AMTA Paper Archive
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Making Transient Antenna Measurements
In addition to steady state performance, antennas also have transient responses that need to be characterized. As antennas become more complex, such as active phased arrays, the transient responses of the antennas also become more complex. Transient responses are a function of internal antenna interactions such as coupling and VSWR, active circuitry, and components such as phase shifters and attenuators. This paper will show techniques for measuring antenna transient responses. The first measurements utilize standard instrumentation capable of sampling at up to 4 MHz, giving 250 nS time resolution of the transient effect. Recognizing that some transient measurements require finer time resolution, a higher sampling rate prototype receiver was developed with 1 nS time resolution. After verification of its performance, the prototype receiver was used to measure the transient effects of a 50 nS pulse through a broadband antenna. The spectrum of the pulse yields information on the time and frequency domain responses of the antenna. Phased arrays may exhibit transient signals when switching between beam directions as well as switching between frequencies. The methods presented in this paper are applicable to both.
Reconfigurable Beamwidth Antenna Array using Phase Adjustment of Array Elements
Reconfigurable radar antennas with rapid, real-time control of the radiation pattern beamwidth provide expanded performance for many instrumentation radar applications, including RCS signature measurement and dynamic Time Space Position Information (TSPI) radar tracking applications. Adaptive adjustment of antenna radiation patterns was traditionally accomplished by electro-mechanically selecting predefined aperture dimensions that corresponded to desired beamwidths (e.g., ? ?/D). For an array antenna consisting of as few as 200 elements, beam shaping can be accomplished by adjusting the relative phase of individual array elements, a technique defined as beam spoiling or decollimation. This paper analyzes an operational radar antenna array incorporating reconfigurable beamwidth and beam shape through independent phase control of each subaperture. By adjusting the relative phase of radiating elements, the system can illuminate a programmable field of regard with full transmit power. For this array, the phase distributions across the elements map to a smaller "virtual aperture" displaced behind the physical array. Theoretical and measured results are presented to validate the reconfigurable array pattern control technique.
Implementation of a Burst-Mode Technique and Variable Coherent Integration to Minimize Radar Data Collection Time
Abstract— Compact ranges are ideal settings for collecting low-RCS measurement data at high pulse rates. However, until recently, two operating constraints have limited the efficiency of instrumentation radar systems in this setting: (1) system delays limiting Pulse Repetition Frequency (PRF) and (2) fixed integration across frequency resulting in more time spent on certain frequencies than required. In this paper, we demonstrate the capability to significantly increase data throughput by using a Burst-Mode to increase the usable PRF and a frequency table editing mode to vary integration levels across the frequency bandwidth. A major factor in the choice of PRF for a specific application is system hardware delays. We describe the use of a Burst-Mode of operation in the MkVe Radar to reduce delays caused by physical layout of the instrumentation hardware. Burst-Mode essentially removes setup time in the system, reducing the time between pulses to the roundtrip time of flight from the antenna to the target. Most pulsed-IF instrumentation radar users fix the coherent integration level for the entire measurement waveform, even though the set level of integration may not be required at all frequencies to achieve the desired sensitivity. We describe the use of a frequency table Parameter Editor Mode in the MkVe that allows the integration level to vary for each step in the waveform. We demonstrate the use of both methods to reduce data collection time by a factor of seven using a MkVe Radar installed in a compact range.
