AMTA Paper Archive
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Measurements and comparisons of RCS under planar and cylindrical illumination
Mathematical techniques (calibration, background subtraction, software range gating, imaging, etc.) have become integral to the process of generating precision radar cross section measurements. The "reference target method" is a powerful RCS correction algorithm which yields plane wave illumination results from data acquired under an arbitrary but known illumination. This method is analogous to a two dimensional RCS calibration. Measurements of long bars (at X- and Ku-bands) and of a scale model aircraft (at C-band) were performed under the cylindrical wave illumination produced by March Microwave's Single-Plane Collimating Range (SPCR) at Arizona State University. The targets were also measured under the quasi-plane wave illumination produced by a March Microwave dual parabolic-cylinder CATR. The SPCR measurements were corrected using the reference target method. The corrected SPCR measurements are in good agreement with the CATR measurements.
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.
A Dual-ported probe for planar near-field measurements
A dual-linearly polarized probe developed for use in planar near-field antenna measurements is described. This probe is based upon Scientific-Atlanta's Series 31 Orthomode Feeds originally developed for spherical near-field testing. The unique features of this probe include dual orthogonal linear ports, high polarization purity, excellent port-to-port isolation, an integrated coordinate system reference, APC-7 connectors, and a thin-wall horn aperture to minimize probe AUT interactions. The probe was calibrated at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the calibration data consisting of the probe's complete plane-wave spectrum receiving characteristic s'02(K) were imported directly into the Scientific-Atlanta Model 2095/PNF Microwave Measurement System. This paper describes the dual-ported probe and its application in a planar near-field range.
Large-bandwidth diffraction measurements at 54 GHz using both time-domain filtering and frequency smoothing
The paper describes the high frequency measurements of the fields diffracted at the edges of an obstacle. The measurements are performed in an ordinary room, by using the time-domain filtering and frequency smoothing options of a vector network analyzer. The field distribution on a cylindrical arc is measured without the obstacle, and with the metallic obstacle present. The measurement approach in both cases proves to be rather different: without the obstacle, a modified calibration method should be used together with frequency smoothing, while in the presence of the obstacle, the same calibration set needs to be used in conjunction with time domain filtering. In the latter case, however, the use of frequency smoothing is not allowed. The results of the two measurements sessions can be condensed into one parametric curve expressing the additional attenuation of the radio signal, which is caused by the presence of the object on the propagation path. Practical and theoretical curves are compared for several object dimensions, and very good agreement is obtained in all cases.
A New calibration technique for bistatic RCS measurements
A bistatic calibration technique for wide-band, full-polarimetric instrumentation radars is presented in this paper. First general bistatic measurement problems are discussed, as there are the coordinate systems, the definition of polarization and the bistatic scattering behavior of convenient calibration targets. In chapter two the new calibration approach is presented. The general mathematical and physical description of errors introduced in the bistatic system is based on the radiation transfer matrix. The calibration procedure is discussed for the application with a vector network analyzer based instrumentation radar. For verification purposes measurements were performed on several targets.
Range instrumentation performance verification and traceability
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.
Error budget performance analysis for compact radar range
The target designer using a compact range to verify the predicted RCS of his target needs to know what measurement errors are introduced by the range. The underlying definition of RCS assumes that the target is in the far-field, in free-space, and illuminated by a plane wave. This condition is approximated in a compact range. However, to the extent that these conditions are not met, the RCS measurement is in error. This paper, using the results of the preceding companion paper1, formulates an error budget which shows the typical sources that contribute to the RCS measurement error in a compact range. The error sources are separated into two categories, according to whether they depend on the target or not. Receiver noise is an example of a target independent error source, as are calibration errors, feed reverberation (“ringdown”), target support scattering and chamber clutter which arrives within the target range gate. The target dependent error sources include quiet zone ripple, cross polarization components, and multipath which correspond to reflections of stray non-collimated energy from the target which arrives at the receiver at the same time as the desired target return. These error contributors depend on the manner in which the target interacts with the total quiet zone-field, and the bistatic RCS which the target may present to any off-axis illumination. Results presented in this paper are based on the design of a small compact range which is under construction at RRI. The results include a comprehensive error budget and an assessment of the range performance.
Calibration of large antenna measured in small quiet zone area
Compact range systems have been widely used for antenna measurements. However, the amplitude taper can lead to significant measurement errors especially as the dimension of antenna is larger than quiet zone area. An amplitude taper removing technique by software implement is presented for compact range system. A 12 feet by 1.0 feet S-band rectangular slot array antenna is measured in SA5751 compact range system, which provides a quiet zone area with a 4 feet diameter. Results of corrected far-field patterns from compact range are compared with that taken by planar near-field range.
The Effect of range errors on phase measurements of a spiral antenna
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.
Phase space calibration technique
A technique has been developed for calibrating a monostatic antenna, used for reflection measurements of a dielectric half space. The model is based on a one dimensional, spherical wave, scattering matrix theory. The scattering matrix coefficients are found by spatial integration of the eigenvectors. The system is deemed calibrated when the eigenvectors are linear. The spatial integration process works well enough that when a calibrated antenna is used as a reflection measurement tool, the surface of the half space can be as rough as the surface of coal and the correct dielectric constant and depth of the coal can be found.
The Calibration of probes for near field measurements
In near field antenna measurements, knowledge of the the [sic] probe antenna’s pattern, polarization and gain are of vital interest. To calibrate a probe for near field measurements is a delicate task, especially if the probe is small, i.e. low gain. The near field probe and the parameters general to a probe calibration are presented. The delicate task of obtaining an accurate gain for small aperture antennas as well as the problem of transfering [sic] the calibration from the facility where the probe is calibrated to the facility where it is to be used are focussed [sic] upon For a small aperture, the pattern is that of the radiating aperture. The unwanted scattering may be removed by filtering in the spherical mode domain thus obtaining the true aperture radiation. The gain derived from this may however be of little use in reality since the aperture always needs some form of mounting. Such a mounting may be covered with absorber which may reflect and diffract and thus affect the gain value.
