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Near-Field Testing of Defocusing Methods for Phased-Array Antenna
The Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) analyzed a phased-array antenna for the purpose of testing phase-only defocusing methods. The array is defocused with the objective of broadening its beam at the cost of lower antenna gain. A design for the beam-steering computer is accomplished which adds the capability of focusing a beam, steering in azimuth and elevation, and performing beam defocusing using only element phase. Widening of the beam is accomplished using only 180° phase shifts in the elements, and it is compared with widening accomplished using gradual phase tapers. The antenna is measured in a near-field range to obtain amplitude and phase information as a function of each element in the array. Near-field testing of the antenna is also used to verify the capability of the beam-steering computer; two-dimensional antenna patterns and near-field hologram projections are compiled to prove this functionality. A software model is designed to mimic the behavior of the phased array antenna in its operational modes; it is also used to predict antenna gain and beamwidth prior to near-field testing. Measured and modeled antenna patterns are compared using focused and defocused modes. Metrics are performed on the near-field data to infer statistics of the individual phase shifters and on the computed far-field patterns to characterize the entire antenna. The defocusing methods under analysis are phase-only methods, due to the inability to control amplitude weighting of elements in this antenna. One method discussed uses only 180° shifting of elements in the antenna to achieve a desired beamwidth. This is compared with another method which gradually spoils the beam by applying a phase taper across the aperture. The results from near-field testing compare the defocusing methods and characterize the relationships between gain, beamwidth, and sidelobe levels for both defocusing methods.
Assessment of Irregular Sampling Near-Field Far-Field Transformation Employing Plane Wave Field Representation
Near-field antenna measurements are accurate and common techniques to determine the radiation pattern of an antenna under test. The minimum near-field sampling rate is dictated by the electrical size of the antenna and usually equidistant sampling is applied for planar, cylindrical, and spherical measurements. Certain applications either rely on or benefit from near-field sampling on irregular grids. To handle irregular measurement grids near-field transformation algorithms like equivalent current methods or the multilevel fast multipole accelerated plane wave based technique are required which do not rely on regularly sampled data. In this contribution the plane wave based near-field transformation is applied to spherical, cylindrical, and “combined” near-field measurements employing irregular sampling grids. The performance is assessed by various simulated near-field measurement scenarios.
Design and verification of Galileosat Ground Station P-band Antenna
A ground station antenna for Galileosat application operating in right hand circular polarization at P-band has been designed, manufactured, and tested. Other than stringent environmental requirements for typical ground station antennas the specification call for an antenna with very stringent requirements on pattern shape and symmetry and a very severe control on side and back lobes. In order to ease the requirement on the antenna positioner the antenna should have very compact size and low weight. The final antenna consists of an array of 7 medium gain, dual linear polarized yagi elements as shown in Figure 1. This paper describes the antenna design trade-off activity including the selection of the most suited antenna technology and manufacturing details. It also reports on the testing in the SATIMO SG-64 multiprobe spherical near field test range with considerations on the associated measurement uncertainty. The final acceptance of the antenna was based on measurements performed in CNES and SATIMO.
