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 Some of the more conventional polarization measurement techniques are no longer applicable because of the required measurement time or the achievable accuracy.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.
IEEE 488 System Concepts
This paper will present a basic explanation of the IEEE Standard 488-1978, concerning what it is, and how and why it concerns people in the RF world. In addition, the practical side of the IEEE 488 will be discussed, touching on such topics as the types of instrumentation available with IEEE, custom systems design and installation, the new one-chip interfaces, computer enhancement of measurements and generation of analytical graphic data. This up dated review is made with an eye towards enhancing both speed and accuracy of contemporary antenna testing techniques.
Digital Antenna Data Collecting System for MIL-A-87136 Testing
The Defense Electronic Supply Center in Dayton, Ohio has recently issued a specification, MIL-A-87136, for testing Airborne Antennas. This specification covers all aspects of testing antennas including a section dealing specifically with radiation pattern tests. Further, this specification defines the data format to be used when antenna pattern measurement data is required to be furnished on magnetic tape. Scientific-Atlanta’s Series 2030 Antenna Data Collection System’s magnetic tape format and test instrumentation meets the requirements set forth in MIL-A-87136. The system is a complete instrumentation/firmware package designed and programmed to perform commonly made antenna pattern measurements. After initial operator set-up, measurements can be made automatically at frequencies in the 1-18 GHz range. The test results are digitally recorded on magnetic tape and may be displayed as radiation distribution plots, data listings, or as conventional data patterns. The presentation describes the Antenna Data Collection System, its application to automatic antenna testing and to the requirements of MIL-A-87136. Features of the Data Collection System are included, as well as advantages of automatic measurement and digital recording of antenna data.
Remote Control of Source Functions Over Medium Length Antenna Ranges
Methods of remotely controlling source transmitters and antennas over long distances is described. The remote range controller instrumentation currently available is limited to a 5.5 mile separation, over voice grade telephone lines. Unfortunately the phone line routes are not line of sight. In fact, the most direct route available for source control over dedicated phone lines at the Westinghouse antenna range complex is 13 miles in length. We wanted to utilize the Scientific Atlanta Model 4580 Remote Range Controller since it is fully compatible with out existing signal sources, programmable receivers and positioner controls. However, the data set available with the Model 4580 is limited to 5.5 miles separation between the master control unit and the remote control unit. The data set requires four wires or two dedicated phone lines. Transfer speed is 0-9600 bits per second asynchronous. The solution to overcome the 5.5 mile limitation and permit full use of the Model 4580 capabilities is described. Lightning protection and alternate control methods using tone controls over phone lines and method of employing a microwave link is discussed.
Antenna test facility at ISAC-Bangalore
The paper describes a simple but unique antenna test facility suitable for aerospace antenna developments. The total idea can be easily adopted by organizations who wish to carry out antenna measurements with minimum required instrumentation. The facility majorly caters for omni and wide beam antenna measurements, has been set up at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, India. It has been extensively used for omnidirectional antenna developments in VHF, UHF, L, S, and X-bands for India’s various space programs. Radiation pattern, gain, polarization and impedance measurements can be carried out both in near free space conditions as well as the ground reflection modes. The main feature of the facility is the use of large fiber-glass mounting structures for avoiding reflections and perturbations in radiation patterns due to impressed surface currents, specially in VHF ranges. Field probing is done by the use of a fiber-glass X-Y probe positioner. The facility used Scientific Atlanta 1752 Receiver and 1540 Recorder. Suitable software has been added to the facility for contour plotting of radiation levels, calculation of efficiency isotropy, and polarization properties.
Calculator based antenna analyzer
Automated antennas measurement systems have evolved significantly since the first Scientific-Atlanta Model 1891 which featured a modified IBM selectric as its output device. Following the trend set by the general purpose instrumentation industry, a calculated based antenna analyzer has been designed. The use of a calculator as the system controller offers two distinct advantages. The calculator and its peripherals are much less expensive than a mainframe minicomputer and for some test installations, easier to use.
