 GHz and weighs 12 kg. At 400 MHz, a classical first-order probe can easily exceed 1 cubic meter in size and reach 25-30 kg in weight. In this contribution, a compact P-band dual-polarized first-order probe is presented. The probe is based on a concept of a superdirective linear array of electrically small resonant magnetic dipole radiators. The height of the probe is just 365 mm over a 720-mm circular ground plane and it weighs less than 5 kg. The probe covers the bandwidth 421-444 MHz with more than 9 dBi directivity and |µ| ? 1 modes suppressed below -35 dB. The probe design, fabrication, and test results will be discussed.
Measurements and Numerical Simulations to Enhance the Assessment of Antenna Coupling
Lars Foged, Lucia Scialacqua, Andrea Giacomini, Francesco Saccardi, Francesca Mioc, November 2016
The possibility to use Near Field (NF) representation of antenna measurements in terms of equivalent currents, implemented in the commercial tool INSIGHT, is recently available in most CEM solvers. This method allows to use measured data to enhance numerical simulations in complex and/or large scenarios where antennas are installed. In the past this approach has been investigated and validated by determining the antenna radiation pattern in different antenna placement conditions. The aim of this paper is to present how this method can be extended for simulation of antenna coupling. Indeed using this innovative approach, after antennas are measured, their measured models can be imported in CEM tools and coupling with other radiators in arbitrary configurations can be simulated. No information about mechanical and/or electrical design of the measured antenna model are needed by the CEM tool, since the measured NF model in terms of equivalent currents already fully represents the antenna. Investigations have been performed on a H/V polarized array of three identical elements. Only the radiation pattern of the central element of the array has been measured, then starting from the measured data, the coupling between the other elements has been simulated by numerical tools. Accuracy of the procedure has been checked comparing the simulated results with the measured data of the entire array antenna. The testing procedure combining measurements and simulations consists of the following stages: ·      Measurement of the single element of the array and creation of the measured NF source representation. ·      Importing NF source in the CEM tool and placement in the array configuration. ·      Numerical simulation of the antenna coupling between the measured model and the other two elements of the array. Each element has two feeding ports implementing the dual H/V polarization. Preliminary analysis of the coupling is simulated and comparison with the measured data of the entire array agreement is acceptable. This study is currently under development for improving the accuracy of the results and including new test cases of different complexity.
Probe Correction Technique of Arbitrary Order for High Accuracy Spherical Near Field Antenna Measurements
Francesco Saccardi, Andrea Giacomini, Lars Foged, November 2016
Probe correction in standard spherical near field measurements are typically limited to probes with |µ|=1 spherical wave spectrum when performing spherical wave expansion. The design of such probes is often a trade-off between achievable performance, modal purity and bandwidth. Compensation techniques for probes with higher or full order modal spectrum have recently been proposed. The advantages of such techniques are more freedom in the selection of the probe for a given measurement scenario and increased bandwidth. The technique reported in this paper is valid for probes with a known modal spectrum of arbitrary order. Probe compensation is performed directly on each spherical wave function before expanding the measured field. This leads to a computationally very effective algorithm. In this paper, the accuracy of the new algorithm is validated experimentally for different higher order probes in the measurement of a standard gain horn. For each scenario, the accuracy and computational requirement of the new algorithm is compared to standard transformations.
Improving the Cross-Polar Discrimination of Compact Antenna Test Range using the CXR Feed
Andrea Giacomini, Lars Foged, Antonio Riccardi, Jörg Pamp, Rasmus Cornelius, Dirk Heberling, November 2016
Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) provide convenient testing, directly in far-field conditions of antenna systems placed in the Quiet Zone (QZ). Polarization performance is often the reason that a more expensive, complex, compensated dual reflector CATR is chosen rather than a single reflector CATR. For this reason, minimizing the QZ cross-polarization of a single reflector CATR has been a challenge for the industry for many years. A new, dual polarised feed, based on conjugate matching of the undesired cross polar field in the QZ on a full wave-guide band, has recently been developed, manufactured and tested. The CXR feed (cross polar reduction feed) has shown to significantly improve the QZ cross-polar discrimination of standard single reflector CATR systems. In previous papers, the CXR feed concept has been discussed and proved using a limited scope demonstrator and numerical analysis. In this paper, for the first time, the exhaustive testing of the dual polarised feed operating in the extended WR-75 waveguide band (10-16 GHz) is presented. Accuracy improvements, achieved in antenna cross-polar testing, using this feed is also illustrated by measured examples.
