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Automating RCS Measurements for High Speed Production Line In-Process Verification
Roger Richardson, Brett Haisty, October 2017

In June of this year, DSC completed the installation of a turnkey RCS measurement system that is used for in-process verification (IPV) and final component validation using standard near field QC techniques in an echoic chamber. The delivered system included a radar, antennas, shroud, ogive pylon, foam column, elevators for each – column and pylon, automated pit covers, test bodies, target transport carts, and calibration targets. The system automatically loads test objects on the correct target support system, requiring no action by the operator to connect a target onto the azimuth over elevation “tophat” positioner – it is all automatic. The user interface is designed to be operated by production line workers, greatly reducing the need for experienced RCS test engineers. Simple pass/fail indicators are shown to the test technicians, while a full detailed data set is stored for engineering review and analysis. A wall display guides users through a test sequence for target handling and starting the radar. Radar data collection of all azimuth and elevation angles and target motion are initiated from a single button push. This is followed by all data processing necessary to conduct the ATP on the parts providing a pass/fail report on dozens of parameters. The application of production line quality automation to RCS measurements improves the repeatability of the measurements, greatly reduces both measurement time as well as overhead time, and allows systems operators to become more interchangeable. This highly successful project, which was completed on-time and on-budget, will be discussed. This discussion will include radar performance, antenna and shroud design, target handling, data processing and analysis software, and the control system that automates all the functions that are required for RCS measurements.

Group Delay Measurement For Satellite Payload Testing
Daniel Janse Van Rensburg, Allen Newell, Stuart Gregson, Pat Pelland, October 2017

Equivalent Isotropically Radiated Power (EIRP), Saturating Flux Density (SFD) and Group Delay (GD) are three system level parameters often measured during the characterization of spacecraft systems. EIRP is of interest for transmitters, SFD for receivers and GD for the entire up/down link. A test methodology for EIRP and SFD was first presented in [1] and [2] and a detailed procedure presented in [3]. To date GD has only been measured under far-field (or simulated far-field) conditions. In [4], a concept for measuring GD in a planar near-field (PNF) range is described, but no methodology is presented. In this paper, we present a method for measuring GD in a planar near-field range. The technique is based on a set of three antenna pairs, measured sequentially, from which the insertion phase of the measurement system and the near-field probe [5] can be resolved. Once these parameters are known, insertion phase for the device under test (i.e. a Tx or Rx antenna) can be measured and GD calculated as the negative frequency derivative of the insertion phase. An added complexity in the case of a near-field measurement is the near-field probe is in close proximity to the device under test (not far-field condition) for which compensation is needed. We show through simulation and measurement, that the plane wave expansion allows us to compute a correction factor for the proximity of the probe to the device under test; thus allowing correction of the measured insertion phase. The final step in measuring payload GD through both uplink and downlink channels is to set up a fixed Tx probe in close proximity to the Rx antenna and an equivalent Rx probe in close proximity to the Tx antenna and performing a through measurement as one would do on a far-field range. Correction factors for compensating for the proximity of both probes are then applied, based on independent a-priori Rx and Tx case measurements performed on the antennas. Simulated and measured data will be presented to demonstrate the process and to illuminate some of the finer nuances of the correction being applied. Index Terms— Group Delay, Planar Near-Field, Antenna Measurements, Three Antenna Method. [1] A. C. Newell, R. D. Ward and E. J. McFarlane, “Gain and power parameter measurements using planar near-field techniques”, IEEE Trans. Antennas &Propagat, Vol 36, No. 6, June 1988 [2] A. C. Newell, “Planar near-field antenna measurements”, NIST EM Fields Division Report, Boulder, CO, March 1994. [3] D. Janse van Rensburg and K. Haner, “EIRP & SFD Measurement methodology for planar near-field antenna ranges”, Antenna Measurement Techniques Association Conference, October 2014. [4] C. H. Schmidt, J. Migl, A. Geise and H. Steiner, “Comparison of payload applications in near field and compact range facilities”, Antenna Measurement Techniques Association Conference, October 2015. [5] A. Frandsen, D. W. Hess, S. Pivnenko and O. Breinbjerg, “An augmented three-antenna probe calibration technique for measuring probe insertion phase”, Antenna Measurement Techniques Association Conference, October 2003.

