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Antenna Polarization measurements
In recent years there has been an increasing requirement for more extensive and precise measurements of the polarization properties of antennas. Some of the more conventional polarization measurement techniques are no longer applicable because of the required measurement time or the achievable accuracy. This presentation is an overview of polarization measurement methods which may be employed on far-field antenna ranges. Instrumentation requirements and sources of error are also included.
Antenna test facility at ISAC-Bangalore
The paper describes a simple but unique antenna test facility suitable for aerospace antenna developments. The total idea can be easily adopted by organizations who wish to carry out antenna measurements with minimum required instrumentation. The facility majorly caters for omni and wide beam antenna measurements, has been set up at ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore, India. It has been extensively used for omnidirectional antenna developments in VHF, UHF, L, S, and X-bands for India’s various space programs. Radiation pattern, gain, polarization and impedance measurements can be carried out both in near free space conditions as well as the ground reflection modes. The main feature of the facility is the use of large fiber-glass mounting structures for avoiding reflections and perturbations in radiation patterns due to impressed surface currents, specially in VHF ranges. Field probing is done by the use of a fiber-glass X-Y probe positioner. The facility used Scientific Atlanta 1752 Receiver and 1540 Recorder. Suitable software has been added to the facility for contour plotting of radiation levels, calculation of efficiency isotropy, and polarization properties.
An Automated Precision Microwave Vector Ratio Measurement Receiver Offers Solutions for Sophisticated Antenna Measurement Problems
This paper describes a new, automated, microprocessor controlled, dual-channel microwave vector ratio measurement receiver for the frequency range 10 MHz to 18 GHz. It provides a greater than 120 dB dynamic range and resolutions of 0.001 dB and 0.1 degree. Primarily designed as an attenuator and Signal Generator Calibrator, it offers solutions to antenna measurement problems where high accuracies and/or wide dynamic measurement ranges are required such as for broadband cross-polarization measurements on radar tracking antennas, highly accurate gain measurements on low-loss reflector antennas, frequency domain characteristics measurements on wide-band antennas with resulting data suitable for on-line computer conversion to time domain transient response and dispersion characteristics data and wideband near field scanning measurements for computing far field performances. The measurement data in the instrument is obtained in digital form and available over an IEEE-488 bus interface to an outside computer. Measurement times are automatically optimized by the built-in microprocessor with respect to signal/noise ratio errors in response to the measurement signal level and the chosen resolution. Complete digital measurement data amplitude of both channels and phase, is updated every 5 milliseconds.
Design, calibration and performance of a full-sized aircraft antenna range from 30 MHz to 40GHz
This paper summarizes the results of work performed for the Naval Air Development Center (NADC) on a new full-sized aircraft antenna range located in Warminster, PA. Because of the ever-increasing sophistication of aircraft systems, a facility capable of testing full scale mock-ups has become necessary to fully characterize the system in its operating environment. There are, however, several unique problems associated with such a range. Many systems of interest have a wing-tip to wing-tip baseline, which requires that the incident illumination be “uniform” over a significant aperture (approximately 40x15 feet for tactical aircraft). Differential path loss between wing-tip ends, as the aircraft is rotated, can be a source of large error, as can the parallax created by off-center rotation. Also, since today’s military aircraft carry a wide variety of systems, the range is required to be a “general use” range, operational over a wide frequency spectrum from 30 MHz to 40 GHz. A thorough examination of design trade-offs was performed relating the critical parameters of source beamwidth, specular reflection, path loss, phase error, and receive aperture size in order to choose the proper source antenna type, source height, and separation distance between source and test antennas for each frequency band of interest. Other factors in the range design were a maximum possible source height of 40 feet (approximately the height of the pedestal), and a desire to keep the separation distance fixed over the entire frequency range. Results are presented with indicate excellent performance over an 18 x 18 foot aperture for various polarizations. It was found that the range operates effectively as a ground reflection range from 30 MHz to 3 GHz, and as an elevated range at higher frequencies. Peak-to-peak amplitude ripples over the test aperture of 1.0 dB (corresponding to a reflection level of –25 dB) were acheived over a significant portion of the frequency spectrum.