Development of a Precision Model Positioning System for a Multi-Use Electromagnetic Test Facility at NASA Langley Research Center
This paper describes the mechanical design, control instrumentation and software for a precision model positioning system developed for use in the Experimental Test Range (ETR) electromagnetic test facility at NASA Langley Research Center. ADC has a contract to design, build, and install major components for an updated indoor antenna characterization and scattering measurement range at NASA Langley Research Center. State-of-the-art electromagnetic systems are driving a demand to increase the precision and repeatability of electromagnetic test ranges. Sophisticated motion control systems can help meet these demands by providing electromagnetic test engineers with a level of positioning fidelity and testing speed not possible with previous generation technology. The positioning system designed for the Experimental Test Range at NASA Langley Reseach Center consists of a rail positioning system and four rail positioning carriages: an antenna measurement positioner, scattering and RCS measurement pylon, an azimuth rotator to support foam columns, and an electric personnel lift for test article access. A switching station allows for rail positioning carriages to be quickly moved on and off of the rail system. Within the test chamber there is also a string reel positioning system capable of positioning test articles within a 40’ x 40’ x 25’ volume. Total length of the rail system is 112’ with laser position encoding for the final section of the rail system. Linear guide rails are used to support the carriages and each carriage is position with a rack and pinion drive. Rails mount to steel weldments that are supported with 8” diameter feet. Capacity of the rail system is 7,300 lbs. A switching station allows for positioning components to be moved off of and onto the rail system independently and a place to dock positioning components when they are not in use. A curved linear guide rail supports the switching station so that the platform can be rotated manually. Hardened tapered pins are used to align the switching station with mating rail segments. The scattering and radar cross section (RCS) measurement pylon is a 4:1 ratio ogive shape and has a 3,000 lb load capacity. A pitch rotator tip or spline driven azimuth tip can be mounted to the pylon. The spline drive shaft can be removed to allow for the pitch tip to be mounted to the end of the pylon. Total height of the pylon is 18’ from the floor to the pitch positioner mounting plate. Keywords: RCS, Scattering, Pylon, Positioner, Antenna Design, Rotator, Instrumentation, electromagnetic, Radio Frequency, Radar
A Portable Antenna Measurement System for Large-Scale and Multi-Contour Near-Fields
Antenna measurement facilities face their physical limits with the growing size of today’s large and narrow packed antenna farms of telecom satellites but also of large unfurlable reflector antennas for low frequency telecom applications. The special operational constraints that come along when measuring such large future antennas demand for new measurement approaches, especially if the availability or realization of present measurement systems with large anechoic chambers is not an option. This paper presents a new system called PAMS (Portable Antenna Measurement System). The most characteristic part of PAMS is that the RF instrumentation is installed inside a gondola that is positioned by an overhead crane. The gondola is equipped with one or several probes to scan the near-fields of the antenna under test. With a modified crane control the gondola can be placed anywhere within the working space of the crane, which is considered as being giant in comparison to measurement volumes of existing large antenna test facilities. The whole system supports but is not limited to common classical near-field scanning techniques. Thanks to new near-field to far-field transformations the system can deal with arbitrary free form scanning surfaces and probe orientations allowing measurements that have been constrained by the classical near-field theory so far. The paper will explain the PAMS concept on system level and briefly on sub-system level. As proof of concept, study results of critical technologies are discussed. The paper will conclude with the status about on-going development activities.
Advances in Instrumentation and Positioners for Millimeter-Wave Antenna Measurements
Applications using millimeter-wave antennas have taken off in recent years. Examples include wireless HDTV, automotive radar, imaging and space communications. NSI has delivered dozens of antenna measurement systems operating at mm-wave frequencies. These systems are capable of measuring a wide variety of antenna types, including antennas with waveguide inputs, coaxial inputs and wafer antennas that require a probing station. The NSI systems are all based on standard mm-wave modules from vendors such as OML, Rohde & Schwarz and Virginia Diodes. This paper will present considerations for implementation of these systems, including providing the correct RF and LO power levels, the impact of harmonics, and interoperability with coaxial solutions. It will also investigate mechanical aspects such as application of waveguide rotary joints, size and weight reduction, and scanner geometries for spherical near-field and far-field measurements. The paper will also compare the performance of the various mm-wave solutions. Radiation patterns acquired using some of these near-field test systems will be shared, along with some of the challenges encountered when performing mm-wave measurements in the near-field.
