AMTA Paper Archive
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A Millimeter wave feedhorn for shaped compact ranges
The design, fabrication, and testing of a high directivity, constant beamwidth feed horn is presented in this paper. The subject feed horn is designed to illuminate a shaped reflector compact range operating from 140 to 170 GHz. Design considerations related to pattern control and VSWR are discussed. Fabrication challenges are also considered. Primary pattern test results are presented and compared to predictions. Integration (into the reflector system) considerations are reviewed and quiet zone performance is discussed.
Time gating of antenna measurements II
Currently many new compact range facilities are being constructed for making antenna pattern measurements indoors. Limited suppression of stray signals ~ due to range layout, confined surroundings and residual absorbing material reflectivity ~ represents a limitation on the accuracy of the measurements made in these facilities. Time-gating of the compact range signal appears to be a very attractive technique to reduce unwanted reflections. The authors have carried out an experimental investigation of time gating in a compact range. It is demonstrated that time-gating can improve the uniformity of the aperture field by removing the feed backlobe radiation; and, it is demonstrated that time-gating can remove the effects on a pattern of certain room reflections and of feed backlobes. When compared to conventional methods of reducing reflections based on placement of absorber, time gating appears equivalent. It does not appear however that time gating improves the conventional methods, except for measuring wide beamwidth antennas.
Cross range processing of patterns for large reflector antennas to obtain radiation centers
A technique to determine the radiation centers of large reflector antennas in a given direction is presented in this paper. Coherent processing is used to determine various radiation centers based on far zone pattern data of the antennas provided that adjacent centers are separated far enough so that their locations can be resolved. Numerical results for processing of two reflector antennas, a prime focus fed and a Cassegrainian, are presented to validate this technique. The diagnostic value of this technique for reflector antennas is demonstrated by processing the actual measured pattern and identifying some unexpected radiation centers. One can also use this technique to fine tune numerical pattern simulations of reflector antennas.
High speed pattern measurements of a multi-port phased array
This paper describes the measurement requirements of a phased array comprised of three sub-arrays and the test system built to measure it. To evaluate the performance of the array, it is necessary to measure the radiation patterns of all three outputs at various azimuth scan angles. Because the relative phase and amplitude between the elements is an important performance parameter, if data is to be taken "on the fly", then high speed measurements are required. In addition, when taking elevation patterns through the peak of the beam, which has been scanned in azimuth, the polarization of the antenna under test changes with elevation angle. Consequently, since the patterns are to be measured to matched polarization, the transmit antenna polarization must be varied as a function of elevation angle. To complicate matters, this is a non-linear relationship. The test system architecture and resultant performance capabilities are presented.
New near field RCS--and antenna--measurement techniques
In this paper a new system consisting of a single parabolic reflector and a point source will be presented. Such a system is capable of producing a cylindrical wavefront over a wide frequency range. Moreover, physically large text-zone dimensions can be realized. The principle of operation is identical to that of the near-field/far-field cylindrical scanning, however, the far-field antenna pattern or RCS response can be computed more efficiently by performing a simplified transformation procedure in one dimension only. It will be shown that such a system is suitable for both antenna and RCS measurements. Finally, experimental RCS data will be presented.
Precision compact range feed
This paper describes how corrugated feed horns are designed for compact ranges with tight pattern control. Both the amplitude and phase of the horn pattern must be invariant over a wide frequency band. A horn synthesis computer program has been developed using the JPL HYBRIDHORN computer program as the analysis module which is driven by a Harris developed synthesis code (OPTDES). This paper also discusses launching techniques used to generate the HE(11) hybrid mode in the corrugated horn as well as design methods to eliminate ringing effects observed in both the input waveguide circuits and corrugated horns when used for RCS measurements.
Analysis and measurements of horns in absorber-lined tunnels
The utility of absorber-lined tunnels to control the sidelobe levels of horns has previously been demonstrated. The use of such a tunnel gives the designer the option of designing a broadband feed, for example, and later tailoring the sidelobe level to meet a given specification. In this paper, a technique for calculating the radiation characteristics of a horn in an absorber-lined tunnel will be presented. The analysis is based on an absorbing phase screen approximation which has been used by one of the authors in analyzing the diffraction of signals around rocket plumes. Propagation through the tunnel is treated as if the wave travels through a sequence of layers in which the absorption depends on the transverse coordinates. The absorbing phase screen model will be developed, and then applied to the analysis of a Narda standard gain horn in a square tunnel which is lined with wedge absorbing material. For the determination of E and H-plane pattern cuts, a two dimensional model can be utilized. In order to determine the radiation pattern over the full range of theta and phi as is required for illuminating a reflector, a three dimensional model is needed. All calculations were implemented in Fortran on an IBM personal computer.
