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Quiet zone scan of the single-plane collimating range
The prototype of the March Microwave Single-Plane Collimating Range (SPCR) has been in operation at Arizona State University’s ElectroMagnetic Anechoic Chamber (EMAC) facility for approximately three years. The unique SPCR produces a cylindrical-wave test region by bouncing spherical wavefronts off a parabolic cylindrical reflector. Consequently, a simplified algorithm can be applied to determine antenna far-field patterns. Both computation and acquisition times can be reduced considerably when compared to classical NF/FF cylindrical scanning techniques. To date, this is the only SPCR in operation. Some of the fundamental quantities which characterize an antenna/RCS measurement range are the size and quality of the “quiet zone”, usually expressed in terms of ripple and taper of the illuminating fields relative to an ideal planar wavefront. Direct one-way probing of the quiet zone fields in the vertical and horizontal planes has been recently completed at ASU. An overview of the range geometry, the field probing methodology, and the data processing will be presented. The results of the quiet zone scan will be presented as amplitude ripple, amplitude taper, and phase ripple versus frequency from 4 GHz to 18 GHz in four bands. The vertical-scan phase deviations are relative to an ideal planar wavefront, while those of the horizontal scan are relative to an ideal cylindrical wavefront.
Near-field measurement experience at Scientific-Atlanta
The experience with near-field scanning at Scientific-Atlanta began with a system based upon a analog computer for computing the two-dimensional Fourier transform of the main polarization component. When coupled with a phase/amplitude receiver and a modest planar near-field scanner this system could produce far-field patterns from near-field scanning measurements. In the 1970’s it came to be recognized that the same advances, which made the more sophisticated probe-corrected planar near field measurements possible, would enable conventional far-field range hardware to be used on near-field ranges employing spherical coordinates. In 1980 Scientific-Atlanta first introduced a spherical near-field scanning system based upon a minicomputer already used to automate data acquisition and display. In 1990, to meet the need of measuring complex multistate phased-array antennas, Scientific Atlanta began planning a system to support the high volume data requirement and high speed measurement need represented by this challenge. Today Scientific-Atlanta is again pursuing planar near-field scanning as the method of choice for this test problem.
Probe correction coefficients derived from near-field measurements
Probe correction is necessary in near-field measurements to compensate for non-ideal probes. Probe compensation requires that the probe’s far-field pattern be known. In many cases direct far-field measurements are undesirable, wither because they require dismantling the probe from te near-field range set-up or because a far-field range is not available. This paper presents a unique methos of deriving probe-correction coefficients by measuring a probe on a near-field range with an “identical” probe and taking the square root of the transformed far field. This technique, known as the “robe-square-root” method can be thought of as self-compensation. Far-field comparisons are given to show that this technique is accurate.
General analytic correction of probe-position errors in spherical near-field measurments
A recently developed analytic technique that can correct for probe position errors in planar near-field measurements to arbitrary accuracy  is shown to be also applicable to spherical near-field data after appropriate modifications. The method has been used to successfully remove errors in the near-field, hence leading to more accurate far-field patterns, even if the maximum error in the probe’s position is as large as 0.2?. Only the error-contaminated near-field measurements and an accurate probe position error function are needed to be able to implement the correction technique. It is assumed that the probe position error function is a characteristic of the near-field range, and that it has been obtained using state-of-the-art laser positioning and precision optical systems. The method also requires the ability to obtain derivatives of the error contaminated near-field defined on an error-free regular grid with respect to the coordinates. In planar geometry the derivatives are obtained using FFTs , and, in spherical geometry, one needs to compute derivatives of Hankel functions for radical errors, and derivatives of the spherical electric and magnetic vector basis functions for errors in the ? and Ø coordinates. The error-correction technique has been shown to work well for errors in and of the spherical coordinates r, ? or Ø. Efficient computer codes have been developed to demonstrate the technique using computer simulations.