High sensitivity millimeter wave instrumentation
This paper describes a technique to increase the millimeter-wave sensitivity of the popular 1740-1750 series SA (Scientific-Atlanta) receivers. The frequency coverage is conveniently extended with harmonic mixing techniques which reduce the sensitivity. Phase-locked circuitry was developed to allow the receiver to operate in a fundamental mixing mode which permits the measurement of millimeter-wave antennas and radar targets with the same sensitivity achieved at microwave frequencies. At Ka-band a 30 dB enhancement in sensitivity results with the phase-locked circuitry compared with the conventional instrumentation.
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.
US Army Electronic Proving Ground
The US Army Electronic Proving Ground is in Southeastern Arizona with outlying facilities located throughout Southern Arizona. The Proving Ground is an independent test and evaluation activity under the command of the US Army Test and Evaluation Command. It was established in 1954. EPG’s role in the material acquisition cycle is to conduct development (DT I & II), initial production (first article), and such other engineering (laboratory-type) tests and associated analytical studies of electronic materiel as directed. The results (reports) of these efforts are used by the developer to correct faults, and by Army and DOD decision-makers in determining the suitability of these materiels/systems for adoption and issue. Customer tests to satisfy specific customer requirements and foreign materiel exploitations are also done. EPG is assigned test responsibility for Army ground and airborne (aircraft-mounted) equipment/systems which utilize the electromagnetic spectrum to include: tactical communications; COMSEC (TEMPEST testing included); combat surveillance, and vision equipment (optical, electro-optical, radar, unattended sensors); intelligence acquisition; electronic warfare; radiac; imaging and image interpretation (camera, film, lens, electro-optical); camouflage; avionics; navigation and position location; remotely piloted vehicle; physical security; meteorological; electronic power generation, and tactical computers and associated software. Facilities and capabilities to perform this mission include: laboratories and electronic measurement equipment; antenna pattern measurement’ both free-space and ground-influenced; unattended and physical security sensors; ground and airborne radar target resolution and MTI; precision instrumentation radars in a range configuration for position and track of aerial and ground vehicles; climatic and structural environmental chambers/equipment; calibrated nuclear radiation sources; electromagnetic compatibility, interference and vulnerability measurement and analysis; and other specialized facilities and equipment. The Proving Ground, working in conjunction with a DOD Area Frequency Coordinator, can create a limited realistic electronic battlefield environment. This capability is undergoing significant development and enhancement as a part of a program to develop and acquire the capability to test Army Battlefield Automation Systems, variously called C3I, C4, and/or CCS2 systems. The three principal elements of this capability which are all automated include: Systems Control Facility (SCF), Test Item Stimulator (TIS), and Realistic Battlefield Environment, Electronic (REBEEL). In addition to various instrumentation computers/processors, EPG currently utilizes a DEC Cyber 172, a DEC VAX 11-780, a DEC System 10, and has access to both a CDC 6500 and a 6600. Under the Army Development and Acquisition of Threat Simulators (ADATS) program, EPG is responsible for all non-air defense simulators. The availability of massive real estate in Southern Arizona, which includes more than 70,000 acres on Fort Huachuca, 23,000 acres at Willcox Dry Lake, and 1.5 million acres near Gila Bend, is a major factor in successful satisfaction of our test mission. Fort Huachuca itself is in the foothills of the Huachuca Mountains at an elevation of approximately 5,000 feet and has an average annual rainfall of less than 15 inches. Flying missions are practical almost every day of the year. The Proving Ground is ideally situated between two national ranges and provides overlapping, compatible instrumentation facilities for all types of in-flight test programs. The clear electromagnetic environment, the excellent climatic conditions, and the freedom from aircraft congestion make this an unusually fine area for electronic testing. The Proving Ground consists of a multitude of sophisticated resources, many of them unique in the United States, which are an integral part of the USAEPG test facility and have resulted from an active local research and development effort over a 28-year period.
High resolution instrumentation radar
The development of a high resolution instrumentation radar is described. This radar constructed at X-band uses a chirp waveform to achieve a 4.9” range resolution capability. A key feature of this development is the use of cos2 x amplitude weighting to control the range sidelobes. An example of a high resolution radar response is described.