A 60 GHz Dual-Polarized Probe for Spherical Near-Field Measurements
Paula Popa, Olav Breinbjerg, October 2017

In millimeter wave near-field measurements dual polarized probe system can be used with some of the advantages: the two electric field components are simultaneously measured within a single scan, amplitude and phase drift affects the two polarization components in the same way and there is no need of mechanical rotation of the probe. Today at DTU-ESA Facility we have dual-polarized probes in range 400MHz-40GHz and this study is part of extending the operational frequency range of the DTU-ESA Facility up to 60GHz. First order µ = ± 1 rotationally symmetric probes are desired because they employ an efficient data-processing and measurement scheme. In this work we design and test at DTU-ESA Facility a dual polarized first order probe system at 60GHz - a conical horn, including the elements: a pin diode SPDT (single pole double throw) switch up to 67GHz from Ducommun an OMT (ortho-mode transducer) from Sage Millimeter in 50-75GHz band with square waveguide antenna port (3.75mm) a square to circular transition (3.75mm to 3.58mm) from Sage Millimeter which is integrated between the OMT and conical horn 1.85mm connector cables up to 75GHz and two coaxial to waveguide adapters to connect the switch to the OMT from Flann Microwave To ensure accurate measurements at 60GHz, the hardware components were selected to provide a low cross polarization of the probe, the switch and the OMT having 40dB isolation between ports. The path loss at 60GHz is 83dB for a 6m distance and to compensate for such a loss, a 26dB gain is desired for the conical horn, which is simulated using WIPL-D software and in-house manufactured. The 60GHz dual-polarized probe is currently being assembled and will be tested in both planar and spherical near-field setups. In the full version of the paper calibration results will be shown but also results from using the probe as a probe for the measurement of a 60GHz AUT.

Channel De-embedding and Measurement System Characterization for MIMO at 75 GHz
Alexandra Curtin, David Novotny, Alex Yuffa, Selena Leitner, October 2017

As modern antenna array systems for MIMO and 5G applications are deployed, there is increased demand for measurement techniques for timely calibration, at both research and commercial sites.[1] The desired measurement method must allow for the de-embedding of information about the closed digital signal chain and element alignment, and must be performed in the near-field. Current means of measuring large arrays cover a variety of methods. Single-element gain and pattern calibration must cover the parameter space of element weightings and is extremely time-consuming, to the point where the measurement may take longer than the duration over which the array response is stable.[4] Two other popular methods are the transmission of orthogonal codes and the use of holography to reconstruct a full-array pattern. The first of these methods again requires extremely long measurement time. For an array of N elements and weightings per element W_n, the matrix of orthogonal codes must be of an order greater than NW_n.[4][3]. This number varies with the form of W_n depending on whether the array is analog or digital, but in both cases for every desired beam configuration, an order-N encoding matrix must be used. The second method relies on illuminating subsets of elements within an array and reconstructing the full pattern.[2] Each illuminated subset, however, neglects some amount of coupling information inherent to the complete system, making this an imperfect method. In this work we explore the development of a sparse set of measurements for array calibration, relying on coherent multi-channel data acquisition of wideband signals at 75 GHz, and the hardware characterization and post-processing necessary to perform channel de-embedding at an elemental level for a 4x1 system. By characterizing the complete RF chain of our array and the differential skew and phase response of our measurement hardware, we identify crucial quantities for measuring closed commercial systems. Additionally, by combining these responses with precise elemental location information, we consider means of de-embedding elemental response and coupling effects that may be compared to conventional single-element calibration information and full-pattern array measurements. [1] C. Fulton, M. Yeary, D. Thompson, L. Lake, and A. Mitchell. Digital phased arrays Challenges and opportunities. Proceedings of the IEEE, 104(3):487–503, 2016. [2] E. N. Grossman, A. Luukanen, and A. J. Miller. Holographic microantenna array metrology. Proceedings of SPIE, Passive Millimeter-Wave Imaging Technology VIII, 5789(44), 2005. [3] E. Lier and M. Zemlyansky. Phased array calibration and characterization based on orthogonal coding Theory and experimental validation. 2010 IEEE International Symposium on Phased Array Systems and Technology (ARRAY), pages 271–278, 2010. [4] S. D. Silverstein. Application of orthogonal codes to the calibration of active phased array antennas for communication satellites. IEEE Transactions on Signal Processing, 45(1):206–218, 1997.