Effects of a Non-Ideal Plane Wave on Compact Range Measurements
Performance requirements for compact ranges are typically specified as metrics describing the quiet zone's electromagnetic-field quality. The typical metrics are amplitude taper and ripple, phase variation, and cross polarization. Acceptance testing of compact ranges involves phase probing of the quiet zone to confirm that these metrics are within their specified limits. It is expected that if the metrics are met, then measurements of an antenna placed within that quiet zone will have acceptably low uncertainty. However, a literature search on the relationship of these parameters to resultant errors in antenna measurement yields limited published documentation on the subject. Various methods for determining the uncertainty in antenna measurements have been previously developed and presented for far-field and near-field antenna measurements. An uncertainty analysis for a compact range would include, as one of its terms, the quality of the field illuminating on the antenna of interest. In a compact range, the illumination is non-ideal in amplitude, phase and polarization. Error sources such as reflector surface inaccuracies, chamber-induced stray signals, reflector and edge treatment geometry, and instrumentation RF leakage, perturb the illumination from ideal.
Measurement of Operational Orientations Using Coordinate Transforms and Polarization Rotations
Antenna and Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements are often required for orientation sets (cuts) that are difficult or impossible to produce with the positioning instrumentation available in a given lab. This paper describes a general coordinate transform, combined with a general polarization rotation to correct for these orientation differences. The technique is general, and three specific examples from actual test programs are provided. The first is for an RCS measurement of a component mounted in a flat-top test fixture. The component is designed to be mounted in a platform at an orientation not feasible for the flat-top fixture, and the test matrix calls for conic angle cuts of the platform. The transforms result in a coordinated, simultaneous two-axis motion profile and corresponding polarization rotations yielding the same information as if the component had been mounted in the actual platform. The second example is for a pattern measurement of an antenna suite mounted on a cylindrical platform (such as a projectile). In this case, the test matrix calls for a roll-cut, but the range positioning system does not include a roll positioner. The transforms again result in a coordinated, simultaneous two-axis motion profile and corresponding polarization rotations to provide the same information as the required roll-cut but without the use of a roll positioner. Finally, the third example is for an antenna pattern measurement consisting of an extremely large number of cuts consisting of conic yaw cuts, roll cuts and pitch cuts. The chosen method involves the use of the Boeing string suspension system to produce great-circle cuts at various pitch angles combined with the use of the coordinate and polarization transforms to emulate, off-line, any arbitrary cut over any axis or even multiple axes. Keywords: Algorithm, Positioning, Polarization, Coordinates, RCS
Multi-Probe Spherical Near-Field Antenna Test System for an Aircraft Rotodome
A multi-probe array (MPA) spherical near-field antenna measurement system, comprised of COTS equipment, has been developed for testing UHF antennas mounted in an aircraft rotodome. The spherical probe radius is 5 meters, which accommodates a 24 ft. diameter rotodome. The probe array, arranged in a circular arc about the test zone center, provides rapid time multiplexed samples of dual polarized spherical theta angle measurements. These measurements are collected at incremental steps of spherical phi angles, provided by a floor azimuth turntable. The rotodome is mounted on the azimuth turntable, and is rotated 360 degrees during a data collection. During one azimuth rotation, completed in a few minutes, a full set of 3D, dual polarized, multi-frequency near-field pattern data is collected. The data is transformed to full 3D far-field patterns in another few minutes, providing a complete rotodome test time within 15 minutes. The entire system is contained within a room 42’ x 42’ x 25’. This paper will describe the test requirements, physical requirements of the DUT, size constraints of the facility, and measurement speed goals. Alternate solutions and range geometries will be discussed, along with why the MPA solution is best given the requirements and size constraints. The system will be described in detail, including discussion of the room design, RF instrumentation, multi-probe array, positioning equipment, and controllers. Measurement results will be presented for test antennas of known pattern characteristics, along with other performance metrics, such as test times.
Design and Testing of Layered Anisotropic Dielectric Materials
Several instances in antenna design are known where an anisotropic material is useful ; however, finding a naturally occurring anisotropic material with the required dielectric tensor is often an impossibility. Therefore, artificial anisotropic dielectric materials must be designed, tested, and implemented. In this paper we shall present a layered artificial anisotropic dielectric material with a biaxial permittivity tensor. This material is designed to be used in conjunction with an antenna in order to improve antenna bandwidth. The design motivation behind this material shall be discussed, along with its implementation, the measurement of its permittivity tensor, and testing characterization with a prototype antenna. Results from CST Microwave Studio® simulations and the mixing rules from dielectric material science will be compared with the measured data. Test fixture design and instrumentation will also be presented. Predictions on various types of artificial anisotropic dielectrics suitable for future applications will also be discussed.
