AMTA Paper Archive
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Antenna Polarization measurements
In recent years there has been an increasing requirement for more extensive and precise measurements of the polarization properties of antennas. Some of the more conventional polarization measurement techniques are no longer applicable because of the required measurement time or the achievable accuracy. This presentation is an overview of polarization measurement methods which may be employed on far-field antenna ranges. Instrumentation requirements and sources of error are also included.
The Practical Application of Automated Test Techniques to the Measurement of a Ku-Band Monopulse Cassegrain Spacecraft Antenna
At a time of increased interest in computer-controlled antenna test ranges, it is worthwhile to consider the advantages, problems, and consequences inherent in the practical application of automated measurement techniques. This paper describes some of TRW’s experiences with the utilization of an automated far-field antenna test range to measure the characteristics of a Ku-band monopulse cassegrain spacecraft antenna. It also includes several conclusions drawn from those experiences.
Spherical near-field antenna measurements with the Scientific-Atlanta Model 2022
Near-field antenna measurement techniques offer an alternative to conventional far-field antenna measurement techniques. Of the various coordinate systems used for near-field measurements, the spherical coordinate system provides the most natural extension from the conventional far-field characterization of an antenna to a more general characterization for arbitrary range lengths. This paper describes the Scientific-Atlanta Model 2022, a user-oriented implementation of a spherical near-field antenna measurement system. An example of typical system usage is provided. System capabilities and performance are described. Key concepts required to understand and use the spherical near-field method are discussed. The advantages and disadvantages of near-field antenna testing in relation to conventional far-field testing are considered. The particular merits of spherical near-field testing as compared to other forms of near-field testing are discussed. Antenna testing situations which provide the most likely candidates for the spherical near-field measurement technique are described.
Near-field measurement techniques and equipment at the NAEC facility
The Naval Air Engineering Center has been assigned the task of developing Near Field Measurement Techniques and Equipment for testing Navy Aircraft-mounted antennas. These efforts will be applied to Nose-mounted and Wing-mounted antennas. The ultimate objective is the development of a portable near-field test system for the Navy’s ‘O’ level. The test system will produce far field pattern predictions of installed airborne antennas by measuring and processing near field data. NAEC would, also, like the test system to determine if an installed antenna is mission capable or degraded; and in the event of a failed antenna, the test system will isolate the fault of that antenna. This paper will describe NAEC’s progress in this task by descriptions of the following: I. Electrical Hardware i.e. transmitter, receiver, interfaces, controllers II. Mechanical Hardware i.e. translator, probe carriage III. Mathematical approaches Also, recent laboratory results will be described.
Evaluation of a compact range for millimeter wave antenna measurements
The compact antenna range has been recognized as an effective means of testing microwave antennas. Antennas which normally require long outdoor ranges for testing can be tested under far field conditions at an indoor facility, using the compact range. The compact range operates on the principal that a parabolic reflector will transform an incident spherical wave into a collimated plane wave in its near zone. The plane wave produced is suitable for testing antennas, thus simulating far field electromagnetic criteria in the near zone. The typical compact range is housed in a room approximately 20 feet wide, 40 feet long and 20 feet high. The performance of the compact range has been well documented and specified over a frequency range of 3.95 GHz to 18.0 GHz. Now, through recent testing performed at Scientific-Atlanta, the compact range can be specified for operation up through 60.0 GHz. This paper describes the tests that were performed, discussed the results of these tests and establishes performance specifications for operation at these millimeter frequency bands.
An Automated Precision Microwave Vector Ratio Measurement Receiver Offers Solutions for Sophisticated Antenna Measurement Problems
This paper describes a new, automated, microprocessor controlled, dual-channel microwave vector ratio measurement receiver for the frequency range 10 MHz to 18 GHz. It provides a greater than 120 dB dynamic range and resolutions of 0.001 dB and 0.1 degree. Primarily designed as an attenuator and Signal Generator Calibrator, it offers solutions to antenna measurement problems where high accuracies and/or wide dynamic measurement ranges are required such as for broadband cross-polarization measurements on radar tracking antennas, highly accurate gain measurements on low-loss reflector antennas, frequency domain characteristics measurements on wide-band antennas with resulting data suitable for on-line computer conversion to time domain transient response and dispersion characteristics data and wideband near field scanning measurements for computing far field performances. The measurement data in the instrument is obtained in digital form and available over an IEEE-488 bus interface to an outside computer. Measurement times are automatically optimized by the built-in microprocessor with respect to signal/noise ratio errors in response to the measurement signal level and the chosen resolution. Complete digital measurement data amplitude of both channels and phase, is updated every 5 milliseconds.