A Multi-Robot Large Antenna Positioning System for Over-The-Air Testing at the National Institute of Standards and Technology
David Novotny, Joshua Gordon, Alexendra Curtin, Michael Allman, Jeffrey Guerrieri, Kim Hassett, Quang Tom, George McAdams, October 2017

NIST has been using coordinated robotics in the Configurable Robotic Milli-Meter wave Antenna (CROMMA) system to assess antenna performance and radiative emissions since 2010. The focus to date has been using coordinated motion to arbitrarily position and correct antenna alignment for high frequency (>60 GHz) applications. Coordinated robotic motion was originally chosen to overcome the systematic alignment and range configurability limitations inherent in legacy stacked-stage ranges. A limitation with CROMMA is the relatively small spatial reach of the robotic arm (2.5 m), which limits antenna size and the number of wavelengths in separation achievable for lower frequencies. To overcome these limitations and address other dynamic testing requirements, NIST proposed the Large Antenna Positioning System (LAPS). The LAPS consists of two kinematically linked robotic systems, one of which is integrated with an 8 m linear rail system. The stationary robot is a 6 axes, 2.5m horizontal/4.4m vertical reach robotic arm, while the robot integrated with the linear rail system is a 6 axes, 3m horizontal/5.5m vertical reach robot arm. This configuration allows antennas to be positioned within a 5m x 6m x 10m volume. The motion system can operate in either a coordinated or independent motion control state, allowing independent or dynamic dual-robot motion. The coordinated capabilities of the system are designed to support not only traditional antenna measurement geometries (i.e. spherical, cylindrical, planar, gain-extrapolation), but also intended to be used to dynamically interact with changing RF conditions. The robots can independently scan or interrogate multiple bearings of a device under test, or trace out complex 6D paths during system testing. Initial data on performance of the system, including comparison of robot kinematics, RF acquired data, and physical locations verified by a laser tracker, will be presented.

An Experimental and Computational Investigation of High-Accuracy Calibration Techniques for Gain Reference Antennas
Olav Breinbjerg, Kyriakos Kaslis, Jeppe Nielsen, October 2017

Gain is a principal property of antennas; it is essential in establishing the link budget for communication and sensing systems through its presence in Friis’ transmission formula and the radar range equation. The experimental determination of antenna gain is most often based on a gain-transfer technique involving a reference antenna for which the gain has been calibrated to high accuracy; this is typically a pyramidal horn antenna [1]. The required accuracy of antenna gain obviously depend on the application; in some cases it can very high, ±0.1 dB or less, and this implies an even higher accuracy, of the order of ±0.01dB, for the gain reference antenna. This work investigates the accuracy to which a gain reference antenna can be calibrated; the investigation is based on experimental spherical near-field antenna measurements [2] and computational integral equation / method of moments simulations [3]. While calibration of gain reference antennas has been studied in many previous works, even works from early 1950s [4]-[6], this work is novel in systematically supporting measurements with full-wave simulations. Such simulations facilitate the study of e.g. the effect of multiple reflections between antennas at short distances. We study two absolute calibration techniques for the gain of pyramidal horn antennas. The first technique determines gain as the product of directivity and radiation efficiency; this technique has been referred to as the pattern integration technique [7] (which is not an entirely adequate designation since gain cannot be determined from the radiation pattern). The second technique determines the gain from Friis’ transmission formula [8] for two identical antennas; this technique is generally referred to as the two-antenna technique [1]. These two calibration techniques involve very different steps and contain very different sources of error; for both techniques our investigation involves measurements as well as simulations. For the pattern integration technique we compare experimental and computational results for the directivity and demonstrate agreement within one-hundredth of a dB. The radiation efficiency is calculated by different techniques based on the surface impedance boundary condition for the metallic walls of the pyramidal horn. This technique is not influenced by proximity effects or by impedance mismatch between the measurement system and the gain reference antenna. For the two-antenna techniques we compare experimental and computational results for the gain and we compare the calculated distance-dependence with that of the extrapolation technique [9]. It is demonstrated how the use of the phase center distance in Friis’ transmission formula notably decreases the necessary separation between the antennas for a required accuracy, but that multiple reflections may then become a limiting factor. This technique is highly influenced by the impedance mismatch that must be accurately accounted for. We compare the gain values resulting from the pattern integration technique and the two-antenna technique, including their very different uncertainty estimates, for a C-band standard gain horn. The work is related to an on-going ESA project at the DTU-ESA Spherical Near-Field Antenna Test Facility for the on-ground calibration of the scatterometer antennas of the EUMETSAT MetOp Second Generation B-series satellites. IEEE Standard – Test Procedures for Antennas, Std 149-1979, IEEE & John Wiley & Sons, 1979. J.E. Hansen, “Spherical Near-Field Antenna Measurements”, Peter Perigrinus Ltd., London 1987. W.C. Jakes, “Gain of Electromagnetic Horns”, Proceedings of the IRE, pp. 160-162, February 1951. E.H. Braun, “Gain of Electromagnetic Horns”, Proceedings of the IRE, pp. 109-115, January 1953. W.T. Slayton, “Design and Calibration of Microwave Antenna Gain Standards”, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington D.C., November 1954. A. Ludwig, J. Hardy, and R. Norman, “Gain Calibration of a Horn Antenna Using Pattern Integration”, Technical Report 32-1572, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, October 1972. H.T. Friis, “A Note on a Simple Transmission Formula”, Proceedings of the I.R.E. and Waves and Electrons, pp. 254-256, May 1946. A.C. Newell, R.C. Baird, P.F. Wacker, “Accurate Measurement of Antenna Gain and Polarization at Reduced Distances by an Extrapolation Technique”, IEEE Transactions on Antenna and Propagation, vol. 21, no. 4, pp. 418-431, July 1973.