Antenna far-field from near-field modulus: a phase retrieval strategy
Far-field pattern prediction of a mm wave reflector antenna from a scan of the near-field modulus is reported. The phase retrieval algorithm utilises minimisation and the generalized error reduction algorithm to retrieve both aperture amplitude and phase from a single planar intensity scan. The far-field pattern is calculated from the retrieved complex aperture. Experimental results from measurement of a 1.12m diameter reflector at 32 GHz are presented to illustrate the practicality of the algorithm for millimeter and submillimeter applications.
Determining faults on a flat phased array antenna using planar near-field techniques
The Antenna Metrology Group of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has recently developed and implemented measurement procedures to diagnose faults on a flat phased-array antenna. First, the antenna was measured on the NISTplanar near-field (PNF) range, taking measurements on a plane where the multiple reflections between the probe and the antenna under test are minimized. This is important since the PNF method does not directly allow for these reflections. Then, the NIST PNF software which incorporates the fast Fourier transform (FFT) was used to determine the antenna’s gain and pattern and to evaluate the antenna’s performance. Next, the inverse FFT was used to calculate the fields at the aperture lane. By using this technique, errors in the aperture fields due to multiple reflections can be avoided. By analyzing this aperture plane data through the use of detailed amplitude and phase contour plots, faults in the antenna were located and corrected. The PNF theory and utilization of the inverse FFT will briefly be discussed and results shown.
The Calibration of probes for near field measurements
In near field antenna measurements, knowledge of the the [sic] probe antenna’s pattern, polarization and gain are of vital interest. To calibrate a probe for near field measurements is a delicate task, especially if the probe is small, i.e. low gain. The near field probe and the parameters general to a probe calibration are presented. The delicate task of obtaining an accurate gain for small aperture antennas as well as the problem of transfering [sic] the calibration from the facility where the probe is calibrated to the facility where it is to be used are focussed [sic] upon For a small aperture, the pattern is that of the radiating aperture. The unwanted scattering may be removed by filtering in the spherical mode domain thus obtaining the true aperture radiation. The gain derived from this may however be of little use in reality since the aperture always needs some form of mounting. Such a mounting may be covered with absorber which may reflect and diffract and thus affect the gain value.
Hybrid near-field/far-field antenna measurement techniques
In this paper, an antenna measurement technique based on modified cylindrical NF/FF transformation will be presented. In conventional cylindrical near-field scanning techniques, the near fields are probed on a cylindrical surface surrounding the test antenna. This required extensive data acquisition and processing time which can be reduced substantially if the antenna under test is illuminated by a cylindrical wave. In this hybrid approach, cylindrical wave illumination is generated using a single parabolic reflector in combination with a (point) source. The far-field pattern is then computed by a powerful one-dimensional NF/FF algorithm. It is concluded that this alternative approach combines the attributes of the compact-range technique and the classical NF/FF transformation.
Payload testing in a compact range
The Concept of Compact Test Range has been recently much used for antenna testing facilities, its main characteristic of having far-field conditions in a small and closed place, for a very large frequency band, makes it very attractive. Antenna manufacturers are building them up when the millimetric waves and the spacecraft flight model antennas become part of their activities. The change of the point of view of the antenna characteristics – now, parameters like Gain and Radiation Patterns are replaced by EIRP, Flux Density or Coverage- modifies the classical test philosophy. It makes different the Test Procedures which, in addition, have to take into account the cleanliness and the quality control required for handling flight models, as well. The Compact Payload Test Range (CPTR) in ESTEC shows up a PWZ of 7 x 5 x 5 metres for a frequency range from 1.5 to 40 GHz.; it has been created for testing whole Spacecraft Payloads in space required cleanliness area. The particular properties of the CPTR as such as shielded room, feed scanning, multiaxis test positioner, etc. are used to improve its test possibilities.