A Low cost, PC based far-field antenna range
A far-field antenna range has been assembled on the roof of the Electrical Engineering building at Virginia Tech. Antenna radiation patterns and polarization patterns can be measured. The system consists of two Scientific-Atlanta azimuth positioners, a Scientific-Atlanta 1711 receiver, a Scientific-Atlanta 1832A amplitude display unit, a DC motor controller, a synchro-to-digital converter, an IBM PC, and signal sources. The DC motor controller has been interfaced to the PC along with the synchro-to-digital converter, forming a closed loop positioning control system that can be used with either of the azimuth positioners. One of the positioners is used for the antenna under test while the other positioner controls the polarization of the transmit antenna. The receiver and amplitude display provide a 60 dB dynamic range for antenna measurements. The PC has been programmed in TURBO Pascal to control the antenna positioner, record antenna patterns, store pattern data on disk, and provide antenna pattern plots. This modular approach provides permanent storage on PC disk of all measurements as well as allowing many plot combinations including linear or logarithmic form and rectangular or polar format.
Antenna measurements for millimeter waves at the National Bureau of Standards
For the past two years the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) has been developing the capability to perform on-axis gain and polarization measurements at millimeter wave frequencies from 33-65 GHz. This paper discusses the error analysis of antenna measurements at these frequencies. The largest source of error is insertion loss measurements. In order to make accurate insertion loss measurements, flanges on antennas need to be flat and perpendicular to the waveguide axis to within approximately 0.001 cm (0.0005 in). In addition, waveguide screws need to be tightened with a device that supplies constant torque. For antennas with gains less than about 25-30 dB (probes) we can measure on-axis gains within an uncertainty of 0.14 dB in the 33-50 GHz frequency band and within 0.16 dB in the 55-65 GHz frequency band using the three-antenna technique on the extrapolation range. For antennas with larger gains we can measure on-axis gains within an uncertainty of 0.21 dB in the 33-50 GHz frequency band and within 0.24 dB in the 55-65 GHz band using the planar near-field technique. NBS in continuing development of its measurement capabilities, including measuring probe correction coefficients required in planar near-field processing, in order to provide accurate pattern measurements at these frequencies.
Calibrating antenna standards using CW and pulsed-CW measurements and the planar near-field method
For over a decade the National Bureau of Standards (NBS) has used the planar near-field method to accurately determine the gain, polarization and patterns of antennas either transmitting or receiving cw signals. Some of these calibrated antennas have also been measured at other facilities to determine and/or verify the accuracies obtainable with their ranges. The facilities involved have included near-field ranges, far-field ranges, and compact ranges. Recently, NBS has calibrated an antenna to be used to evaluate both a near-field range and a compact range. These ranges are to be used to measure an electronically-steerable antenna which transmits only pulsed-cw signals. The antenna calibrated by NBS was chosen to be similar in physical size and frequency of operation to the array and was also calibrated with the antenna transmitting pulsed-cw. This calibration included determining the effects of using different power levels at the mixer, the accuracy of the receiver in making the amplitude and phase measurements, and the effective dynamic range of the receiver. Comparisons were made with calibration results obtained for the antenna transmitting cw and for the antenna receiving cw. The parameters compared include gain, sidelobe and cross polarization levels. The measurements are described and some results are presented.
UHF performance results on a 1640 Harris compact range
This paper discusses the results of a recent study on the UHF performance of a Harris Shaped Compact Range. The design process for the dual polarized, 70% bandwidth UHF feedhorn is summarized. Measured data is presented for primary feedhorn patterns and for one-way CW field probe measurements with open-ended waveguide. The measured data is overlaid with computer predictions to validate the modelling tools and the measurement procedures. The automated quiet zone characterization procedure for amplitude and phase is also discussed.
Scale model aircraft/phased array measurements
This paper describes the techniques applied to a fully automatic computer controlled, HP8510 based, range gated digital data acquisition system used to provide scale modeled large aperture synthesis, evaluation of aircraft blockage effects, array patterns, element cancellation ratios, as well as providing a large accurate data base for radar simulation exercises.
A Near-field wire scattering technique for antenna pattern measurement
A technique is presented for the measurement of antenna patterns, in which a long, thin wire is moved past the antenna aperture while the changes in reflection coefficient at the antenna feed are recorded. By suitable processing of these data, the antenna pattern can be calculated.
Results of a reflector antenna surface distortion measurement using microwave holography with enhanced imaging
A microwave holographic analysis system is shown to have successfully resolved the surface deformations on an 8' symmetric Cassegrain reflector antenna known to have significant surface deformation problems. The technique is based on the Fourier transform relationship between the aperture field of an antenna and its radiated far-zone field. A signal processing technique dubbed "pattern simulation and subtraction" is discussed that increases the resolution in the transformed aperture domain by removing unwanted signals from the aperture distribution. Measurements taken on the Cassegrain reflector at 11 GHz in the OSU-ESL Compact Range provided excellent amplitude and phase stable data to be processed by the holographic analysis system. Surface deformation profiles generated by this system were then compared to an optical measurement of the main reflector surface. Excellent agreement was obtained with a worst case deviation in the adjusted profiles being 0.05 ?.