Application of beam space techniques to phased array calibration and fault compensation
Beamspace techniques are usually employed to synthesize phased array antenna patterns of arbitrary shape. In this paper a beamspace method is used to calibrate the pattern of a 32-element linear array with a conventional array taper. By measuring the antenna pattern in specific directions the beamspace technique permits the actually applied excitation function to be determined with little mathematical effort. Iterative corrections can then be made to the excitation function to maintain low sidelobe performance, or to compensate for element failures. Since local corrections to the array pattern result in global changes to the excitation function, explicit knowledge of where an element failure has occurred is not required. The beamspace analysis was carried out using antenna patterns obtained by electronically scanning the array past a far-field source. Such pattern measurements offer the possibility of maintaining phased array performance in an operational environment.
Performance measurements of an active aperture phased array antenna
Transmit – receive modules (T/R) utilizing GaAs monolithic microwave integrated circuit (MMIC) technology for amplifiers, attenuators, and phase shifters are becoming integral components for a new generation of radars. These components, when used in the aperture of a low sidelobe electronically steerable antennas, require careful alignment and calibration at multiple stages along the RF signal path. This paper describes the calibration technique used to measure the performance of an active aperture 64 element S-band phased array antenna that employs T/R modules at every element. RF component performance and phased array sidelobe characeristics are presented and discussed.
On-orbit calibration techniques for spaceborne phased-array antennas
Calibration is one of the most important activities to be performed during the assembly, integration and testing of a phased-array antenna. Space-based phased-array antennas, conceived for remote sensing applications and for satellite communications, are going to require both on-ground and on-orbit calibration techniques. The paper reviews on-orbit calibration methods being envisaged for an electronically steerable receiving array at S-band, to be embarked onto the forthcoming PSDE/Artemis satellite.
Calibration of large antennas and radio stars
The need to calibrate large antennas and radio stars is driven by needs in satellite communications systems, deep space communications systems and navigation systems. NIST presently is able to calibrate standard gain antennas up to 10 feet in diameter using their planar near-field facility and has sought means to extend their calibration services to larger antennas. During the last ten years, NIST developed an ETMS (Earth Terminal Measurement System) to measure the gain of large antennas using both radio sources and noise sources calibrated by NIST. This ETMS, however, requires that the flux density of the radio sources be accurately known. This often is not the case. NIST is currently involved in two measurement efforts using calibrated standard gain antennas, calibrated noise sources and the gain comparison method to accurately determine the absolute gains of large antennas and accurately determine flux densities of radio stars and planets. Recent progress on these efforts will be discussed.
Laser tracker for radar calibration sphere position measurement
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.
Monostatic and bistatic polarimetric radar cross section measurements on canonical targets
This paper describes results of extensive polarimetric Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements on canonical targets. Amplitude and phase of both co- and cross- polar returns are measured for horizontally and vertically polarized transmit signals in order to determine the complete complex scattering matrix. Measurements have been carried out on a variety of targets. Results presented with this summary show data for a metallic and a dielectric disk. Details of measurement and calibration procedure, hardware, and software are also presented.
Correction/calibration of wide-band RCS radar data containing I/Q error
In-phase and quadrature (I/Q) aberrations in radar receiver data create problems in radars used for radar cross section (RCS) measurements. I/Q errors cause incorrect representations of the target under test. A method for correcting I/Q error and calibrating the measured amplitude to a scattering standard provides a means of obtaining a more accurate representation of the target under test. The RCS measurement instrumentation addressed here uses a wide band receiver with a single quadrature mixer for conversion of radio frequency (RF) to base band (also referred to as video) frequency. In the one-step down conversion, distortions in the I/Q constellation occur, causing I/Q errors. This method quantifies the extent of the I/Q problem by estimating the actual I/Q error from a series of calibration measurements. An algorithm is presented which quantifies parameters of the I/Q distortion, then uses the distortion parameters to remove the I/Q aberrations from the target measurement.
Adaptive alignment of a phased array antenna
A technique for aligning a phased array is described. Array element attenuation and phase commands are derived from far-field patterns measured without calibrations. The technique is based on iteratively forming mulls in the antenna pattern in the directions specified by a uniform array illumination. It may be applied in situations where array elements are not individually accessible, or where an array contains no build-in calibration capacity. The alignment technique was evaluated on a far-field range with a linear, 32-element array operating at L-band. The array containing transmit/receive modules with 12-bit amplitude and phase control. Insertion attenuation and phase measurements were comparable to those obtained by conventional techniques. However, the alignment procedure tends to compensate for the effects of nonuniform element patterns and range multipath. Thus, when used to implement other excitation functions, the array sidelobe performance with adaptive calibrations was substantially better.
Calibration techniques for compact antenna test ranges
The reflective properties of a flat circular plate and a long thin wire are discussed in connection with the quality and calibration of the quiet zone (QZ) of a compact antenna test range. (CATR). The flat plate has several applications in the CATR. The first is simple pattern analysis, which indicated errors as function of angle in the QZ, the second uses the plate as a standard gain device. The third application makes use of the narrow reflected beam of the plate to determine the direction of the incident field. The vertical wire has been used to calibrate the direction of the polarization vector. The setup of an optical reference with a theodolite and a porro prism in relation to the propagation direction of the incident field is presented as well.
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