Antenna pattern interpolation via digital signal reconstruction
Digital signal processing techniques provide a method by which a finely resolved antenna pattern can be reconstructed from coarsly sampled data. Antenna pattern reconstruction offers several advantages over the direct measurement of a finely resolved pattern, and is applicable whenever a computer is available for implementation of the reconstruction algorithm. As computerized pattern measurement equipment becomes more prevalent, pattern reconstruction algorithms will become more common place. The advantages of pattern reconstruction include higher quality presentation of antenna patterns due to increased resolution, decreased data acquisition time due to coarser sampling, and decreased data storage requirements. The mean square error or a reconstructed antenna pattern is smaller than that of the directly measured pattern. In the context of near-field to far-field pattern transformations, pattern reconstruction becomes essential. The transformation is performed at a coarse spacing for maximum computational speed without compromising the quality of output data. This paper provides an introduction to the technique of antenna pattern reconstruction. Key concepts and terminology are discussed A generic reconstruction algorithm is developed. Examples of interpolated antenna patterns are shown.
A Method for Obtaining the Measurement Cone When Using A Multiple Axis Positioner In the Measurement Of Far Field Antenna Pattern
This paper presents a method for determining the measurement cone associated with the measurement of far field antenna pattern using a multiaxis positioner. Using the Piogram, a convenient method for specifying the transformation matrix between two rotating coordinate systems, it is shown how to determine the transformation matrix for any general multiaxis positioner. Given the transformation matrix, the parameters of the measurement cone are then derived in a straightforward manner, which is summerized [sic] by a step by step procedure.
Cylindrical Near-Field Techniques with Application to Array Antennas
A cylindrical near-field antenna range has been designed, implemented and tested recently at the Cobb County Research Facility of Georgia Tech’s Engineering Experiment Station. While Georgia Tech has had an operational planar scanner since 1974 , the relocation of a portion of the Experiment Station to an off-campus site, together with the need for measurements of antennas not practical with the existing planar scanner, prompted the addition of a cylindrical near-field range. Provision was made in the range instrumentation for planar-polar and spherical near-field measurements. Computer software was written to effect the conversion from cylindrical near-field measurements to far-field patterns.
Configuration of spherical near-field ranges
In principle, spherical near-field scanning measurements are performed in the same way as conventional far-field measurements except that the range length can be reduced. This provides a natural advantage to scanning in spherical coordinates over other coordinate systems due to the steady availability of equipment. However, special considerations must be given to near-field range design because of the necessity for phase measurement capability, mechanical accuracy and the need to handle large quantities of data. Based on experience with spherical near-field measurements carried out during verification testing of a spherical near-field transformation algorithm, we discuss the practical aspects of constructing a near-field range. In particular we will consider range alignment procedure, engineering of the RF signal path and times for data collection and processing.
Field probe measurements and stray signal evaluation of a spherical near-field range
Just as with far-field or compact ranges, it is important to evaluate spherical near-field ranges with electromagnetic field-probe measurements. Recall that the fundamental motion for utilizing the spherical near-field measurement technique is to permit antenna measurements to be made at short range lengths, relieved from the constraint of the far-field criterion. Just as the illumination function in the test zone of an ideal far-field range is a uniform planar wavefront, the ideal illumination function for a near-field range is a spherical wavefront from an elemental dipole. The field probe measurements provide a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the deviation of either a near-field or far-field range from ideal conditions.
A Microwave interferometer technique for RCS and phase measurements
The radar scatter matrix can be accurately characterized in magnitude, relative phase, and polarization for both far-field monostatic and bistatic conditions by means of a microwave interferometer. A separate transmitting antenna illuminates the target of interest while two adjacent receiving antennas measure magnitude and the combine in a phase comparator whose output is a phase differential caused by a changing target aspect angle. Using correct constants and scale factors this differential is integrated to provide target phase information. Different polarizations are obtained by switchable feeds. The technique can be used on an RCS range under static conditions or under dynamic conditions with a ground based radar and an airborne target. The advantage gained is that errors due to radar path length changes are eliminated.
Antenna pattern measurements of large aperture, low sidelobe space antennas
There is a growing interest, for developing large, high performance communication antennas for use in space. Such antennas employ many new technologies and are very expensive to design, build, and deploy. These high risk projects require thorough ground testing before becoming operational. Unfortunately, accurately measuring the far field pattern of a large, structurally weak, high performance antenna on the ground is a difficult problem. The antenna’s extraordinary characteristics place severe tolerances on an antenna measurement range. This paper examines many of the problems encountered with measuring the far field pattern of these antennas. Several possible techniques are reviewed and the errors, tolerances, and limitations associated with each technique are analyzed.
A Simplified technique for probe position error compensation in planar surface near field measurements
This paper presents the results of research conducted to compensate near field measurements for known errors in near field probe position. The complete solution for probe position error compensation and associated computer algorithm developed by Corey as a Ph.D. dissertation resulted in a large computer memory and computation time requirements. Corey’s results showed, however, that the prime effect of probe positioning error was a change in the near field measurement phase in the direction of main beam propagation. It was also shown that the sinusoidal components of the probe position error produced spurious sideband propagation directions in the calculated far field patterns. This information has been used to develop a simplified probe position error compensation technique which requires negligible computer storage and computation time. An early version of this technique has recently been implemented at RCA for the Aegis near field measurement facility. The technique and sample results are presented for a small probe position errors and for a low sidelobe level antenna measurement.