A Microwave interferometer technique for RCS and phase measurements
The radar scatter matrix can be accurately characterized in magnitude, relative phase, and polarization for both far-field monostatic and bistatic conditions by means of a microwave interferometer. A separate transmitting antenna illuminates the target of interest while two adjacent receiving antennas measure magnitude and the combine in a phase comparator whose output is a phase differential caused by a changing target aspect angle. Using correct constants and scale factors this differential is integrated to provide target phase information. Different polarizations are obtained by switchable feeds. The technique can be used on an RCS range under static conditions or under dynamic conditions with a ground based radar and an airborne target. The advantage gained is that errors due to radar path length changes are eliminated.
The Orbiting Standards Package: A Recalibratable Satellite Instrument Assembly for Measuring Large Earth Station Antennas
The concept of an Orbiting Standards Package (OSP) has been discussed as a means of making direct measurements of fields, patterns, and polarization states of signals radiated from large earth station antennas. It would also have the capability of producing test field of known intensities and arbitrary but well-defined polarization states, thereby enabling the determination of such parameters as G/T and Effective Receiving Area of earth stations. Recent developments in microwave six-port networks and in standard antennas would permit the all-electronic generation and detection of these signals. Moreover, it appears possible to recalibrate the satellite standards package to laboratory state-of-the-art accuracy following launch.
An Airborne S-band telemetry antenna system which uses a Luneberg lens aperture
An S-band telemetry antenna system was designed and fabricated using a 30-inch diameter lightweight Luneberg lens as the aperture. It is equipped with four feeds in the azimuth plane to achieve single beam patterns or multiple beam patterns. Initial measurements with the lens without a radome were made with various feeds and feed combinations in the compact range of the Georgia Tech Engineering Experiment Station. The final design also done by Georgia Tech to Kentron Specifications, uses a custom designed quad ridged circular feed with orthogonal linear polarization outputs which are converted to left- and right-hand circular polarization using 90o hybrid couplers. A control panel permits the operator to manually select a single beam coverage of 11o x 11o, twobeams combined for 22o x 11o sector coverage, or four beams combined for 44o azimuth x 11o elevation sector coverage. A automatic mode permits the full gain of a single beam, about 22 dB, to be attained and switched automatically to the RF feed containing the greatest signal power as sensed by eight total power radiometer receivers; one for each orthogonal polarization for each of the four antenna feeds. Selectable integration time constants are 0.1, 1, 10, and 100 milliseconds. Dependable switching is obtained for signals of -99 dBm or greater. The RF switching is achieved by PIN-diode switches in 10 nanoseconds. The system employs eight state-of-the-art gain and phase matches GaAs FET low-noise preamps which have a noise figure of 1.1 dB and gain of 51 dB. External limiters at the input of each LNA protect the devices from accidental RF inputs up to six watts average power. The system was designed as a removable package to be flown aboard the U.S. Army’s C-7A Caribou aircraft with an opened rear cargo ramp to collect terminal TM data from missile reentry vehicles (RV’s) impacting near the Kwajalein Missile Range. Flight testing of the system against target of opportunity missions began the third week of June 1982. The system is expected to be declared an operational system in support of ballistic missile testing by December 1982.
A CW radar cross-section measurement facility in X-band
A monostatic C.W. radar cross-section facility in the X-band at the Radar and Communication Centre, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India is described. This set up is capable of automatically measuring the c.w. monostatic radar cross-section over the range of aspect angle 0 to ±180o for both TE and TM polarizations. The transmitting/receiving antenna and the rotating target is housed on the roof-top of the building and the microwave circuit with recording arrangement is in the air-conditioned laboratory. It is capable of handling a target of arbitrary shape of maximum size equal to 70 cm and uses a two-stage background (without target) cancellation technique employing Magic-T. A typical value of effective isolation between the transmitted and received signals is of the order of 70 dB and a dynamic range of 35 dB. Measurements made in this set up with different types of targets show a fair agreement with the results obtained by analytical investigations. The same set-up with necessary modifications for measuring the phase of the scattered field along with the amplitude data is expected to provide the amplitude and phase information for target identification and classification problems.
