AMTA Paper Archive


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A High Performance Combined NF-FF Antenna Test Facility
U. Shemer,C.T. Tong, November 2005
DSO National Laboratories (DSO) has commissioned a state-of-the-art combined near-field and far-field antenna test facility in 2004. This facility supports highly accurate measurement of a wide range of antenna types over 1–18 GHz. The overall system accuracy allows for future extensions to 40GHz and higher. The 11.0m x 5.5m x 4.0m (L x W x H) shielded facility houses the anechoic chamber and the control room. As the proffered location for this indoor facility is on top of an existing complex instead of the ground floor, antenna pick­up is facilitated by a specialized loading platform accompanied by a heavy-duty state of the art fully automated 2.0m x 3.0m (W x H) sliding door, as well as an overhead crane that spans the entire chamber width. Absorber layout comprises 8-inch, 12-inch, 18-inch and 24-inch pyramidal absorbers. The positioning system is a heavy-duty high precision 3.6m x 2.9m (W x H) T-type planar scanner and AUT positioner. The AUT positioner system is configured as roll over upper slide over azimuth over lower slide system. This positioning system configuration allows for planar, cylindrical and spherical near-field measurements. A rapidly rotating roll positioner is mounted on a specialized alignment fixture behind the scanner to facilitate far-field measurements. Instrumentation is based on an Agilent PNA E8362B. Software is based on the MiDAS 4.0 package. A Real-Time Controller (RTC), accompanied by an 8-port RF switch, facilitates multi-port antenna measurements, with the possibility of interfacing to an active antenna.
Conducted Emissions Testing for Electromagnetic Compatibility
M. Moy,D. Arakaki, November 2005
Operating frequencies in the gigahertz range is creating an increased need for electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) testing. In the United States, FCC regulations require conformance to radiated and conducted emissions specifications. An EMC laboratory was established at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo (screen room, test instrumentation, and software) and an experiment was developed to explore conducted emissions effects. This paper will describe the test configuration, explain the calibration procedure needed to acquire accurate measurements, and illustrate measurement techniques applied to two example systems. In addition, the data collection process is illustrated through software donated by CKC Laboratories (EMC specialists). To verify the functionality of the laboratory and to assess measurement accuracy, two 12V/15W switching power supplies are characterized for conducted emissions performance; one as supplied by the vendor (KGCOMP) and a second unit with the EMC filters removed. The noise spectrum for both units are plotted against frequency and compared to FCC specifications. The unaltered unit is shown to be in compliance, thus verifying the accuracy of the test procedure and instrumentation.
Design Issues for a maverick RCS Instrumentation Radar
K. Vaccaro,D. Mensa, D. Loucks, November 2006
This paper describes the motivation and major issues related to the design of an RCS radar instrumentation system for use in a compact range. The high degree of sophistication implemented in commercially-available radar systems renders them subject to significant MTTR (mean time to repair) with corresponding losses in range productivity. The objective of the design effort was to develop a system of minimal complexity, maximally suited to troubleshooting and repair by laboratory personnel, while retaining the operational efficiency normally provided by the commercial systems.
The Impact of Local Area Networks on Antenna Measurement Range Design
M. Baggett, November 2006
The increasing numbers of microwave instruments and devices that include IEEE 802.3 interfaces are influencing range design and capabilities, as well as the ability to remotely locate GPIB instruments. The major benefits of LAN based instrumentation systems are increased flexibility in instrument location and increased capabilities over long distances compared to GPIB based ranges. This paper discusses the relative merits of LAN based microwave test instrumentation ranges. Several example range designs are included that demonstrate how LAN based instrumentation can increase range flexibility and reduce costs in range implementation.