Implementation and Testing of Engineered Anisotropic Dielectric Materials
Several instances in antenna design are known where an anisotropic material is useful ; however, finding a naturally occurring anisotropic material with the required dielectric tensor is often an impossibility. Therefore, artificially engineered anisotropic dielectric materials must be designed, tested, and implemented. In a previous paper by the authors , the design and initial measurement of an anisotropic material in Cartesian coordinates was presented along with predictions of how the material could be used to extend the bandwidth of a simple antenna structure. In this paper we shall present the final implementation of the anisotropic material (with a tensor implemented in cylindrical coordinates) along with data on the material properties, the resulting antenna bandwidth, and radiation pattern. Design considerations for implementation of this approach shall be discussed along with practical limitations. Data shall also be presented on an unexpected result showing that that a reduced volume of anisotropic material produces favorable results. Measured data shall be compared with values predicted using finite difference time domain (FDTD) software and applications of this new broadband antenna for range operations will be discussed. . D. Tonn, S. Safford, M. Lanagan, E. Furman, S. Perini, “DESIGN AND TESTING OF LAYERED ANISOTROPIC DIELECTRIC MATERIALS”, AMTA 2015 Proceedings, Long Beach CA, October 2015.
Transfer Function Characterization for a Dual Reflector, Indoor Compact Range
Raytheon, El Segundo, CA chamber #2 is a dual reflector, indoor compact range that is the largest facility of its kind within the company. A series of tests were performed to characterize the measured transfer function of the chamber because of a recent capital upgrade of the range measurement system. The purpose of this paper is to document and discuss the results of the characterization testing, review how the measured transfer function of the range was determined, and compare the current results with both past data and analytical predictions, and demonstrate how this transfer function is used for antenna and radar cross section (RCS) measurement characterization. The measured transfer function of the range is used for both antenna and RCS measurement characterization. For antenna measurements, the transfer function is used in the Friis transmission equation to determine, for example, the expected power at the receiver given the transmit power and gain of both the transmit antenna and the antenna under test. Appropriate amplification and/or attenuation can determined as part of the test planning process saving time during test setup and test execution. For RCS measurements, the transfer function was recently utilized to study the benefits and challenges of relocating our instrumentation radar from a smaller compact range to this large compact range. The motivation for the study was enhanced measurement capability for larger targets and lower frequencies. This study utilized noise equivalent RCS (NERCS) as the metric and transmit power, pulse width, and pulse integration as the study parameters to find a practical solution for optimizing NERCS.
Ka-Band Measurement Results of the Irregular Near-Field Scanning System PAMS
The portable antenna measurement system PAMS was developed for arbitrary and irregular near-field scanning. The system utilizes a crane for positioning of the near-field probe. Inherent positioning inaccuracies of the crane mechanics are handled with precise knowledge of the probe location and a new transformation algorithm. The probe position and orientation is tracked by a laser while the near-field is being sampled. Far-field patterns are obtained by applying modern multi-level fast multipole techniques. The measurement process includes full probe pattern correction of both polarizations and takes into account channel imbalances. Because the system is designed for measuring large antennas the RF setup utilizes fiber optic links for all signals from the ground instrumentation up to the gondola, at which the probe is mounted. This paper presents results of the Ka-band test campaign in the scope of an ESA/ESTEC project. First, the new versatile approach of characterizing antennas in the near-field without precise positioning mechanics is briefly summarized. The setup inside the anechoic chamber at Airbus Ottobrunn, Germany is shown. Test object was a linearly polarized parabolic antenna with 33dBi gain at 33GHz. The near-fields were scanned on a plane with irregular variations of over a wavelength in wave propagation. Allowing these phase variations in combination with a non-equidistant grid gives more degree of freedom in scanning with less demanding mechanics at the cost of more complex data processing. The setup and the way of on-the-fly scanning are explained with respect to the crane speed and the receiver measurement time. Far-fields contours are compared to compact range measurements for both polarizations to verify the test results. The methodology of gain determination is also described under the uncommon near-field constraint of coarse positioning accuracy. Finally, the error level assessment is outlined on the basis of the classic 18-term near-field budgets. The assessment differs in the way the impact of the field transformation on the far-field pattern is evaluated. Evaluation is done by testing the sensitivity of the transformation with a combination of measured and synthetic data.