Arc range test facility
Problems exist with the measurement of large aperture antennas due to the far field requirement. This paper discussed a new method to measure a phased array at about 1/10 the normal far field. The basic idea involves focusing the test array at probe antenna a distance R away from the aperture. In the described measurement technique the probe antenna is placed on an arm that rotates 100º on the focal arc given by Rcos(?). This arc minimizes defocusing due to phase aberrations. To minimize the amplitude errors, the pattern of the probe antenna is carefully matched in order to compensate for the 1/R variation induced amplitude error. The application of this technique will enable arrays to be measured in anechoic chambers, allowing convenient classified testing, while avoiding the effects of weather, and will reduce the risks inherent in the high power testing on transmit. The results of a computer simulation is presented that characterizes the validity and limitations of the technique.
Application of beam space techniques to phased array calibration and fault compensation
Beamspace techniques are usually employed to synthesize phased array antenna patterns of arbitrary shape. In this paper a beamspace method is used to calibrate the pattern of a 32-element linear array with a conventional array taper. By measuring the antenna pattern in specific directions the beamspace technique permits the actually applied excitation function to be determined with little mathematical effort. Iterative corrections can then be made to the excitation function to maintain low sidelobe performance, or to compensate for element failures. Since local corrections to the array pattern result in global changes to the excitation function, explicit knowledge of where an element failure has occurred is not required. The beamspace analysis was carried out using antenna patterns obtained by electronically scanning the array past a far-field source. Such pattern measurements offer the possibility of maintaining phased array performance in an operational environment.
RCS target support background determination using translating test body
When attempting to make accurate Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements, it is vital to understand the background levels of both the range and the target support fixture. Typically these support fixtures are either foam columns or metal pylons. Determining the RCS levels of the metal pylons requires the installation of a termination device to hide the rotator which has a significantly lower RCS than the pylon being measured. Quite often this is an impossible task, especially at lower frequencies. An algorithm that accurately determines the pylon background levels independent of the RCS contribution of the pylon terminator is presented. This algorithm requires translating the terminator linearly and isolating the background from the resulting interference pattern. Data is included that validates the implementing computer code.
Evaluation of edge interaction errors on a component RCS test body
Errors due to the interaction between test body and the Device Under Test are often overlooked in test body design. Interactions which cannot be gated or subtracted can be present even in low RCS test bodies. This paper presents an approach to evaluate the edge interaction errors of a component RCS test body. In order to quantify the interactions, small cylinders were attached to the face of the test body and measured from grazing to 50 degrees. The scattering of the cylinders illuminated the edges so that the interactions could be measured. This data is presented along with the results of several computer models which were used to determine the interactions involved. A method of moments model of the cylinders on an infinite ground plane gave the theoretical level of the cylinders. A pattern of a monopole antenna on a test body shaped ground plane was used to determine the contribution of each edge; and a point source model was used to locate the points on the edge where the diffraction occurred. This technique allows the dominant source of error signals to be identified.
Three dimensional radar imaging by using tomographic algebraic reconstruction algorithm
Range resolution of a radar image can be obtained by use of wide-band signal (linear FM or chirp waveform) and cross-range resolution by object rotation which synthesized a large antenna aperture (the so called ISAR method, refer ). Although both cross-range profiles can be resolved by rotation of the abject about two mutually orthogonal axes, however, the data manipulation would be quite cumbersome and the measurement implementation would require a mechanical support system by which the objet [sic] can be independently tilted and rotated relative to the radar axis. In this paper, the algebraic reconstruction technique (ART) for tomography is used to resolve the vertical cross-range profile (along the axis normal to the ground) while the horizontal cross-range profile still resolved by ISAR method. Applications of the ART to a simple circular pattern and a complicated emblem pattern of the CSIST show that ART is a suitable approach and easier than ISAR method to obtain the second cross-range resolution.