Characterization of the PLANCK Radio Frequency Qualification Model and Preparations for Flight Model Tests
H. Garcia,C. Nardini, D. Dubruel, G. Forma, J. Marti-Canales, M. Paquay, November 2006
The measurement of the radiation patterns of the PLANCK Radio Frequency Qualification Model (RFQM) is one of the most important elements of the verification of the PLANCK telescope. PLANCK is one of the scientific missions of the European Space Agency and is devoted to observe the Cosmic Microwave Background radiation, with unprecedented accuracy. The satellite payload consists of two state-of-the-art, cryogenically cooled instruments sharing a dual reflector telescope with 1.5 m aperture and covering the frequency range from 27 GHz to 1000 GHz. As a key part of the telescope verification logic, the radiation patterns of the RFQM has been measured in the Alcatel Alenia Space Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) at four frequencies (30, 70, 100 and 320 GHz) using representative flight feed horns of the focal plane unit. This paper presents the test logic, the measured radiation patterns, the custom-made instrumentation set-up, the correction techniques used and the final link to the Flight Model verification.
Assessment of a Planar Near-Field Range for Quiet-Zone Measurements at 650 GHz
Matti Vaaja,Antti Räisänen, Janne Häkli, Juha Mallat, November 2007
Planar near-field probing is used in the optimisation of the quiet-zone of a hologram-based compact antenna test range (CATR). In this paper, the measurement instrumentation for 650 GHz operation is introduced and the potential measurement errors in the quiet-zone measurements are identified. Applicable error correction and compensation methods are discussed and the total measurement accuracy is calculated.
Quasi-optical instrumentation for the Planck FM telescope RF alignment verification measurements at 320 GHz
Maurice Paquay,Dennis Dubruel, Gilbert FORMA, Javier Marti-Canales, Richard Wylde, November 2007
In the Flight Model (FM) of the PLANCK telescope, the feed horns are connected to either HEMTs or bolometers operating at cryogenic temperatures to detect the Cosmic Microwave Background radiometric signal. For the purpose of an overall alignment verification at ambient temperature, reflectivity measurements will be performed using an auxiliary feed horn that is terminated with a switching diode. This verification test will be conducted at 320 GHz, to benefit from the narrow beam and a high sensitivity to misalignment. To perform the reflectivity measurements, an additional “circulator” with low loss and high isolation between transmit and return channels had to be developed. Besides that, the circulator co-locates the phase centres of both Tx and Rx range antennas on the focal point of the CATR, which allows monostatic reflectivity measurements. Quasi-optical techniques have been used to design a circulator that meets these requirements. The assembly has been developed, tested and used for reflectivity measurements.
Next Generation Phase Coherent Microwave Instrumentation Receiver
Dave Fooshe,Dan Slater, November 2007
The next generation of antennas will benefit from advanced instrumentation receivers capable of providing simultaneous analog and digital IF inputs, better TR pulse synchronization and high resolution pulse profiling. One such receiver uses a synergistic combination of a tightly coupled FPGA based beam controller, high performance analog digitizers, multiple FPGA based digital signal processors and a new mathematical programming environment. The FPGA signal processor provides direct digital downconversion, high resolution pulse processing and dynamically reconfigurable time and frequency gated matched filter signal integration. The signal processing functions are fully scriptable, providing spectral analysis, various other types of transform analysis, instantaneous demodulation, pulse characterization, noise estimation and more. Advanced mathematical tools combined with novel user interface technologies provide multiple intuitive views into the test setup, error analysis and measurement environment.
A Novel Method for Measuring Differential Antennas Radiation Characteristics
Raffi Bourtoutian, PhD,Pascal Ciais, Christophe Delaveaud, November 2007
Most measurement instruments being terminated by unbalanced ports, the measurement of a balanced antenna’s radiation characteristics is generally done using balanced to unbalanced transformers (baluns). These circuits are lossy, cumbersome and generally narrowband thus introducing added measurement imprecision. In this paper, we present a novel method for measuring differential antennas’ radiation characteristics by using traditional RF instrumentation, without the use of baluns. By regarding the differential antenna as a two port device, we can obtain the radiation characteristics of the differential mode from the measurement of the radiation characteristics and the scattering parameters of the single access fed two-port antenna. A theoretical study, based on the superposition principle, establishes equations that allow the passage from the single access feed mode to the differential mode. This method is validated by comparing the measurement results with the simulation results of a canonical differential antenna, a half-wave dipole antenna printed on a dielectric substrate.