Intermodulation Analysis and Detection of Radio Broadcasting Services Using Real-Spectrum Monitoring Systems
In this paper, an analysis of the intermodulation effects observed in radio communication signals measurement systems, placed in vicinity of highly congested FM stations sites is presented. This work is required due to intermodulation issues have been a widely-studied topic in frequency analysis for communication stations, nevertheless the perspective of those analysis is mainly focused on avoiding the generation of intermodulation products that represents real spectrum occupancy but there is no an analysis for the intermodulation caused by the susceptibility of monitoring devices that, due to the non-linear behavior of the electronic components, present intermodulation products like real signals. The causes of intermodulation phenomena are discussed, which are mainly due to the non-linear behavior of one or several components of the monitoring system, and due to the proximity between transmission sites or between the measurement system and the site of the transmission. As a complement, a review of technical specifications for different monitoring instrumentation like receptors, active and passive antenna system, amplifiers, and filters and its effects on unwanted Intermodulation generation is done. With the goal of suppressing or minimize the Intermodulation Distortion of the electronic devices used for monitoring, a procedure for identification, according ITU recommendations, based on attenuators for common spectrum analyzers and using passive antennas have been designed and tested in different sites in different countries. The measurements obtained with different active devices and passive devices in the measurement system are presented and compared, identifying with the procedure the spectral characteristics of the intermodulation products and the reduction or filtering of these effects analytically and graphically.
Specular Reflectance Measurement of Dielectric Plates in 110-325 GHz Frequency Range
For high speed and high data-rate communications, operating frequency bands of wireless communication systems have been moving to submillimeter frequency range and their bandwidths have been broadening. IEEE 802.15 THz Interest Group (IEEE 802.15 IGthz) has been performing a channel characteristics study for future indoor millimeter and submillimeter wireless communications in the frequency range of 75 - 110 GHz and 270 - 320 GHz. Specular reflectance data of indoor interior materials is a prerequisite to analysis of the channel characteristics of new indoor millimeter and submillimeter wireless communications. Specular reflectiondescribed by the law of reflection states that the direction of the incident wave and the direction of the reflected wave make the same angle with respect to the surface normal, thus theangle of incidence is equal to that of reflection. This paper describes a specular reflectance measurement system and shows measurement result of dielectric plates in the frequency range from 110 GHz to 325 GHz. Specular reflectance measurement system consists of an S-parameters measurement system and a specular reflectance measurement apparatus. The S-parameters measurement system consists of a 67 GHz vector network analyzer used as the main frame and three frequency extenders which are operating at three frequency bands (D-band (110 -170 GHz), G-band (140-220 GHz) and J-band (220-325 GHz)), respectively. The specular reflectance measurement apparatus consists of a transmitting part, a receiving part, and a MUT holder which is positioned in the middle of the transmitting and receiving parts. During the specular reflectance measurement, the transmitting part is fixed while the MUT holder and receiving part are coaxial-rotating with 1:2 speed ratio. The transmitting and receiving frequency extenders are installed on the transmitting and receiving parts, respectively. For the specular reflectance measurement, one measures the transmission coefficient (S21_MUT) corresponding to the specular reflectance of an MUT mounted on the MUT holder. After replacing the MUT with a metal plate, one measures the transmission coefficient (S21_metal) corresponding to the specular reflectance of the metal plate, assumed to be -1. Specular reflectance of the MUT is obtained by taking the ratio (S21_MUT/S21_metal) of the respective transmission coefficients corresponding to the specular reflectance of the MUT and the metal plate. Multiple reflection effects between the transmitting and receiving antennas can be averaged out and minimized by averaging the transmission coefficients measured with changing the separation distances between the two antennas by ?/8 interval (i.e. initial distance + n·?/8, n=0,1,2,3). Specular reflectances of dielectric plates are measured in the 30° to 70° incident angle range with the developed measurement system in the frequency range from 110 GHz to 325 GHz. Description of the detailed measurement system and measurement result will be presented at the symposium.