Plane wave analysis and evaluation of an indoor far field conductive chamber
Martin Marietta designed and brought on-line an indoor far-field chamber used for radar cross section (RCS) evaluation. The range has conductive walls on all sides except for the pyramidal absorber covered back wall. The chamber was designed such that wall/floor/ceiling interactions occur with a distance (time) delay allowing for their isolation from the test region. Software gating techniques are used to remove these unwanted signals. This paper presents an analysis of the conductive chamber using Geometrical Optics (GO). The objective was to analyze and evaluate the plane wave quality in the chamber test region. The evaluation of the plane wave was performed using the angle transform technique. The measured results were compared to analytical results and measured antenna patterns.
Frequency multiplexed near-field measurements
Increasing demands on antenna design characteristics have led to corresponding increases in test requirements, particularly in the need for high speed multi-frequency or multi-beam measurements. Special steps are required in the data acquisition process to maintain synchronization of the data to insure accurate results are achieved. This paper will describe techniques used by NSI for a planar near-field measurement system using a Hewlett Packard 8530A with multiple frequencies and multiple beams acquired in the inner loop of the scan pattern.
Location of environmental scatterers on a microwave antenna test range
The measurement of modern low sidelobe antennas has brought a greater need for accurate site characterisation in order to quantify the effects of site scatterers. A multi-frequency Hankel function out-propagation technique is used to locate and identify site scatterers whose effects may degrade the patterns of antennas measured on the site.
Measurement distance effects on sum and difference patterns
The effects of measurement distance on the sidelobe sum and difference patterns are examined. Highly efficient and robust aperture distributions, the Taylor ñ and the Bayliss ñ, are used to generate date representative of all such distributions. Patterns are obtained through numerical integration of the near-field inegral with exact phase term. Taylor ñ patterns are computed for sidelobe levels to -60 db (published in 1984), and Bayliss patterns for sidelobe levels down to -50 db (new results). For both sum and difference patterns, the change in first sidelobe height, in db, is linear with the log of the measurement distance normalized by 2D(squared)/(lambda). In both cases the lines for different sidelobe levels have the same slope. These results, and typical patterns showing sidelobe changes, will be presented.
Measurements for the verification of antenna temperature calculations for reflector antennas
One antenna characteristic that is difficult to predict accurately is the antenna temperature. There are two basic reasons this is true. First, the effect of the full volumetric radiation pattern of the antenna must be taken into account. Secondly, the antenna temperature calculation requires knowledge of the noise power incident on the antenna, from the environment in which it is operating. This paper describes a measurement program which was undertaken to establish the accuracy of a model which is being used to predict antenna temperature for earth based reflector antennas. The measurements were conducted at 11 GHz, using an 8-foot diameter Cassegrain reflector antenna in an outdoor environment. The measurements are compared to predictions generated by The Ohio State University Reflector Antenna Code. Use of the reflector code allows the full volumetric pattern of the antenna, including all sidelobes, backlobes and cross-polarized response, to be included in the calculation. Additionally, the contribution to the antenna temperature from the various regions of the pattern can be calculated separately and analyzed.
Log periodic antenna as standard gain antenna
Antenna testing is generally predicated upon using a Standard Gain Antenna co-located with the Antenna Under Test (AUT). At HF/VHF/UHF frequencies Standard Gain Antennas (Horns) are too large for co-location on the Antenna Under Test's (AUT's) rotating platform. Co-location is desirable for maintaining equal range lengths and equality in the environment; a prime source of multipath effects. In the HF/VHF/UHF frequencies bands the Log-Periodic is quite often employed as the "Source Antenna" but not necessarily the "Reference Antenna". Dipoles, monopoles above a large ground plane and horn antennas are often chosen as the Reference Antenna. The Log-Periodic Antenna, although also large, has pattern characteristics similar to the Standard Gain Horn's, has a superior and flatter bandwidth and is considerably lighter in weight. This paper will discuss a technique for using a Log-Periodic Antenna as a Standard Gain Antenna when co-location with the Antenna Under Test is not feasible.
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