RADC electromagnetic test facility at Ipswich, MA
The USAF Rome Air Development Center has recently constructed a laboratory building which has recently constructed a laboratory building which has been designed to implement the measurement of microwave antennas and electromagnetic systems. The new facility consists of dual elevated open-ended chambers with retractable doors, a 2700 foot outdoor range, a variable short range and a 40 x 20 x 18 foot anechoic chamber. Wide frequency band instrumentation is installed to provide efficient high speed data collection and analysis required to support the center’s technology development mission in C3I. A presentation of the facility’s capability and design will be given as well as a brief historic overview of significant antenna measurements of the past.
Automated digital antenna measurements
The Automated Digital Antenna Measurement (ADAM) System developed by Flam & Russell, Inc. (FR) relieves the antenna engineer and technician from the constraint of designing a test plan/procedure dictated by the architecture of his automated test system. By contrast, ADAM’s flexibility allows the user to design a test configuration and interface with that instrumentation which is optimum for the performance evaluation of the antenna system under test in terms of data rate and accuracy. Further, as the test needs and configurations change, ADAM changes with them. For instance, if the engineer is testing antennas for a phase/amplitude interferometer, the test set-up might include a Systron-Donner frequency synthesizer and a Scientific-Atlanta receiver – thus sacrificing speed for accuracy. The same facility could be used later in the day for production testing where frequency accuracy is less critical and high data rates are the objective. In this case the signal source might be a voltage controllable Wiltron sweeper and the receiver an HP network analyzer. ADAM accommodates this change by merely identifying the test equipment through a menu.
A Modular antenna analyzer
Recognizing that testing requirements differ, an automated system must be capable of adapting different instrumentation to a specific test. The Series 2080 Modular Antenna Analyzer consists of a computer and processing subsystem (CPS) and four subsystems for antenna measurement applications. The CPS being the nucleus of the Series 2080 system is composed of a computer, appropriate peripherals for interface capability, data storage, data analysis and acquisition software and console. The four subsystems can be comprised of variable instrumentation for a receiving, a positioner control, a signal source and an antenna pattern plotting subsystems. The instrumentation can be supplied by the customer, by Scientific-Atlanta or by other manufacturers.
Wideband radar cross section diagnostic measurements
This paper describes a diagnostic RCS measurement system which uses a low-power, wideband, linear-FM radar to provide RCS responses of targets as a function of frequency, range, cross range, and angle. Range and frequency responses are produced by using an FFT analyzer and a desktop computer to perform on-line signal processing and provide rapid access to final results. Two-dimensional maps of the target RCS distribution in range and cross range are obtained by offline processing of recorded data. The system processes signals resulting from a swept bandwidth exceeding 3GHz to provide range resolution of less than 10 cm. The various operating modes of the instrumentation provide a powerful tool for RCS diagnostic efforts in which individual scattering sources must be isolated and characterized. Several examples of experimental results and presented to demonstrate the utility and performance limits of the instrumentation. The examples include results obtained from measurements of a number of simple and complex shapes and of some commercially available radar absorbing materials.
Polarization correction of spherical near-field data
This paper describes the relationship of probe polarization correction to probe-pattern corrected and non-probe-pattern-corrected spherical near-field measurements. A method for reducing three-antenna polarization data to a form useful for polarization correction is presented. The results of three-antenna measurements and the effects of polarization correction on spherical near-field measurements are presented.
The New ANSI RF Radiation Exposure Standard: Its Background and Impact
This presentation will focus on the recently revised ANSI C95 RF Radiation Exposure Standard. Some of the research background for the new standard will be given, and its impact will be explained. Instrumentation guidelines for measuring potentially hazardous fields will be presented. The possible damaging effects of non-ionizing RF radiation is receiving increased attention in the public eye, and it behooves the practicing antenna engineer to be aware of the potential dangers to health and safety from exposure of RF energy.
