AMTA Paper Archive
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The Use of pattern comparison methods for satellite antenna testing
Nowadays, the standard facility for accurate satellite antenna testing is the Compensated Compact Range (CCR). In order to increase measurement accuracy several techniques can be applied, which are based on antenna pattern comparison. The theory of these techniques together with experimental results have been described in several papers in the past . This paper presents how pattern comparison techniques are applied for space programs and is another step to official qualification of the Advanced Antenna Pattern Comparison (AAPC) method at Dornier Satellitensysteme (DSS).
Spherical antenna measurement range enhancement tools
This paper presents several enhancement tools that were developed to improve the Georgia Tech Spherical Far-Field/ Near-Field Antenna Measurement Range. Measurement amplitude and phase drift was quantified by sampling an antenna measurement signal over long time intervals while leaving the AUT rotation positioners fixed. A return-to-point drift correction tool was implemented to correct for the long-term drift component for spherical surface measurements. Temperature sensitive components of the receiver were moved from an area with severe temperature variations to a temperature stable area to reduce the phase variation. A software tool was developed to display a histogram of the variation in repeated spherical scan measurements. Histogram vales show that drift correction improves the repeatability of an antenna pattern measurement. The shapes of the histograms have been helpful in identifying random and deterministic variations.
Use of GPS satellite signals to evaluate GPS automotive antennas
The use of global positioning satellite (GPS) signals for automotive navigation and this on-vehicle GPS antennas has become more common recently. As the number of users increases the cost of the highly integrated receiver is predicted to come down to less than $50. It is possible to measure the antenna patterns of GPS antennas as installed on vehicles, but it is important to make sure that the parameters measured are valid for the GPS environment. In this case, sky coverage and polarization are more important than the directive pattern, for example. This paper shows a method of comparing a number of antennas by using the actual GPS satellite signals as test signals.
Measurement considerations for antenna pattern accuracy
This paper examines antenna measurement errors attributable to instrumentation, and their effect on measurement uncertainty.
Implementation and results of a time-domain gating system for a far-field range
Multipath on far-field ranges causes distortion of pattern measurements. The multipath components can be removed by illuminating the antenna under test with short-duration pulses and applying a time domain gate. Equivalently, the measurements can be made in the frequency domain and transformed to the time domain with the Fourier transform. After gating, the time-domain data are transformed back to the frequency domain, yielding improved CW patterns at discrete frequencies. Virginia Tech has recently added time-domain gating capability to its far-field antenna range. The data acquisition and processing software is implemented using the LabVIEW language, which makes the data acquisition and time-domain processing very easy to control. Practical guidelines for selecting a gate are given. Results are presented for an open-ended waveguide and conical dipole. With wideband antennas, gated patterns show significantly improved symmetry and null depth.
Antenna pattern measurement technique using wideband channel profiles to resolve multipath signal components
Wideband channel measurements have been used extensively to determine path loss and time dispersion characteristics of radio channels (e.g., , , ). The principles used to temporally resolve individual received signal components for wideband propagation measu rements can be applied to antenna pattern measu rements to achieve more accurate results. Multipath, a propagation phenomenon which occurs when reflecting or scattering objects exist in an environ ment, causes inaccuracies in measured patterns when narrowband signals (e.g. continuous wave) are used to perform far-field antenna measu rements. Using the wideband technique described in this paper, the effects of multipath can be completely eliminated from pattern measurements. The method described here is especially useful when antenna range dimensions are limited in space or when multipath signal components caused by distant reflectors are irreducible.
Wide band feed for a virtual vertex reflector, A
Sanders, A Lockheed Martin Company, measures radar cross section (RCS) and antenna performance from 2 to 18 GHz at the Com pany's Compact Range. Twelve feed horns are used to maintain a constant beam width and stationary phase centers, with proper gain. However, calibration with each movement of the feed tower is required and the feed tower is a source of range clutter. To Improve data quality and quantity, Sanders and The Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory designed, fabricated, and tested a new wide band feed. The design requirement for the feed was to maintain a constant beam width and phase taper across the 2 - 18 GHz band. The approach taken was to modify the design of the Ohio State University's wide band feed . This feed provides a much cleaner range which reduces the dependence on subtraction and other data manipulation techniques. The new feed allows for wide band images with increased resolution and a six fold increase in range productivity (or reduction in range costs). This paper discusses this new feed and design details with the unique fabrication techniques developed by Ohio State and its suppliers. Analysis and patterns measured from the feed characterization are presented as well. This paper closes with a discussion of options for further improvements in the feed.