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.

Radar Echoes from Metal Spheres Large and Small
Pax Wei, November 2016

Wave scattering from a perfectly conducting sphere provides an important example for theoretical studies as well as RCS calibrations [1, 2].  At the Boeing 9-77 Range and the Millimeter Wave Range in Seattle, we measured spheres of large and small diameters, supported by strings or a foam tower, and through a wide range of frequencies.  In addition to co-polarized calibration, the emphasis was also on uncertainty analysis in order to verify that the experiments carried out under different conditions were mutually consistent [3].  Aside from the well-defined conditions for an indoor range, metal spheres may be dropped from the air free fall while being measured [4].  A news article on January 5, 2016, reported that three metal spheres were picked up in three provinces in northern Vietnam [5].  Though details of the experiments were obscure, from the pictures they happened to correspond to spheres of sizes from large to small.  Based on our experiences, some speculation will be discussed.  References [1]. E. F. Knott, "Radar Cross Section Measurements," (Van Nostrand Reinhold,  New York, 1993), pp. 176-180, (on spheres and the Mie series).   [2]. E. F. Knott, E. F. Shaeffer, and M. T. Tuley, "Radar Cross Section," (Artech House,      2nd ed, 1993), pp. 86 & 234-235, (on creeping waves).  [3]. P. S. P. Wei, A. W. Reed, C. N. Ericksen, and J. P. Rupp, “Uncertainty Analysis and      Inter-Range Comparison on RCS Measurements from Spheres,” Proc. 26th AMTA,      pp. 294-299 (2004).   [4]. “Mysterious silver balls fall down on town; can the black helicopters be far behind?”   By Steve Vogel, The Seattle Times, August 7, 2000, (from the Washington Post).  [5]. “3 mysterious spheres fall onto 3 Vietnam provinces,”  Tuoi Tre,  Tue, 05 Jan 2016.

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.

Characterizing Multiple Coherent Signals Near 60 GHz Using Standard RF Hardware for MIMO and 5G Applications
Alexandra Curtin, David Novotny, Joshua Gordon, November 2016

In wireless communication technology, the growth of 5G and MIMO (multiple- input and multiple-output) systems has revealed a gap in the methods to characterize and calibrate hardware for high frequency and coherent MIMO applications. For coherent array configurations and ad hoc systems we need to measure transmission loss and phase/delay over every element. We demonstrate the use of standard RF hardware to generate and receive multiple signals in a system that is a tabletop analogy for an ad hoc system. The initial test system consists of using a single WR-15 VNA extender to detect two separate modulated signals. As our sources, we individually modulate WR-15 VNA extenders to generate continuous waveform, modulated signals around 60 GHz. On the receive side, our IF signal is first measured with a high-dynamic- range spectrum analyzer and then later collected in a digital oscilloscope. All the signal generators for the receiver LO and transmitter(s) RF IN are tied together with a common 10 MHz reference. Characterizing this initial 2x1 system is then extensible to multiple-receiver applications. We will use these coherent sources to get full complex waveform characterization element-by-element in a receiving array. We report on measurement and calibration methods to characterize the response of these systems for continuous waveforms, modulated signals, and multi-frequency applications needed for next generation coherent MIMO systems.