Generation of a pseudo time domain holography from frequency swept measurements
Javier Marti-Canales (European Space Agency),L.P. Ligthart (Technical University of Delft), November 2008
This paper presents the methodology to generate a pseudo time domain holography from frequency swept measurements. This is an approximation to the time domain holography (TDH) invented by the authors [1,2], which opens a new possibility for antenna diagnostics using conventional instrumentation and in the absence of time domain measurements. Practical examples using two spaceborne antennas are provided and discussed.
Cost Effective Extension of Antenna Measurement and Calibration Capabilities up to 80 GHz using a 40 GHz Vector Network Analyzer
Thomas Kleine-Ostmann (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt),Thorsten Schrader (Physikalisch-Technische Bundesanstalt), Vince Rodriguez (ETS-Lindgren), Zhong Chen (ETS-Lindgren), November 2008
The extension of the frequency range for commercial applications of mm-waves to 80 GHz and beyond often requires extended antenna characterization capabilities both at manufacturer and end-user facilities. Presently, most measurements are based on direct measurements using vector network analyzers (VNAs). VNAs that cover a continuous frequency range up to 67 GHz are commercially available. Above 50 GHz, extensions based on external mixers in waveguide technology are typically utilized. They require a tunable local oscillator (LO) that is usually provided by the two additional ports of a 4-port VNA. However, these extensions not only are restricted in bandwidth but also require a significant financial investment especially considering the fact that the expensive 4-port instrumentation is needed. As most laboratories already have conventional 2-port VNAs usable up to 10 GHz or higher and most antenna characterizations are based on transmission measurements, we present a simple extension scheme based on external mixers and a fixed frequency LO that allows for transmission factor measurements. We demonstrate the feasibility of such an extension scheme for transmissions between a pair of horn antennas ranging up to 60 GHz. The measurements include variation of antenna spacing and steering angle and are verified with a computational analysis based on the finite differences time-domain (FDTD) method.
RF Material Design, Measurement and Instrumentation: Optimization of an X-band Composite Reflector through Material Characterization and Testing
Todd McNeill (Eclipse Composites Engineering ),Dan McCarthy (Air Force Research Laboratory), Dave Widauf (Eclipse Composites Engineering ), David Legare (Air Force Research Laboratory ), George Hansen (Metal Matrix Composites), November 2008
A recent project to develop and optimize the RF reflectivity of a Composite/nano-material, X-band reflector was pursued by a team lead at AFRL – RF Technology Branch. This was accomplished by iterative testing and signal pattern measurements performed at the AFRL-Rome Laboratory that provided critical feedback affecting the laminate design and configuration of the composite reflector. Testing of multiple configurations of composite reflectors provided data that was key to successful progression throughout the product engineering cycle, and accomplished the following milestones: . Initial performance verification . Characterization of influential material constituents . Optimization of design Eclipse Composites Engineering, along with metallic nano-material supplier Metal Matrix Composites worked to develop a composite dish with reflective properties identical to the baseline metallic reflector model. Through various methods of testing, the reflective influence of each material constituent was characterized and the relative effect within the overall composite laminate was modeled. Based on initial measurements, prototype articles were fabricated for testing and comparative evaluation. This project demonstrates the critical feedback loop between measurement/testing and design/development leading to the successful production of a segmented composite reflector that is lighter weight, more durable, with increased performance in the field to support today’s military and commercial operations.
Performance Considerations for Pulsed Antenna Measurements
Dave Fooshe (Nearfield Systems Inc.), November 2008
Previous AMTA papers have discussed pulsed antenna measurements and the importance of parameters such as pulse width, pulse repetition frequency (PRF) and receiver dynamic range in determining the appropriate technique for performing pulsed measurements. Typically, the pulse width and PRF determine the IF bandwidth required of the instrumentation receiver to achieve a specific level of receiver performance. Less emphasis has been given to the receiver timing and synchronization required to achieve optimum performance for a full pulsed antenna measurement scenario. This paper will discuss receiver timing considerations and show examples of scan time performance during high-speed pulsed measurements. Inter-pulse and intra-pulse measurements will be compared with respect to their impact on measurement time. Pulse profile measurements will be examined to show the importance of a fast synchronous receiver for sub-microsecond pulse characterization. Pulsed antenna pattern results will also be presented and compared with CW measurements.