Planar slot spiral for multi-function communication apertures, A
A slot spiral antenna and its associated feed are presented for conformal mounting on a variety of land, air, and sea vehicles. By exploiting the inherent broadband behavior good pattern coverage and polarization diversity of the spiral antenna, a conformal antenna which can be concurrently used for cellular, digital personal communications (PCS), global positioning (GPS) and intelligent vehicle highway systems (IVHS) as well as wireless LAN networks has been developed. A key requirement for achiev ing such broadband behavior (800-3000MHz) is the avail ability of a broadband planar feed and balun. Such a feed was proposed last year by the authors. However, addi tional design improvements were found to be necessary to achieve satisfactory pattern and gain performance. Among them were a broadband termination for the spiral arms and the suppression of cavity and waveguide modes. Both of these improvements played a critical role in achieving acceptable performance over the 800-3000 MHz bandwidth. After a general description of the slot spiral antenna and the above modifications, this paper presents a comparison of the performance before and after the modifications.
Aperture sampling effects in planar near-field measurements
In a recent article in the October 1996 Antennas and Propagation Society Magazine, Milligan discussed the sampling that is required to achieve a desired antenna pattern coverage using planar near-field scanning. To ensure that this region of coverage is not corrupted we must also consider the effects of aliasing. Aliasing will occur if the near-field sampling does not contain at least two samples per period for the fastest near field variation. As a result, the periodically continued patterns begin to overlap, and the measured pattern will be the complex sum of the overlapping patterns. We show that the relation between the near-field sampling and the maximum angle of coverage is more restrictive when we also require that the effect of aliasing be negligible. We give some examples to show the consequences of not following the more restrictive requirements.
Quadrille, an error reduction procedure for planar near field measurements, The
Coherent processing using measurements on two probe scan planes with different antenna under test (AUT)-to-probe separations reduces the effects of coupling between the AUT and the probe or, alternatively, reduces the effects of room scatter. The results of these doublet scans can be coherently combined to mitigate one or the other (but not both) of these error terms. For either case, the extraneous signals cancel when the far field patterns from the two planes are coherently combined. The new "quadrille" scan technique coherently combines four separate scan planes which will cancel in one set of pattern measurements both the AUT-probe coupling error and the room scatter error. If either the coupling or the room scatter is much larger than the other, the error reduction attained by the quadrille may not merit the additional measurement time; however if the two terms are comparable the quadrille may be needed to attain precise measurements.
Calibration of probes for near-field scanning at NPL, The
The adoption of planar near-field scanning techniques by many industrial organisations to meet their measurement requirements for large, directive antennas has led to a significant demand for calibrated probes. To compensate for the effects of the probe used in near-field scanning measurements one requires an accurate knowledge of the gain, axial ratio, tilt and pattern. While NPL has been measuring the gain of microwave antenna standards for over seventeen years, it is only in the last two years that facilities and techniques have been developed to measure the polarisation parameters and pattern of probes. For the gain and polarisation, three antenna techniques are employed and both linearly and circularly polarised probes can be calibrated. Since calibration data is required at each frequency at which the planar scanner is to be operated, the measurement techniques and software have been developed to allow measurements to be performed at a large number of frequencies simultaneously. This reduces the turn round time, cost and the need for interpolation between measurement points.
Technique to reduce the scan length in near-field antenna measurements, A
A technique to reduce the scan length in near field antenna measurement is presented. In the technique, the original scan length is selected for a critical angle of 30° 35°. The measured near field probe data is then extrapolated beyond the available probed region. The extended near field probe data is next used to predict the far field pattern of the AUT. The extrapolation is carried out by estimating the aperture distribution from the measured probe data. The aperture size, the separation between the AUT and the probed plane and the orientation of the probed plane with respect to the AUT are selected such that the aperture distribution leads to the minimum error between the measured near field probe data and the near field due to the aperture distribution.
Cylindrical near-field measurement of L-band antennas
Andrew Corporation, founded in 1937 and headquartered in Orland Park, Illinois, has evolved into a worldwide supplier of communication products and systems. To develop a superior, high performance line of base station products for a very competitive marketplace, several new antenna measurement systems and upgrades to existing facilities were implemented. This engineering project developed an indoor test range facility incorporating design tool advantages from among Andrew Corporation's other antenna test facilities. This paper presents a 22-foot vertical by 5-foot diameter cylindrical near-field measurement system designed by Nearfield Systems Incorporated of Carson, California. This system is capable of measuring frequencies ranging from 800 MHz to 4 GHz, omnidirectional and panel type base station antennas up to twelve feet tall having horizontal, vertical or slant (+/- 45 degree) polarizations. Far-field patterns, near-field data and even individual element amplitude and phases are graphically displayed.
Near-field data processing using MATLAB version 5.0
A sophisticated software package FARANA (FAR-field ANAiysis) is presented for transforming planar near-field test data to far-field antenna patterns, including enhanced analysis of far-field results. FARANA is coded in MATLAB version 5.0. MATLAB (MATrix LABoratory) is an interactive mathematical modelling tool based on matrix solutions without dimensioning. Using MATLAB, numerical engineering problems can be solved in a fraction of time of time required by programs coded in FORTRAN or C. FARANA operates with a state-of-the-art graphical user's-interface, is intuitive to use and features high speed and accuracy. This paper addresses an assessment of the program, discusses its use and enhanced far-field analysis capabilities.