Calibration of the Mini-RF Synthetic Aperture Radar System
The Mini-RF instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter is gathering data toward its science goal of probing the permanently shadowed terrain for the presence of water near the lunar poles. The circular polarization ratio is the central parameter used to characterize the lunar surface using Mini-RF radar returns. Accurate use of this parameter requires on-orbit polarimetric characterization of the instrument. This is done with a combination of measurements. Indirect measurements are performed by pointing the radar at the lunar surface to remove any asymmetry in the surface backscatter. Direct characterization of transmit and receive portions of the Mini-RF radar are performed using Earth-based resources. The Earth-based resources include the: Arecibo Radio Telescope, Green Bank Telescope, and Morehead State University Space Tracking Antenna. This paper describes the measurement approach and a sample of results. The primary measurements of interest include: principal plane antenna patterns, transmit polarization ellipse, receiver amplitude and phase balance, and antenna bore sight direction. These measurement values are incorporated into the Mini-RF SAR data processing to produce quality, calibrated CPR measurements
A Novel In-Water Current Probe Measurement Method for Linear Floating Antennas
This paper shall discuss a method for measuring the current distribution – in both magnitude and phase - along the length of a floating antenna operating on the surface of the ocean. The method makes use of a novel toroidal current sensing device and balun arrangement, with a vector network analyzer serving as the measurement instrument. The current data obtained using this method can then be used to compute the far-field pattern of the antenna, both at the horizon and overhead, in a manner similar to near-field scanning of aperture antennas. This new method has significant advantages over the conventional far-field method of measurement in terms of accuracy, time, and cost, and can also be used to determine the realized gain of the antenna. Measured and theoretical data shall be presented on example antennas to illustrate the process of measuring the current distribution as well as computation of the far-field pattern.
Improved in-flight pattern retrieval by reflector deformation fitting
The in-flight pattern measurements of a sub-millimetre space telescope may be improved by de-termining the actual reflector anomalies and then in-clude the knowledge to these in the final pattern de-termination. The pattern measurements with a celes-tial object as source often have an insufficient signal-to-noise ratio for a pattern prediction outside the main lobe. Repeated measurements may improve this but even better is the possibility to extract data from different detectors operating at different frequencies. With the Planck Space Telescope as example, simulations of a displaced and distorted reflector have been carried out for noise contaminated amplitude measurements of Jupiter by 5, respectively 10, differ-ent detectors. First, the main beams of the antenna patterns are retrieved in a regular grid. Here the ac-curacy is limited by the noise level. Then, by a Physi-cal Optics optimization the actual distortions of the telescope's reflector are determined so that the calcu-lated radiation patterns of the antenna are correlated to the measured main beams. The patterns for the optimized and retrieved reflector geometry are shown to be precise at levels far below the noise floor in the direct measurements1. 1 The work presented in the paper has been carried out under ESTEC Contract No. 18395/NL/NB
UHF Near Field RCS Facility, comparison between simulation and experimental results
Compact ranges are well suited to perform accurate indoor RCS measurements. These facilities are limited at the lower end of their bandwidth by the size of the parabolic reflector. Therefore, when RCS characterizations are required in the UHF band, RCS measurement facilities usually operate large horns or phased array antennas in a near field measurement layout. However, these calibrated near field measurements cannot directly be compared to the plane wave RCS characteristics of the target. One way to compare simulation and measurement results is to take the near field radiation pattern of the antenna into account. This paper first presents the design of a phased array antenna developed for indoor UHF RCS measurements. Then a model of this antenna is derived and a simulation of the experimental layout is performed. In parallel, near field RCS measurements of a canonical target were performed with this phased array antenna in an anechoic chamber. As a conclusion, a comparison between simulation and experimental results on this particular canonical target is discussed.
Reflectivity Evaluation in NF antenna Measurement Facilities Using Gated Time - Domain Technique
A widely used time-gating technique can be effectively implemented in near-field (NF) antenna measurements to significantly improve the measurement accuracy. In particular, it can be implemented to reduce or remove the effects of the following measurement errors : -multiple environmental reflections and leakage in outdoor or indoor NF ranges -edge diffraction effects on measurement accuracy of low gain antennas on a ground plane  In addition, reflectivity in the range can be precisely localized, separated and quantified by using the time – gating procedure with only one addition (a subtraction operation) added to the standard near-field to far-field (NF – FF) transformation algorithms. In this paper a step by step procedure is described which includes acquisition of near-field data, transformation of the raw near-field data from the frequency to the time domain, definition of the correct time gate, transformation of the gated time domain data back to the frequency domain, and the transformation of the time gated near-field data to the far-field. The time gated results, as already shown in , provides for more accurate far-field patterns. In this paper it is shown how the 3D reflectivity/multiple reflections in the measurement chamber or outdoor range can be determined by subtracting the time gated results from the un-gated data. This technique is illustrated through use of several measurement examples. It is demonstrated that the time gated method has a clear physical explanation, and, in contrast with other techniques [4,5] is less consuming (does not require mechanical AUT precise offset installation, additional measurement and processing time) and allows for a better localization and quantization of the sources of unwanted radiation. Therefore, this technique is a straightforward one and is much easier to implement. The main disadvantage cited by critics regarding use of the time gating technique is the narrow frequency bandwidth used in many NF measurements. However, it is shown, and illustrated by the examples, that the technique can be effectively implemented in NF systems with a standard probe bandwidth of 1.5:1 and an AUT having a bandwidth as low as 5% to 10%.