Uniaxial Anisotropic Material Measurement using a Single Port Waveguide Probe
Alexander Knisely, Milo Hyde, Michael Havrilla, Peter Collins, November 2016

Anisotropic material characterization requires versatile sample fixtures in order to provide sufficient measurement diversity for material parameter extraction.  However, extensive sample preparation is often required prior to making a measurement, especially for anisotropic materials.  An alternative nondestructive material measurement approach using a Single Port Waveguide Probe (SPWP) is proposed to simplify measurement of uniaxial anisotropic media.  Instead of cutting a material sample to fit into a given fixture, nondestructively interrogating a sheet of material via the SPWP greatly simplifies sample preparation and measurement.  The SPWP system measures a metal-backed sample of a known thickness.  A flange with a waveguide aperture cut in the center is placed on the metal backed sample (thus forming a parallel plate region) and a length of rectangular waveguide is connected to the flange aperture. A Vector Network Analyzer port is connected to the end of the rectangular waveguide to collect calibration and sample data.  Measurements of two different thicknesses of a sample are performed to provide sufficient data for extracting the sample permittivity tensor.  The sample permittivity tensor is computed via comparison of the measured and theoretical S-parameters using a least squares minimization algorithm.  The theoretical S-parameters are derived using a magnetic field integral equation which utilizes a uniaxial parallel plate Green’s function to constitute the fields in the parallel plate region.  Love’s Equivalence Principle is used to relate the fields in the parallel plate flange region to the fields in the waveguide (assumed to be the dominant TE10 mode only).  In this paper, the SPWP theoretical development, measurement and material parameter extraction are discussed.  Measurements and simulations of isotropic and uniaxial samples are made to assess the SPWP performance.

60 GHz Reference Chip Antenna for Gain Verification of Test Chambers
William McKinzie, Per Iverson, Edward Szpindor, Michael Smith, Bradley Thrasher, November 2016

We have developed a 60 GHz chip antenna designed for use as a gain and pattern verification tool in the calibration process of a millimeter wave antenna test chamber. The antenna is designed to interface with ground-signal-ground (GSG) micro-probes that have a probe pitch of 150 um to 250 um.  This low temperature cofired ceramic (LTCC) chip antenna is fabricated using DuPont’s 9K7 GreenTapeTM material system with gold conductors.  Features include a wafer-probe transition, a shielded stripline corporate feed network, aperture coupled patch elements, and an integrated Sievenpiper electromagnetic bandgap (EBG) structure for surface wave mode suppression.  The use of the EBG structure enables main beam gain enhancement and side lobe level suppression.  This 2x2 antenna array is directive such that it offers a nominal gain of 12 dBi at broadside over 58-62 GHz with an antenna efficiency of at least 60%.  The entire antenna package has a nominal size of only 10.9 mm x 12.2 mm x 0.71 mm.  Since this antenna package material is hermetic, it has stable performance under varying humidity and temperature which is highly desirable as a reference antenna.

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.

In-situ Diagnosis of Direction Finding Antenna using Optically-fed Transmitting Miniature Probes
Serge Bories, Lama Ghattas, Dominique Picard, November 2016

Direction Finding (DF) Antennas are usually designed and tested in controlled environments. However, antenna far field response may change significantly in its operational environment. In such perturbing or not -controlled close context, the antennas calibration validity becomes a major issue which can lead to DF performance degradation and to a costly re-calibration process. Even if in-situ re-calibration is still complicated; the DF antenna response can be monitored, during the mission, in order to ensure the DOA accuracy. This paper presents an innovative design and the performance of a low-disturbing solution to detect the near field antenna response deviations from a nominal case. The proposed system is based on an array of transmitting miniature dipoles deployed all around the DF antennas. These probes are optically fed through a non-biased photodiode that carries the direct conversion into a RF signal at the desired frequency. The detection re-used the DF receiving RF chains to analyze any deviation (complex values) of the antennas array manifold. Compared to the Optically Modulated Scatterer (OMS) technique, the benefits of the proposed approach are demonstrated experimentally over a frequency decade (UHF band). First a better sensitivity is shown (higher than 80 dB on the monitored link), and secondly the phase detection is made really simple compared to the OMS technique. Finally, a relation between this in-situ diagnosis mode and the DF angular direction accuracy is established. Thus the capacity to detect, on the near field response, the presence of various types of closed obstacles (open trap on the carrier, additional antenna…) which perturb significantly the far field antenna response, is evaluated.