Enabling Extremely High Dynamic Range Measurements using a Simple Correlator
Brett Walkenhorst, November 2016
In order to achieve high accuracy in measuring sidelobes and/or nulls in antenna patterns, it is necessary to use a test system with very high dynamic range. This is particularly important when the antenna has extremely high gain such as those used for certain satellite communications or radio astronomy applications or when transmit power is limited relative to range loss as is often the case in millimeter wave applications. For several years, commercially available antenna measurement receivers have offered a dynamic range as high as 135dB for such applications. This dynamic range has been made possible, in part, by a simple correlator in the receiver’s DSP chain. In this paper, we model the various sources of error in a test signal due to imperfections and uncertainties of the test equipment and the physical environment and analyze these models as they propagate through the receive chain. The results of that analysis demonstrate the correlator’s ability to reduce carrier frequency offset (CFO) and local oscillator (LO) phase noise to offer the fidelity of test signal necessary to achieve extremely high dynamic ranges of up to 135dB.
Minimum Scattering Probe for High Accuracy Planar NF Measurements
Andrea Giacomini, Lars Foged, Roberto Morbidini, Luca Tancioni, John Estrada, Jim Acree, November 2016
Dual polarized probes are convenient for accurate and time efficient Planar Near Field (PNF) antenna testing. Traditional probe designs are often bandwidth limited and electrically large leading to high scattering in PNF measurements with short probe/AUT distances. In this paper, an octave band probe design with minimum scattering characteristics is presented. The scattering minimization is largely obtained by a very small axially symmetric aperture of 0.4? diameter at the lowest frequency. The aperture also provide a near constant directivity in the full bandwidth and very low cross polar. The probe is fed by a balanced ortho-mode junction (OMJ) based on inverted quad-ridge technology and external feeding circuitry to obtain high polarization purity.
Implementation of a VHF Spherical Near-Field Measurement Facility at CNES
Gwenn Le Fur, Guillaume Robin, Nicolas Adnet, Luc Duchesne, Daniel Belot, Lise Feat, Kevin Elis, Anthony Bellion, Romain Contreres, November 2016
Needs of antenna measurements at low VHF range require the development of specific facilities. Costs saving could be found by reusing existing chambers and extending the frequency band down to few tens of MHz, especially if the implementation of such a system is performed in undersized chambers with already existing absorbers. CNES began such an adaptation in the 2000’s by adding a VHF measurement probe (80-400 MHz) in their CATR chamber which allows performing spherical single probe Near Field measurement thanks to the existing positioner. In the past four years, intensives studies have been led to reduce uncertainties onto measurements results and to wide again the lower frequency down to 50 MHz. Major error terms were identified and both a new measurement probe and post processing tools have been designed and implemented. This paper focuses on the hardware and software upgrades. Details will be first provided on the mechanical upgrades of the probe positioner, aiming to improve the accuracy and the repeatability of the positioning, as well as the ergonomic usage for saving installation time. A dedicated reference antenna in gain and polarization has been developed and validated. Such reliable reference antennas at this frequency range are a key point to reduce uncertainties onto measurement results. Finally, optical tool for aligning the measurement probe and the AUT as well as the post processing tool will be presented.
Phaseless Near-Field Antenna Measurement Techniques – An Overview
Olav Breinbjerg, Javier Fernández Álvarez, November 2016
For near-field antenna measurement it is sometimes desirable or necessary to measure only the magnitude of the near-field - to perform so-called phaseless (or amplitude-only or magnitude-only) near-field antenna measurements [1]. It is desirable when the phase measurements are unreliable due to probe positioning inaccuracy or measurement equipment inaccuracy, and it is necessary when the phase reference of the source is not available or the measurement equipment cannot provide phase. In particular, as the frequency increases near-field phase measurements become increasingly inaccurate or even impossible. However, for the near-field to far-field transformation it is necessary to obtain the missing phase information in some other way than through direct measurement; this process is generally referred to as the phase retrieval. The combined process of first measuring the magnitudes of the field and subsequently retrieving the phase is referred to as a phaseless near-field antenna measurement technique. Phaseless near-field antenna measurements have been the subject of significant research interest for many years and numerous reports are found in the literature. Today, there is still no single generally accepted and valid phaseless measurement technique, but several different techniques have been suggested and tested to different extents. These can be divided into three categories: Category 1 – Four magnitudes techniques, Category 2 – Indirect holography techniques, and Category 3 -Two scans techniques. This paper provides an overview of the different phaseless near-field antenna measurement techniques and their respective advantages and disadvantages for different near-field measurement setups. In particular, it will address new aspects such as probe correction and determination of cross-polarization in phaseless near-field antenna measurements. [1] OM. Bucci et al. “Far-field pattern determination by amplitude only near-field measurements”, Proceedings of the 11’th ESTEC Workshop on Antenna Measurements, Gothenburg, Sweden, June 1988.