The Determination of near-field correction parameters for circularly polarized probes
In order to accurately determine the far-field of an antenna from near-field measurements the receiving pattern of the probe must be known so that the probe correction can be performed. When the antenna to be tested is circularly polarized, the measurements are more accurate and efficient if circularly polarized probes are used. Further efficiency is obtained if one probe is dual polarized to allow for simultaneous measurements of both components. A procedure used by the National Bureau of Standards for determining the plane-wave receiving parameters of a dual-mode, circularly polarized probe is described herein. First, the on-axis gain of the probe is determined using the three antenna extrapolation technique. Second, the on-axis axial ratios and port-to-port comparison ratios are determined for both the probe and source antenna using a rotating linear horn. Far-field pattern measurements of both amplitude and phase are then made for both the main and cross components. In the computer processing of the data, the on-axis results are used to correct for the non-ideal source antenna polarization, scale the receiving coefficients, and correct for some measurement errors. The plane wave receiving parameters are determined at equally spaced intervals in k-space by interpolation of the corrected pattern data.
Options and considerations for the design of computer aided antenna measurement systems
Rapid advances in digital and micro-computer technology have revolutionized automated control of most measurement processes and the techniques for analysis, storage and presentation of the resulting data. Present-day computer capabilities offer many “user-friendly” options for antenna instrumentation, some of which have yet to be exploited to their full potential. These range from vendor-integrated turnkey systems to innovative designs employing a multitude of subsystem components in custom-interfaced configurations. This paper reviews system and component choices keeping in mind their relative merits and trade-offs. Key design considerations are outlined with particular emphasis on: a) Integration and interfacing of different instrumentation, hardware and software subsystems. b) Upgrading and/or designing of completely new facilities. Various other problems, such as vendor package compatability, and those associated with the analysis and application of measured antenna data are discussed. In addition, suggestions are offered to promote the establishment of a mechanism to facilitate the interchange of data between different antenna measurement laboratories and analysis centres.
Performance criteria for RCS measurement systems
The purpose of an instrumentation radar is to characterize the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of a target as a function of target aspect and radar frequency. In addition, an instrumentation radar may be used to produce a high resolution radar image of a target which is useful in target identification work and as a diagnostic tool in radar cross section reduction. These purposes differ from those of a conventional radar, in which the objective is to detect the presence of a target and to measure the range to the target. Several different radars are currently used to perform radar cross section measurements. Common instrumentation radars may be classified as CW, Pulsed CW (Low-Bandwidth IF), Linear FM (FM-CW), Pulsed (High-Bandwidth IF) and Short Pulse (Very High-Bandwidth IF). These radars accomplish the measurement task in distinct manners, and it is sometimes difficult to determine where the strength or weakness of each radar lies. In this paper, a set of performance criteria is proposed for RCS measurements. The proposed criteria can be applied uniformly to any instrumentation radar independent of the type of radar design employed. The criteria are chosen to emphasize those performance characteristics that relate directly to RCS measurements and thus are most important to the user. Two instrumentation radars which have been designed at Scientific Atlanta, namely the Series 2084 (Linear FM) and the Series 1790 (Pulse), are used to illustrate the application of the performance criteria.
Extraction of narrow band responses for wideband RCS data
Wideband RCS instrumentation systems can provide a high degree of range resolution. By combining wideband RCS data with a synthetic-aperture or Doppler processing, the spatial distribution of radar reflectivity can be determined. These systems provide diagnostic capabilities which are useful for locating scattering sources on complex objects and for assessing the effectiveness of modifications. The Proceedings of the 1983 meeting included a paper which described a linear-FM system operating over a 3 GHz bandwidth capable of measuring RCS vs range, cross range, and frequency using a single measurement set-up. This paper analytically demonstrates a procedure for extracting CW RCS patterns from the wideband data obtained using the linear-FM system. By combining the latter and the former processing, it is possible to obtain from a single data array both wideband responses showing the spatial distribution of scatterers and narrowband responses which are the traditional CW RCS patterns. The paper includes experimental verifications of these assertions by comparing results of CW measured data with data extracted from wideband RCS measurements.
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