Pattern, gain and temperature measurements of reflector antennas
An overview of results are presented for far field pattern, antenna gain and antenna temperature measurements of reflector antennas in several frequency bands. The pattern and gain measurements were taken in the compact range at The Ohio State University. The dynamic range available, which gives the ability to take a full 360 degree pattern, and the relatively high speed at which data is collected, are major advantages for pattern and gain measurements in the compact range. In a series of related measurements an 8-foot diameter Cassegrain reflector was used for antenna temperature measurements under clear weather conditions in an outdoor environment.
Development of a lab-sized antenna test range for millimeter waves
In the last few years, the interest in millimeter wave systems, like radars, seekers and radiometers has increased rapidly. Though the size of narrow-beamwidth antennas in the 60-200 GHz range is limited to some 20 inches, an accurate far-field antenna test range would need to be very long. The achievement of precision antenna pattern measurements with a 70' or even longer transmission length requires the use of some power that is hardly available and expensive. A cost-effective and more accurate solution is to use a lab-sized compact range that presents several advantages over the classical so-called far-field anechoic chamber: - Small anechoic enclosure (2.5 x 1.2 x 1.2 meters) meaning low cost structure and very low investissement in absorbing material. No special air-conditioning is needed. This enclosure can be installed in the antenna laboratory or office. Due to the small size of the test range and antennas under test, installation, handling and operation are very easy. For spaceborne applications, where clean environment is requested, a small chamber is easier to keep free of dust than a large one. - The compact range is of the single, front fed, paraboloid reflector type, with serrated edges. The size and shape of the reflector and serrations have been determined by scaling a large compact range of ESD design, with several units of different size in operation. The focal length of 0.8 meter only accounts in the transmission path losses and the standard very low power millimeterwave signal generators are usable to perform precision measurements. The largest dimension of the reflector is 1 meter and this small size allows the use of an accurate machining process, leading to a very high surface accuracy at a reasonable cost. The aluminum alloy foundry used for the reflector is highly temperature stable. - Feeds are standard products, available from several millimeter wave components manufacturers. They are corrugated horns, with low sidelobes, constant and broad beamwidth over the full waveguide band and symmetrical patterns in E and H planes. - The compact range reflector, feeds and test positioner are installed on a single granite slab for mechanical and thermal stability, to avoid defocusing of the compact range. - A micro-positioner or a precision X Y phase probe can be installed at the center of the quiet zone. Due to their small size, these devices can be very accurate and stable. Due to the compactness of this test range, all the test instrumentation can be installed under the rigid floor of the enclosure and the length of the lossy RF (waveguide) connections never exceeds 1 meter.
Measurement of phased array patterns by near-field focusing
Performance verification of an adaptive array requires direct, real-time sampling of the antenna pattern. For a space-qualified array, measurements on a far-field range are impractical. A compact range offers a protected environment, but lacks a sufficiently wide field of view. Conventional near-field measurements can provide antenna patterns only indirectly. This paper shows how far-field antenna patterns can be obtained in a relatively small anechoic chamber by focusing a phased array in the near-field. The focusing technique is based on matching the nulls of far-field and near-field antenna patterns, and is applicable to conformal or nonuniform phased arrays containing active radiating elements with independent amplitude and phase control. The focusing technique was experimentally verified using a 32-element, linear, L-band array. Conventionally measured far-field and near-field patterns were compared with focused near-field patterns. Very good agreement in sidelobe levels and beamwidths was achieved.
Alignment measurements using a special purpose phased array antenna
A special purpose 80 element linear phased array antenna was aligned using an iterative phase cycling method. First, the array was aligned to yield maximum main-beam power in the reactive near-field zone and then in the far-field zone. A record of the phase-shifters settings achieved for each zone was kept for use as look-up table during operation. In situ electronic main-beam steering was performed to compare sidelobe performance for the two cases. This report describes the measured results obtained using the phased cycling alignment procedure and compares the measured one-way radiation pattern for the two distance conditions.
Synthesized short pulse antenna pattern tests
Scatter from the nearby obstacles on a pattern test range has been removed by synthesizing a short pulse with 16 CW measurements. With suitable weighting, a low time-sidelobe pulse, is synthesized to remove scatter to close as 25' for a 32' low sidelobe UHF array. In addition to the pulse results, equivalent CW data is extracted with an FFT from frequency to time, truncation, and in inverse FFT back to individual frequencies. The time samples provide considerable insight into the source of reflections at the range. The procedure gives good agreement with CW patterns taken in another manner. It does so with a minimum of range modification, and operates at very low sidelobe levels.
Advanced elevated antenna measurement facility
In this paper the initial construction and validation phase for a new elevated outdoor antenna range is described. The facility is designed to provide excellent pattern, gain and reflection measurements in the 20 MHz to 40 GHz frequency range for apertures and arrays up to D = 16 feet in length. Shown in detail is a physical description of the facility and equipment, an error budget and the results of field probing and antenna measurements. A discussion of the results shows a facility capable of antenna measurements at S/N levels of 60 dB providing a dynamic range of over 40 dB with error levels less than plus-or-minus 0.44 dB. Throughout the discussion, special attention is given to the full automation of the range in Phase 2 and its possible use for radar cross section measurements.
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