Quiet-Zone Qualification of a Very Large, Wideband Rolled-Edge Reflector
Anil Tellakula, William Griffin, Scott McBride, November 2016
Installing a large compact range reflector and electromagnetically qualifying the quiet zone is a major undertaking, especially for very large panelized reflectors. The approach taken to design the required rolled-edge reflector geometry for achieving a 5 meter quiet zone across a frequency range of 350 MHz to 40 GHz was previously presented [1]. The segmentation scheme, fabrication methodology, and intermediate qualification of panels using an NSI-MI developed microwave holography tool were also presented. This reflector has since been installed and the compact range qualified by direct measurement of the electromagnetic fields in the quiet zone using a large field probe. This paper presents the comparison and correlation between the holography predictions and the field probe measurements of the quiet zone. Installation and alignment techniques used for the multiple panel reflector are presented.  Available metrology tools have inherent accuracy limitations leading to residual misalignment between the panels.  NSI-MI has overcome this limitation by using its holography tool along with existing metrology techniques to predict the field quality in the quiet zone based on surface measurements of the panels.   The tool was used to establish go/no-go criteria for panel alignment accuracy achieved on site. Correlation of the holography predictions with actual field probe measurements of the installed reflector validates the application of the holography tool for performance prediction of large, multiple-panel, rolled-edge reflectors. Keywords: Rolled-Edge Reflector, Compact Range, Field-Probing, Quiet Zone, Microwave Holography
Spherical Near-Field Alignment Sensitivity for Polar and Equatorial Antenna Measurements
Patrick Pelland, Greg Hindman, Daniël van Rensburg, November 2016
Spherical near-field (SNF) antenna test systems offer unique advantages over other types of measurement configurations and have become increasingly popular over the years as a result. To yield high accuracy far-field radiation patterns, it is critical that the rotators of the SNF scanner are properly aligned. Many techniques using optical instruments, laser trackers, low cost devices or even electrical measurements [1 - 3] have been developed to align these systems. While these alignment procedures have been used in practice with great success, some residual alignment errors always remain. These errors can sometimes be quantified with high accuracy and low uncertainty (known error) or with large uncertainties (unknown error). In both cases, it is important to understand the impact that these SNF alignment errors will have on the far-field pattern calculated using near-field data acquired on an SNF scanner. The sensitivity to various alignment errors has been studied in the past [4 - 6]. These investigations concluded that altering the spherical acquisition sampling grid can drastically change the sensitivity to certain alignment errors. However, these investigations were limited in scope to a single type of measurement system. This paper will expand upon this work by analyzing the effects of spherical alignment errors for a variety of different measurement grids and for different SNF implementations (phi-over-theta, theta-over-phi) [7]. Results will be presented using a combination of physical alignment perturbations and errors induced via simulation in an attempt to better understand the sensitivity to SNF alignment errors for a variety of antenna types and orientations within the measurement sphere. Keywords: Spherical Near-Field, Alignment, Uncertainty, Errors. References [1]     J. Demas, “Low cost and high accuracy alignment methods for cylindrical and spherical near-field measurement systems”,  in the proceedings of the 27th annual Meeting and Symposium, Newport, RI, USA, 2005. [2]     S. W. Zieg, “A precision optical range alignment tecnique”, in the proceedings of the 4th annual AMTA meeting and symposium, 1982. [3]     A.C. Newell and G. Hindman, “The alignment of a spherical near-field rotator using electrical measurements”,  in the proceedings of the 19th annual AMTA meeting and symposium, Boston, MA, USA, 1997. [4]     A.C. Newell and G. Hindman, “Quantifying the effect of position errors in spherical near-field measurements”,  in the proceedings of the 20th annual AMTA meeting and symposium, Montreal, Canada, 1998. [5]     A.C. Newell, G. Hindman and C. Stubenrauch, “The effect of measurement geometry on alignment errors in spherical near-field measurements”,  in the proceedings of the 21st annual AMTA meeting and symposium, Monterey, CA, USA, 1999. [6]     G. Hindman, P. Pelland and G. Masters, “Spherical geometry selection used for error evaluation”,  in the proceedings of the 37th annual AMTA meeting and symposium, Long Beach, CA, USA, 2015. [7]     C. Parini, S. Gregson, J. McCormick and D. Janse van Rensburg, Theory and Practice of Modern Antenna Range Measurements. London, UK: The Institute of Engineering and Technology, 2015
Multiple Target, Dynamic RF Scene Generator
David Wayne, John McKenna, Scott McBride, November 2016