John P. Casey (Naval Undersea Warfare Center),Stephen M. Davis (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), Bruce Greenhalgh (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), Rodney P. Gudz (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), Paul M. Mileski (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), Paul Medeiros (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), David A. Tonn (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), Hailu M. Waka (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), Isaac M. Wheeler (Naval Undersea Warfare Center), November 2008
Methods for measuring the gain of an antenna at low frequencies (i.e. below 30 MHz) operating at or near the surface of the ocean on an open-air antenna range have been considered and reported previously. These methods employ a groundwave correction approach and a virtual reference antenna consisting of an idealized quarter wave monopole. However, this approach is not appropriate for application at the shorter wavelengths that occur in the VHF band owing to a variety of factors. In this paper, we shall discuss some of the issues associated with the use of the more conventional substitution method for measuring the gain of an unknown antenna that is operating near the air-sea interface. Issues and challenges related to instrumentation, antenna siting, range assessment, multipath effects, and reference measurements shall be considered.
Carl Sirles,Beau Hart, James Huff, John Mantovani, November 2009
Modern vehicle telematics subsystems often employ wireless interfaces. The design and evaluation of these subsystems involves measurement of antenna characteristics or Over-The-Air (OTA) performance of the subsystem as installed in a vehicle. Several subsystems servicing multiple user applications may be installed in a single vehicle, with antenna structures located anywhere on or within the vehicle. In general, the radiation characteristics of each subsystem must be measured over a partial spherical surface surrounding the vehicle and of sufficient radius to be outside the reactive near-field of the Device Under Test (DUT). This paper describes a distributed axis spherical scanning system designed for vehicle applications. The elevation axis which supports the probe antenna has a measurement radius of 25 ft (7.62m). The elevation positioner is supported on a hydraulic vertical lift axis to permit the adjustment of the measurement coordinate origin to be in the same horizontal plane as the DUT phase center. The measurement instrumentation system supports VNA based antenna pattern measurements or active OTA testing of telematics subsystems. The system is suitable for outdoor or indoor measurement facilities. An outdoor installation is described.
Uri Shemer,Arnaud Gandois, November 2010
An Indian Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) laboratory has commissioned a state-of-the-art indoor far-field antenna test facility in 2009. This facility supports highly accurate measurement of a wide range of antenna types over 1.12–40 GHz. Owing to the heavy usage of this range, it was decided to enhance the existing facility to include a Hybrid Planar Near-Field facility for high speed accurate antenna measurements with minimal changes to the existing chamber configuration. The scanner is implemented as a highly innovative Hybrid T-type scanner, with a Y-axis that consists of a Linear Multi-Probe array and a traditional single probe configuration. The linear Multi-Probe array consists of two sets of dual polarized probes each one covering a sub set of the full frequency range. In particular one set covers the 1.0-6.0GHz band (operational from 400MHz) and the other set covers the 6.0 to 18.0GHz band. The traditional Single Probe configuration includes a set of Open Ended Waveguide Probes to facilitate an operational frequency range of 1.12 – 40.0GHz, as in the existing Far Field system. The Hybrid scanner is placed along the sidewall opposite the door, on the DUT positioner side. The major benefit of this layout is that there is no need to change the basic design of the chamber and it is built according to the original plans. When the chamber is used in the far-field mode, the tower is moved to the end of the horizontal axis in the direction of the corner of the chamber. The tower sides that face away from the chamber corner are covered with absorbing material to reduce reflections from the tower. Assuming that the chamber is intended to measure directional antennas, the existence of the tower behind and to the side of the AUT is expected to introduce minimal interference. The high speed linear Multi-Probe array has typical measurement speeds ranging between 5 and 15 minutes at 5 frequencies and 2 polarizations. Instrumentation is based on an Agilent PNA E8362B. Software is based on the MiDAS 6.0 package for both Single Probe & Multi Probe modes. A Real-Time Controller (RTC), accompanied by a 4-port RF switch, facilitates multi-port antenna measurements, with the possibility of interfacing to an active antenna.