Antenna coordinate system transformations for far field measurements of vehicle mounted antennas
Far field antenna radiation patterns of vehicle mounted antennas are often recorded on the antenna range by rotating the entire vehicle/antenna system with a multiple axis vehicle positioner. Antenna patterns, obtained in this manner, consider the antenna and vehicle as a system and include the effects of the vehicle structure. These patterns are more representative of the operational antenna patterns than the “free space” patterns of the antenna itself. When the antenna is arbitrarily directed on the vehicle, standard antenna pattern cut trajectories, recorded in the coordinate system of the vehicle, become skewed when referenced to the coordinate system of the antenna. With proper adjustment of the fixed angles of the vehicle positioner however, selected standard antenna pattern cut trajectories, referenced to the antenna, may be obtained. The required fixed vehicle positioner angles are obtained from solutions to systems of equations representing the coordinate transformations for the positioner/vehicle/antenna system. In this paper, two general methods of obtaining the coordinate transformation equations are reviewed. These equations are then solved to obtain expressions for the positioner angles necessary for specific cut trajectories. A practical example of a six axis transformation associated with measurements of a three axis gimballed aircraft mounted radar antenna and a three axis vehicle positioner is used to illustrate the techniques (This example was taken from a recent RADC/Newport measurement program.
An Antenna pattern arch for measurements over sea water
The Naval Underwater Systems Center has under construction an antenna pattern arch for measuring the radiation pattern of submarine antennas protruding above the sea water surface. The 70-foot radius tripodal arch is constructed of laminated wood members located over a 66-foot by 93-foot concrete pool which will contain a six inch depth of sea water. A well is located off-center in the pool for mounting the antenna under test. Pattern measurements will be made from 20 MHz to 2 GHz and at antenna heights of up to 15-feet above the sea water. Heretofore this over-sea water pattern information has been unobtainable. The important criteria for far-field antenna measurements are mentioned. The Numerical Electromagnetic Code (NEC) was used to model typical submarine antennas at various frequencies in order to predict the accuracy of the arch range. NEC uses moment methods to determine the arch patterns and the far-field patterns.
A Dual-ported, dual-polarized spherical near-field probe
Spherical near-field testing of antennas requires the acquisition of a great volume of data. In general, to compute the far-field of the antenna under test in any direction requires the acquisition of data at sample intervals related to the size of the antenna under test over a spherical sampling surface completely enclosing the antenna under test. This data must also be sampled as a function of probe orientation. Even for the simplest possible case, two probe orientations (or two probes) must be used.
Performance measurements of a low sidelobe adaptive nulling array
We performed several adaptive nulling experiments on a low sidelobe mono-pulse antenna. The test bed antenna was an 80 element linear array that could achieve sidelobe levels of about 35 dB below the peak of the main beam. Some of the experiments included testing gradient search algorithms, partial adaptive nulling, and nulling in sum and difference channels. The adaptive nulling computer programs as well as the antenna control programs were run from a Scientific Atlanta 2020. This paper describes the test set up, the procedures used to measure the far-field patterns, and the adaptive nulling performance of the test bed data.
Spherical surface near-field measurement
This paper reports on research being conducted at Georgia Tech on the spherical surface near-field measurement technique. The popularity of the spherical surface near-field measurement technique is indicated in the list of near-field ranges as shown in Table I. This popularity is, in large part, due to the availability of the scientific Atlanta Spherical Near-Field Antenna Analyzer. Specifically, the paper reports on the status of (1) the Georgia Tech spherical surface near-field range, (2) comparison of non-probe compensated spherical surface near-field to far-field transformation techniques, (3) a probe position error compensation technique for spherical surface measurements, and (4) alternative spherical surface near-field to far-field transformations which include probe compensation.
An Antenna Test Range for Satellite Payload Tests
Conventional antenna test techniques – both far field “slant ranges” and near field – pose limitations for radiative RF testing of satellite antennas and payload systems, of increasing complexity in terms of size, operating frequencies, configurations and technology, particularly when such systems need to be evaluated in their “in-situ” locations on typical satellite platforms, in their flight configurations. Often, combination of tests and simulation has been the only recourse for evaluating system performance. In this paper, a methodology is proposed to achieve these test objectives via the use of a suitable configures, wideband, large (Quiet zone 7m x 5m x 5m), compact range for evaluation od system parameters like E.I.R.P., G/T, C/I, BER, and RF sensing performances. The test plan and evaluation schemes appropriate for these tests are elaborated to demonstrate the validity and usefulness of the approach. For some specific parameters like C/I (for a multibeam payload system) and the radar parameters (for a satellite borne radar system), it turns out that the proposed test methodologies offer the only realistic and complete tool for evaluating such system at satellite level.
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