Novel method to improve the signal to noise ratio in the far-field results obtained from planar near-field measurements
A method to reduce the noise power in far-field pattern without modifying the desired signal is proposed. Therefore, an important signal-to-noise ratio improvement may be achieved. The method is used when the antenna measurement is performed in planar near-field, where the recorded data are assumed to be corrupted with white Gaussian and space-stationary noise, because of the receiver additive noise. Back-propagating the measured field from the scan plane to the antenna under test (AUT) plane, the noise remains white Gaussian and space-stationary, whereas the desired field is theoretically concentrated in the aperture antenna. Thanks to this fact, a spatial filtering may be applied, cancelling the field which is located out of the AUT dimensions and which is only composed by noise. Next, a planar field to far-field transformation is carried out, achieving a great improvement compared to the pattern obtained directly from the measurement. To verify the effectiveness of the method, two examples will be presented using both simulated and measured near-field data.
A Theoretical Description of the IsoFilter Rejection Curve
M rejection curve was described. The steps to generate this rejection curve consist simply of (1) translating the coordinate origin of the measured pattern to a new location (2) performing a spherical modal analysis of the pattern, and (3) taking the total power in the lowest order mode as a measure of the strength of the radiation source at that location. Stepwise repetition of this process then generates the IsoFilterTM rejection curve. The basis for the process of generation was an empirical recipe for which no theoretical basis was presented. In this paper we relate the rejection curve to conventional electromagnetic theory. We begin with the general free space Green's function assuming a general distribution of current sources, and show how one may plausibly describe the IsoFilterTM rejection curve, and how it operates to reveal an arbitrary source distribution.
Antenna Pattern Measurement of Space-borne W-band Doppler Radar
The cloud profiling radar (CPR) for the Earth, clouds, aerosols and radiation explorer (EarthCARE) mission has been jointly developed by JAXA and NICT in Japan. The development of CPR has required several technical challenges from the aspects of hardware designing, manufacturing and testing, because very large antenna reflector of 2.5m diameter with high surface accuracy, high pointing accuracy and high thermal stability had been required to realize the first space-borne W-band Doppler radar. In order to verify the RF design, we have just begun to perform antenna pattern measurement by using a CPR Engineering Model (EM). For this RF testing, we introduced a Near-Field Measurement (NFM) system with necessary capabilities for high accuracy measurement. This paper will present the summary of preliminary test results of the CPR EM antenna and the other technical efforts being taken for the antenna pattern measurement.
Reduction of Truncation Errors in Spherical Near Field Measurements
Spherical near-field to far-field transformation techniques allow for the reconstruction of the complete radiation pattern of the antenna under test (AUT) from the knowledge of the tangential electric field over a spherical surface [1-2]. However, in practical spherical near field measurements there are zones on the measurement sphere where data are either not available or less reliable. When the spherical wave coefficients (SWC) are calculated from incomplete near-field data by setting to zero the unknown samples, the abrupt discontinuity in the field values at the edge of the scan area may lead to erroneously large values of the higher-order spherical harmonic coefficients. Different solutions have been proposed to circumvent this problem [3-4] and have been demonstrated effective for small truncation areas . In this paper a novel approach is proposed for the reduction of the truncation error in spherical near-field measurements. The method is based on a proper filtering of the SWC in accordance with the extent of the minimum sphere enclosing the AUT. More specifically, it consists in iteratively imposing the matching of the near-field with the measured samples and performing a spectral filtering in the spherical harmonics domain, based on the knowledge of the physical extent of the AUT [5-8]. The procedure has been tested on synthetic as well as measured near-field data and has proved to be effective and stable against measurement errors. The approach has shown to be effective even for increasing truncation areas.