Reducing the Scanning Time in Near-Field Measurements with an Optimized Sampling and an Optimized Controller on Arduino Due
The aim of the paper is to address a relevant issue in the Near-Field (NF) measurements: the reduction of the measurement time. Generally speaking, for a given hardware, two main directions can be pursued. The first requires the adoption of an optimal field sampling strategy that reduces the number of sampling points, and the length of the scanning path, without impairing accuracy. The second strategy adopts an optimized control system able to exploit at the best the available hardware (scanning system and measurement instrument). Indeed, the latency of the instrument defines the maximum probe velocity during the field acquisition. Accordingly, unlike the conventional continuous scanning, an optimized controller can speed up the scanning by moving the probe along the measurement trajectory with a variable velocity, accelerating and decelerating between two consecutive sampling points, to increase the average speed. However, the use of an optimized controller is fruitful only when the optimized sampling scheme allows large distances between two consecutive sampling locations, to increase as much as possible the maximum probe speed. In this paper, by suitably using both the above strategies, it is proposed a fast NF system, implemented on a microcontroller Arduino Due, an extremely cheap and off the shelf hardware, that is able to handle the scanner and realize the synergy between the optimized sampling and the optimized control strategy. The simulation and experimental results show a dramatic reduction of the measurement time (up to one order of magnitude) with a high tracking precision (also in accordance with the proposed methodology), and of the costs with respect to standard solutions.
Compact Antenna Measurement Range for OTA testing of Active Antenna System Base Stations
Measurement scenarios for 5G mobile communications are nowadays challenging the industry to define suitable turn-key solutions that allow Over the Air (OTA) testing of non-connectorized devices. In order to respond to the needs of an effective measurement solution, that allow measuring all the required OTA parameters at both sub6GHz and mm-Wave frequencies and that could be deployed in a very short time, the Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) was chosen. In this paper, we will summarize the performance and the testing capabilities of a short focal-length, corner-fed CATR design, providing a 1.5 m x 1.5 m cylindrical Quiet Zone, operating from 1.7 GHz to 40 GHz and upgradeable to 110 GHz, allowing OTA measurements of Active Antenna System (AAS) Base Stations (BS), installed at Ericsson premises in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017.
Parameter Extraction Algorithm for Conductor Backed, Bi-Layered Uniaxial Materials
An algorithm is developed for the extraction of constitutive parameters from bi-layered uniaxial anisotropic materials backed by a conductive layer. A method of moments-based approach is used in conjunction with a previously-determined Green function. Possible challenges related to measurement diversity are highlighted and a possible mitigation path is proposed.
Specular Reflectance and Antenna Property Measurements in 325-500 GHz Frequency Range
Specular reflectance data of indoor interior materials is a prerequisite to analysis of the channel characteristics for new millimeter and submillimeter indoor wireless communications. Antenna property such as gain and radiation pattern is one of the key measurement quantities in electromagnetic wave metrology. This paper describes a specular reflectance and antenna property measurement system and shows measurement results of the specular reflectance of an Acetal plate and the antenna property of a 24 dB horn antenna in 325-500 GHz frequency range.
Evaluation of Software Defined Radio Receiver for Phaseless Near-Field Measurements
This paper presents a time domain antenna measurement technique by using a low cost software defined radio receiver. The technique aims to resolve measurement challenges derived from antennas where the reference signal is not accessible. The phase reconstruction implemented in this work is based on calculating the Fast Fourier Transform of the time domain signal to estimate the power spectrum and the relative phase between measurement points. In order to do that a reference antenna is used to retrieve the phase, providing a full characterization in amplitude and phase of the electric field and allowing source reconstruction. The results demonstrate the potential of this technique for new antenna measurement systems and reveal some of the limitations of the technique to be optimized, like the undesired reflections due to the interactions between the probe and the reference antenna.
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