Radiation Pattern Measurement of Reconfigurable Slotted Ultra Wideband Antenna
Yusnita Rahayu,Razali Ngah, Tharek Abdul Rahman, November 2010
This paper presents the results of radiation pattern measurement of small reconfigurable slotted ultra wideband (UWB) antennas. The measurements were conducted by using RF measurement and instrumentation facilities, software tools available at WCC of Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. The proposed slotted UWB antennas are having band notched frequency at Fixed Wireless Access (FWA), HIPERLAN and WLAN bands. Band-notched operation is achieved by incorporating some small gaps instead of PIN diodes into the slot antenna. It is found that by adjusting the total length of slot antenna to be about a half-wavelength or less at desired notched frequency [1-3], a destructive interference can take a place, thus causing the antenna to be non-responsive at that frequency. It was also observed that the measured radiation patterns, H-planes, are omni-directional with slightly gain decreased at boresight direction for measured frequencies. There are also more ripples occurred in the measured pattern compared with the simulated one.
Near-field Antenna Measurement of an Active Phased Array Antenna for a New-Generation Weather Radar
Y. Masuda,T. Kumamoto, F. Mizutani, H. Handa, M. Tanabe, November 2011
We are developing a new-generation weather radar to observe and predict short-term weather phenomena like severe storms, gust and so on. Therefore, an active phased array antenna (APAA) with digital beam-forming (DBF) receivers could be used for the new-generation weather radar to reduce the observation time. In Toshiba Corporation, 33m x 16m vertical near-field antenna range including the digital instrumentation receivers have been working for multi-beam DBF antenna measurements. This near-field antenna range is used to evaluate the performance of an APAA. In this paper, we describe the characteristics of this new-generation weather radar and the APAA. And we demonstrate the antenna measurement set-up using the near-field antenna range and the measurement results of this antenna.
Advanced Antenna Measurement System Architectures
S. Nichols, November 2011
Since the early days of antenna pattern recorders, advances in instrumentation and computers have enabled measurement systems to become highly automated and much more capable. Automated systems have provided higher productivity, more efficient use of test facilities, and the ability to acquire more data in less time. In recent years, measurement speeds of microwave receivers and vector network analyzers have advanced considerably. However, to take full advantage of these speed improvements, the measurement system architecture must be carefully considered. Small differences in instrument timing that are repeated many times can make large differences in system measurement time. This paper describes a general method of calculating system measurement time based on the primary factors that affect system timing, including position trigger detection, frequency switching time, multiplexer switching time, receiver measurement time, and timing overhead associated with triggers, sweeps, and measurements. It also shows how key features of instruments available today can be used along with improved antenna measurement system architectures to optimize system throughput.
Common Radar Cross Section & Antenna Gain Measurement Calibration
Douglas Morgan,Boeing Test & Evaluation, November 2012
Radar Cross Section (RCS) and Antenna measurement ranges share many common features and are often used for both purposes. Calibration of these dual-purpose ranges is typically done using the substitution method for both RCS and antenna testing, but with separate RCS and antenna standards. RCS standards are typically based on a geometric shape having a well known theoretical value – and corresponding small uncertainty. By contrast, antenna standards typically must be “calibrated” in a separate antenna calibration system to be used as a gain standard, often yielding higher uncertainties. This paper presents an efficient method for transferring an RCS measurement calibration to an antenna measurement range configuration, allowing a range to be used for both purposes with a single calibration. Insight into the best ways to re-configure the instrumentation between RCS and antenna testing is included. Validation measurements from a compact range are included along with an uncertainty analysis of the method.

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