The evaluation of RF Sensors often requires a test capability where various RF scenes are presented to the Unit Under Test (UUT). These scenes may need to be dynamic, represent multiple targets and/or decoys, emulate dynamic motion, and simulate real world RF environmental conditions. An RF Scene Generator can be employed to perform these functions and is the focus of this paper. The total test system is usually called Hardware in the Loop (HITL) involving the sensor mounted on a Flight Motion Simulator (FMS), the RF Scene Generator presenting the RF Scene, and a Simulation Computer that dynamically controls everything in real time. This paper describes the system concept for an RF Scene Generator that simultaneously represents 4 targets, in highly dynamic motion, with no occlusion, over a wide range of power, frequency, and Field of View (FOV). It presents the test results from a prototype that was built and tested over a limited FOV, while being scalable to the total FOV and full system capability. The RF Scene Generator employs a wall populated with an array of emitters that enables virtually unlimited velocity and acceleration of targets and employs beam steering to provide high angular resolution and accuracy of the presented target positions across the FOV.   Key words: RF Target Simulator, RF Scene Generator, Multiple Targets, Beam Steering Wall of Emitters, Steering Array Calibration, Plane-Wave Generator, Radar Environment Simulator.
Phase-less Spherical Near-Field Antenna Characterization: A Case Study and Comparison
Hammam Shakhtour, Dirk Heberling, November 2016
Although In the 1970’s and 1980’s the near-field technology was proven to work properly for antenna characterization. It was until the late 1990’s that antenna communities begun to trust this technology and depend heavily on it. This same scenario could happen to the phase-less near-field technologies. It is true that there is still much to be done in the sense of reliability of these techniques. Nevertheless there are still situations where these techniques must be applied. This paper will be dealing with the phase-less near-field antenna measurement technique. The well-known iterative Fourier transformation (IFT) technique is used. The amplitude of the field distribution on concentric spheres surrounding the antenna under test (AUT) is used to reconstruct the phase information necessary for the spherical near-field to far-field transformation (SNFFF). It will be shown that despite its geometrical and computational complexity this technique can be applied on the spherical case achieving very good accuracy. In addition this paper makes use of global optimization techniques especially genetic algorithm (GA) to establish an initial estimate of the phase distribution necessary for the algorithm which is later on fine-tuned using the local optimization i.e. IFT to retrieve a closer estimate of the solution. It will be shown that except for the null positions the far-field accuracy can be enhanced. The implementation of the GA will be shortly given and the concept of masks, which simplifies the implementation, will be discussed.
Utilization Of An Octocopter As A Two-Way Field Probe For Electro-Magnetic Field Measurements At An Outdoor Radar Cross Section Range
Andrew J. Knisely, Peter J. Collins, November 2016
RCS and Antenna measurement accuracy critically depends on the quality of the incident field.  Both compact and far field ranges can suffer from a variety of contaminating factors including phenomena such as atmospheric perturbation, clutter, multi-path, as well as Radio Frequency Interference (RFI).  Each of these can play a role in distorting the incident field from the ideal plane wave necessary for an accurate measurement.  Methods exist to mitigate or at least estimate the measurement uncertainty caused by these effects.  However, many of these methods rely on knowledge of the incident field amplitude and phase over the test region. Traditionally the incident field quality is measured directly using an electromagnetic probe antenna which is scanned through the test region.  Alternately, a scattering object such as a sphere or corner reflector is used and the scattered field measured as the object is moved through the field.  In both cases the probe/scatterer must be mounted on a structure to move and report the position in the field.  This support structure itself acts as a moving clutter source that perturbs the incident field being measured.  Researchers at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) have recently investigated a concept that aims to eliminate this clutter source entirely.  The idea is to leverage the advances in drone technology to create a free flying field probe that doesn’t require any support structure. We explore this concept in our paper, detailing the design, hardware, and software developments required to perform a concept demonstration measurement in AFIT’s RCS measurement facility.  Measured data from several characterization tests will be presented to validate the method.  The analysis will include an estimate of the applicability of the technique to a large outdoor RCS measurement facility.

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