Design of a Wideband Dual Beam Width, Dual Polarized, Integrated RDC Measurement and Monopulse Tracing Antenna
The design of a specialized reflector antenna set that supports dual polarization, dual beam widths, and an integrated wideband monopulse tracking capability in the X-band range is described in this paper. The reflector antenna code available at The Ohio State University has been used as the design tool. The design of such an antenna has posed several challenges in the feed and reflector assemblies. The requirement for an integrated wideband monopulse has resulted in a feed array that contains 5 rectangular feed elements with a center-to-center spacing of 1" and a diamond configuration. The 5 feed design has been selected to enable a shared feed array and reflector surface for both transmit and receive beams that eliminates the need for a high-power wideband receiver protector in the radar system. The center feed element is used for transmit waveform and the 4 outer elements are used as receive elements only. Each feed element operates with horizontally and vertically polarized waveforms, requiring a total of 8 waveguide input ports. In this paper, the challenges of the dual beam widths, dual polarized, integrated RCS and tracking antenna are delineated and the tradeoffs among several design configurations are shown. The final design is selected based on the performance predictions using The Ohio State University Reflector Antenna Code. The performance of the antenna has been validated at the OSU compact range for pattern and gain. Both the design and measurement data are presented in this paper.
Radiation Pattern Measurement of Reconfigurable Slotted Ultra Wideband Antenna
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.
Final RF Testing of the 94 GHz Quasi-Optical Feed for EarthCARE's Cloud Profiling Radar
Instruments for Earth observation working from W-Band up to mm-wave frequencies mainly use quasi-optical feed feeds (QOF) to illuminate the corresponding reflector antennas. The final design of the QOF for the Cloud Profiling Radar System (CPR) for the EarthCARE satellite has been finalized. The QOF is designed to perform polarization and frequency tuning, as well as the separation of transmit and receive channels. The final design verification was performed theoretically by Astrium with QUAST, a new add-on to the GRASP software, especially developed by TICRA for a fast and accurate set-up and analysis of quasi-optical networks. Within the paper, at first a short description of the QOF working at 94.05 GHz will be given. Secondly, the modeling of the QOF will be explained. At last the RF test setup will be described and comparisons between resulting calculated and measured antenna pattern will be shown.
A Multipath Environment Simulator for OTA Testing of Mimo and Other Multible Antenna Technologies
Over-the-air (OTA) performance testing of wireless devices has become a major component of product qualification for today's wireless networks. The methodologies used currently expand on traditional passive antenna pattern measurement techniques and operate under the fundamental assumption that the radiation pattern of the DUT does not change for the duration of the test. Emerging wireless technologies such as MIMO that use multiple antennas and adaptive algorithms for communication violate that assumption. In addition, the enhanced feature set and higher complexity of these newer technologies means that there are other performance criteria to be evaluated beyond just radiated power and sensitivity. A new OTA test system has been developed that can simulate complex multipath systems in a fully anechoic environment. This technology allows evaluating the performance of the DUT in a host of simulated real-world environments. Existing spatial channel models used for conducted testing of these radios can be easily adapted to OTA testing. This paper describes the details of such a system, including requirements for calibration and validation, as well as showing typical test results and available metrics.