Measurement Uncertainties in Millimeter Wave “On-Chip” Antenna Measurements
Edward Szpindor, Wenji Zhang, Per Iversen, November 2016

As a result of recent technical and regulatory developments, the millimeter wave frequency band (30GHz – 300 GHz) is being adopted for wide range of applications.  Based on array signal processing technologies used for 4G and MIMO, companies are developing small active array antennas operating throughout the millimeter-wave bands.  These arrays may include radiating elements and feed structures that are fraction of a millimeter in size and cannot be fed via a coaxial cable.  Connection to the antenna is instead performed through a micro-probe more commonly used in the chip industry.  MVG-Orbit/FR has developed a compact antenna measurement system which integrates hardware and software necessary to provide antenna gain and radiation patterns of antennas fed with such a micro-probe. To evaluate uncertainties in the measurements of the Antenna Under Test (AUT) gain, directivity, efficiency, pattern, or VSWR, reference antennas are an invaluable tool.  The authors have recently driven the development of a micro-probed chip reference antenna.  This reference antenna was designed to be mechanically and electrically stable and with reduced sensitive to its mounting fixture and feeding method.  Close agreement between measured and simulated characteristics has been achieved.  With low losses, the antenna provides good dynamic range and confidence in the measured antenna efficiency and gain. Without chip antenna gain standards, a micro-probed antenna test system requires the use of the insertion loss method for gain calibration.  This method requires correction for additional losses such as cables, attenuators, or adaptors that are included in the calibration but not in the subsequent measurement of the AUT.  In addition, the micro-probe (which is in the measurement but not in the calibration) should be calibrated and de-embedded from the measurement.   Each of these measurements and associated connections and related processing, increases uncertainty and chance of mistakes by the user.  It is therefore essential to validate the calibration using a well characterized reference antenna. This paper will outline design requirements and present test results of 60 GHz Chip Reference antennas.  Several dozen antennas have been tested.  The related uncertainties in the micro-probed antenna measurements will be evaluated with particular emphasis on the gain calibration uncertainty.  The paper will also describe the next steps towards developing a chip antenna gain standard, that should reduce gain uncertainties while also significantly simplifying the calibration process.

Dual-calibration Processing Based on Minimum Weighted Mean Squared Error (MWMSE) in RCS Measurement
Xiaojian Xu,Yongze Liu, November 2015

Dual-calibration was first proposed by Chizever et al. in 1996 [AMTA'1996] and had get wide applications in evaluation of the uncertainty in radar cross section (RCS) measurement and calibration. In 2013, LaHaie proposed a new technique based on jointly minimizing the mean squared error (MMSE) [AMTA'2013] among the calibrated RCS of multiple calibration artifacts, which estimates both the calibration function and the calibration uncertainty for each artifact. MMSE greatly improves the estimation accuracy for the radar calibration function as well as results in lower residual and RCS calibration errors. This paper presents a modified version of LaHaie's MMSE by minimizing the weighted mean squared error (MWMSE) for RCS calibration processing from  multiple calibrator measurements, which is related to the following functions and parameters: the calibration function; the theoretical and measured RCS; the number of calibration artifacts the number of frequency samples and the weight for ith calibration artifacts which may be defined in terms of the theoretical RCS of all the calibration artifacts. For example, if the weight is defined as the inverse of the total theoretical RCS of the ith calibration artifacts for all frequency samples, the error then represents the total relative calibration error instead of an absolute error as in MMSE. MWMSE then means that an optimal calibration function is found in terms of minimum total relative calibration error, which is expected for most applications. Numerical simulation results are presented to demonstrate the usefulness of the proposed technique.

Insertion Phase Calibration of Space-Fed Arrays
Jacob Houck,Brian Holman, November 2015

Calibrating a passive, space-fed, phased array antenna is more difficult and time consuming then calibrating corporate-fed arrays because individual elements cannot be activated or deactivated. We will present our method of determining element state-phase curves and insertion phase bias between elements. We will also explain this method’s theoretical basis and validate it by comparing data measured in an anechoic chamber with data measured in a planar near field range. The anechoic chamber data will be compared with the typical, proven, but more time-consuming planar near field calibration method.