Microwave antenna far-field patterns determined from infrared holograms
We describe a technique which uses field intensity patterns formed by the interference of an unknown test antenna and a known referenceantenna - holograms in the classical optical sense - for determining the far-field pattern of the unknown antenna. The field intensity is measured by acquiring an infrared picture of the tem perature distribution on a resistive screen heated by incident microwave energy. The output of the camera is processed to yield the electric field intensity on the surface of the resistive screen. Required measurements are the field patterns of the unknown antenna and two holograms taken with relative phase differences between the reference and unknown antennas of 0° and 90°. In addition, the amplitude and phase of the reference field at the measurement plane are needed. These can be obtained from a separate measurement of the reference using standard near-field techniques. The algorithm gives the complex near field of the antenna under test which can then be processed to obtain the far-field pattern of the antenna under test. We present results showing far-field patterns which acceptably reproduce the main beam and near sidelobes. Such techniques will allow rapid testing of certain antenna types.
Alignment of a spherical near-field rotator using electrical measurements, The
The mechanical rotator must be correctly aligned and the probe placed in the proper location when performing spherical near-field measurements. This alignment is usually accomplished using optical instruments such as theodolites and autocollimators and ideally should be done with the antenna under test mounted on the rotator. In some cases it may be impractical to place the alignment mirrors on the AUT or optical instruments may not be available. In these and other cases, it is desirable to check alignment with electrical measurements on the actual AUT and probe. Such tests have recently been developed and verified. Appropriate comparison and analysis of two near-field measurements that should be identical or have a known difference yields precise measures of some rotator and probe alignment errors. While these tests are independent of the AUT pattern, judicious choice or placement of the antenna can increase the sensitivity of the test. Typical measurements will be presented using analysis recently included in NSI software.
Simulation of planar near-field errors
When a planar near-field measurement is done, errors are introduced due to imperfections in the mechanical and electrical parts of the measurement equipment. In order to identify the characteristics of different types of errors, a MatLab program that simulates the near-field from an antenna has been developed. The near-field is transformed to far-field and the errors are evaluated. This paper looks into four different error types: 1) Truncation errors (if the measurement surface is to small the near-field will be truncated before it reaches adequately low levels), 2) Probe-AUT distance errors (fluctuations in the probe AUT distance over the measurement surface), 3) Zigzag errors (due to data being acquired during both travel directions of the probe), 4) I,Q amplification errors (different amplification for the I and Q channels in the receiver). The results are presented in plots which illustrate where in space the largest antenna pattern errors occur.
Range validation testing of a planar near-field range facility at Hughes Space and Communications Co.
A series of measurements to validate the performance of a Vertical Planar Near-field Antenna Test Range located at the Hughes Space and Communications Company (HSC) was performed. These measurements were made as part of a task to provide validation of this particular range for detailed Production Antenna Testing. This validation was required in preparation for measuring a particular flight antenna. The range validation consisted of a series of self comparison tests and far-field range pattern comparison tests using an offset reflector antenna as the validation antenna. This antenna had been previously measured on a far-field antenna range which is in constant use to test flight antennas. This paper describes the range validation tests and presents some of the results. Comparisons of some far-field patterns measured on the validation antenna at both the far-field and near-field ranges is presented.
Turnkey near-field measurement system for pulse mode applications, A
NSI recently delivered a Turnkey Near-field Antenna Measurement System (TNAMS) to the Naval Surface Warfare Center - Crane Division (NSWC-CD) in Crane Indiana. The system supports characterization and calibration of the Navy's active array antennas. TNAMS includes a precision 12' x 9' vertical planar near-field robotic scanner with laser optical position measurement system, dual source microwave instrumentation for multiple frequency acquisition, and a wide PRF range pulse mode capability. TNAMS is part of the Active Array Measurement Test Bed (AAMTB) which supports testing of high power active arrays including synchronization with the Navy's Active Array Measurement Test Vehicle (AAMTV), now under development. The paper summarizes the hardware configuration and unique features of the pulse mode capability for high power phased array testing and the TNAMS interface to the AAMTV and AAMTB computers. In addition, range test data comparing antenna patterns with various pulse characteristics is presented.
Performances of the Mistral antenna measurement compact range at Intespace
Leader in the field of space environment simulation (vibrations, thermal vacuum, acoustics, EMC), INTESPACE company has built a new compact range for antenna measurement called MISTRAL with a view to providing an overall satellite test service. The purpose of this new full-scale test facility is to determine the radioelectric characteristics of integrated satellite antennas covering : - classic antenna tests such as radiation pattern and gain measurement, - payload-specific end-to-end tests such as EIRP, SFD, GIT, Gain/Frequency, etc. The aim of this paper is : - first, to present the main and extra features of the MISTRAL compact range, - second, to show the major improvements and system optimization achieved through the study and development phases of MISTRAL, - third, to present the results of the intensive acceptance tests (quiet zones probing and antennas measurements) confirming the high quality of the test facility.
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