IMPROVEMENT IN LOW FREQUENCY TEST ZONE PERFORMANCE IN THE BENEFIELD ANECHOIC FACILITY
Anechoic chambers simulate open air test conditions and are advantageous for testing avionics systems in a secure, quiet electromagnetic environment. The 412th Electronic Warfare Group’s Benefield Anechoic Facility (BAF), located at Edwards AFB, California was designed for testing systems in the radio frequency (RF) range from 500 MHz to 18 GHz. For frequencies below 500 MHz, the installed radar absorbent material (RAM) does not effectively absorb incident RF energy, thereby allowing undesired RF scattering off the chamber’s floor, ceiling, and walls. This leads directly to measurement inaccuracies and uncertainty in test data, which must be quantified for error analysis purposes. In order to meet the desired measurement accuracy goals of antenna pattern and isolation measurement tests below 500 MHz, RF scattering must be mitigated. BAF personnel developed a test methodology based on hardware gating, range tuning and improved RAM setup, to improve chamber measurement performance down to 100 MHz. Characterizing the chamber using this methodology is essential to understanding test zone performance and thus increases confidence in the data. This paper describes the test methodology used and how the test zone was characterized with resulting data.
Planar Near-Field Measurements for Small Antennas
We introduce a new type of planar near-field measurement technique for testing small antennas which, heretofore, have been traditionally tested via spherical or cylindrical scanning methods. Field acquisition in both these procedures is compromised to a certain extent by the fact that probe movement induces change in relative geometry with respect to, and thus interaction with, the anechoic chamber enclosure. Moreover, obstructing equipment, such as antenna pedestals, may significantly impede, or even reduce the available angular scope of any given scan. Our proposed procedure, by contrast, minimizes both the residual interaction contaminant and the threat of obstruction. We have in mind here a variant, a hybrid version of planar scanning wherein, on the one hand, we limit severely the size of the acquisition rectangle (and thus minimize the contaminating influence of a variable probe/chamber interaction), while, on the other, we really do collect near-field data throughout a complete range of solid angle around any candidate AUT, front, back, above, below, and on both sides. Such completeness is achieved through the mere stratagem of undertaking six independent planar scans with the AUT suitably rotated so as to expose to measurement, one by one, each of the faces of an enclosing virtual box. In the meanwhile, the inevitable AUT pedestal per se remains immobile and removed from any occupancy conflict with the scanned probe. We have accordingly named our new planar near-field data acquisition scheme the “Boxed Near-Field Measurement Procedure.” With subsequent use of our Field Mapping Algorithm (FMA), elsewhere reported, we obtain the entire field exactly, everywhere, both interior and exterior to the surrounding (virtual) box. In particular, we achieve enhanced accuracy in the far-field patterns of primary interest by virtue of the completeness of data acquisition and its relative freedom from spurious contamination. The angular completeness of data acquisition conferred by our procedure extends in principle to antennas of arbitrary size, provided, of course, that due provision is made for the necessary scope of measurement rectangles. The benefits are seen to be especially valuable in the case of narrow-beam antennas, whose back lobe pattern details, usually deemed as inaccessible and hence automatically forfeited during conventional (i.e., utilizing a “onefaced box,” in our new way of thinking) planar near-field testing, are thrust now into full view. Our new, full-enclosure planar acquisition technique as now described has been verified by analytic examples, as well as by hardware measurements, with excellent results evident throughout, as we are about to demonstrate.
Fault Diagnosis of Antenna Array with Non-Uniform Excitation Using Neural Networks
A novel approach using Artificial Neural network (ANN) is proposed to identify the faulty elements present in a nonuniform linear array. The input to the neural network is amplitude of radiation pattern and output of neural network is the location of faulty elements. In this work, ANN is implemented with three algorithms; feed forward back propagation neural network, Radial Basis Function neural network (RBF) and Probabilistic neural network and their performance is compared. The network is trained with some of the possible faulty radiation patterns and tested with various measurement errors. It is proved that the method gives a high success rate.
Quick Measurements of the Radiation Pattern of Antennas used in Radiated Emmissions for Electromagnetic Compatibility Testing and Comparison to Computed Results
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