A New Method for VHF/UHF Characterization of Anisotropic Dielectric Materials
John Schultz,James Maloney, November 2015

Recent interest in anisotropic metamaterials and devices made from these materials has increased the need for advanced RF material characterization. Moreover, the quest for measurement of inhomogeneous and anisotropic materials at VHF and UHF frequencies has long been one of the primary stretch goals of the RF materials measurement community. To date, the only viable method for these types of materials has been either fully filled or partially filled VHF waveguides, which are large, expensive, and slow. This paper introduces a new fixture design that greatly simplifies the process of obtaining intrinsic properties for inhomogeneous and anisotropic dielectric materials. The fixture combines low frequency capacitance and high frequency coaxial airline concepts to measure cube shaped specimens, and is termed an “RF Capacitor”. Furthermore, a significant limitation of past measurement methods is their reliance on approximate analytical models to invert material properties. These analytical models restrict the available geometries and frequency ranges that a measurement fixture can have. The present method avoids this limitation by implementing a new inversion technique based on a full-wave, finite difference time domain (FDTD) solver to exactly model the measurement geometry. In addition, this FDTD solver is applied in a novel way to enable inversion of frequency-dependent dielectric properties within seconds. This paper presents the fixture design and calibration for this new measurement method, along with example measurements of isotropic and anisotropic dielectric materials. In particular, 3” cube specimens are measured and the bulk dielectric properties in the three principal planes are determined by measuring the same specimen in three different orientations within the measurement fixture. Finally, calculations are presented to show the relative accuracy of this method against a number of probable uncertainty sources, for some characteristic materials.

Characterization of Reflectivity Losses in Space Reflector Antennas at Temperatures above 350°C
Luis Rolo,Eric van der Houwen, Elena Saenz, November 2015

In the recent years, the microwave and mm wave communities have been experiencing a strong interest in the characterisation of the RF proprieties of materials used in the manufacture of antennas and structures that, in one way or another, interact with propagating electromagnetic fields. Of particular interest are materials used for for space applications, where antennas face a harsh environment at all times making it challenging to keep antenna performances in all orbital conditions, whether in eclipse or under full sunlight exposure. A particular example is the coming Solar Orbiter mission, where the antenna reflector will be exposed to a high intensity of solar energy. This paper describes a measurement system with a custom-built setup that enables the measurement of reflectivity losses of space antenna materials and coatings at very high temperatures - up to 500 degrees Celsius. The design of the high temperature fixture will be presented in detail, together with the development of the necessary measurement and calibration techniques. The paper will conclude with a critical assessment of the obtained results and system performance and achieved accuracies.

A Calibration Method Using Interpolation to Reduce Measurement Errors in Electromagnetic Compatibility Measurements
Vince Rodriguez,Dennis Lewis, November 2015

MIL STD 461 is the Department of Defense standard that states the requirements for the control of electromagnetic interference (EMI) in subsystems and equipment used by the armed forces. The standard requires users to measure the unintentional radiated emissions from equipment by placing a measuring antenna at one meter distance from the equipment under test (EUT). The performance of the antenna at 1m distance must be known for the antenna to measure objects located at this close proximity. MIL STD 461 requires the antennas to be calibrated at 1 m distance using the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) 958. This SAE ARP 958 document describes a standard calibration method where two identical antennas are used at 1m distance to obtain the gain at 1m for each antenna. In this paper the authors show using simulations that the SAE ARP 958 approach introduces errors as high at 2 dB to the measured gain and AF. To eliminate this problem the authors introduce a new method for calibrating EMC antennas for MIL STD 461. The Method is based on the well-known extrapolation range technique. The process is to obtain the polynomial curve that is used to get the far field gain in the extrapolation gain procedure, and to perform an interpolation to get the gain at 1 m. The results show that some data in the far field must be collected during the extrapolation scan. When the polynomial is calculated the antenna performance values at shorter distances will be free of near field coupling. Measured results for a typical antenna required for emissions testing per the MIL STD 461 match well with the numerical results for the computed gain at 1 m distance. Future work is required to study the use of this technique for other short test distances used in other electromagnetic compatibility standards, such as the 3 m test distance used by the CISPR 16 standard. Keywords: Antenna Calibrations, EMC Measurements, Extrapolation Range Techniques
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