Polarization measurements using the septum polarizer
The septum polarizer is a four-port waveguide device illustrated in its basic form in Figure 1. The square waveguide at one end constitutes two ports because it can support two orthogonal modes. A sloping (or stepped equivalent) septum divides the square waveguide into two standard rectangular wavelengths sharing a common broadwall. With a properly designed septum, this device has interesting and useful properties.
Automated, broadband antenna measurements
Today’s broadband electronic warfare systems are more sophisticated and complex than ever before. Many systems require that component and subsystems be characterized more extensively than in the past. This leads to the need for high-speed automated antenna measurement over a broad frequency band. For example, a program currently in progress requires that phase and amplitude measurements be made on the antenna system for four different polarizations at approximately 400 frequencies over a 9:1 bandwidth. This is achieved with an automated test system using broadband instruments which are capable of rapidly stepping through frequencies while maintaining measurement accuracy. This paper will review some of the current trends in test requirements, the problems associated with this increased demand for data and alternative solutions. Data will be presented to illustrate achievable performance.
The Ohio State University compact radar cross-section measurement range
This paper discusses the development and performance of a compact radar cross-section measurement range for obtaining backscattered signatures and patterns on targets up to 1.3 meters in extent, and at frequencies of 1 to eventually 100 GHz. The goal for the development was a general purpose but state of the art range which could obtain the complex radar signature vs. polarization, frequency, and target look angle for both Non-Cooperative Target Rcognition studies and Radar Cross-Section Control Studies. Since the facility was at a University, there were also concerns of cost, versatility, and ease of use in research programs by graduate students. The architecture and some design data on the system are discussed in section 2.
A Dual shaped compact range for EHF antenna measurements
A dual offset shaped reflector compact range is described. Improvements over the traditional single reflector, apex-fed compact range are outlined and discussed. A design plan for a dual offset shaped reflector compact range for EHF antenna measurement is presented.
Millimeter wave antenna measurements
Millimeter wave antenna measurements are hampered by a lack of cost effective automated test equipment and the necessity of using unwieldy waveguide set-ups. This paper describes some practical considerations in using readily available test equipment to perform accurate, repeatable antenna measurements. Experimental results of gain, polarization and sidelobe level measurements will be discussed and compared with calculated results.
Automated wideband, phase coherent polarimetric radar cross section measurements
This paper describes the equipment, mechanics and methods of one of the outdoor ranges at Teledyne Micronetics. A computer controlled microwave transceiver uses pulsed CW over a frequency range of 2-18 GHz to measure the amplitude, phase and polarization of the signal reflected off the target. The range geometry, calibration and analysis techniques are used to optimize measurement accuracy and characterize the target as a set of subscatterers.
Polarization correction of spherical near-field data
This paper describes the relationship of probe polarization correction to probe-pattern corrected and non-probe-pattern-corrected spherical near-field measurements. A method for reducing three-antenna polarization data to a form useful for polarization correction is presented. The results of three-antenna measurements and the effects of polarization correction on spherical near-field measurements are presented.
Performance criteria for RCS measurement systems
The purpose of an instrumentation radar is to characterize the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of a target as a function of target aspect and radar frequency. In addition, an instrumentation radar may be used to produce a high resolution radar image of a target which is useful in target identification work and as a diagnostic tool in radar cross section reduction. These purposes differ from those of a conventional radar, in which the objective is to detect the presence of a target and to measure the range to the target. Several different radars are currently used to perform radar cross section measurements. Common instrumentation radars may be classified as CW, Pulsed CW (Low-Bandwidth IF), Linear FM (FM-CW), Pulsed (High-Bandwidth IF) and Short Pulse (Very High-Bandwidth IF). These radars accomplish the measurement task in distinct manners, and it is sometimes difficult to determine where the strength or weakness of each radar lies. In this paper, a set of performance criteria is proposed for RCS measurements. The proposed criteria can be applied uniformly to any instrumentation radar independent of the type of radar design employed. The criteria are chosen to emphasize those performance characteristics that relate directly to RCS measurements and thus are most important to the user. Two instrumentation radars which have been designed at Scientific Atlanta, namely the Series 2084 (Linear FM) and the Series 1790 (Pulse), are used to illustrate the application of the performance criteria.
Preliminary development of a phased array near field antenna coupler
End-to-end testing of electronic warfare (EW) equipment at the organizational or flight lines level is accomplished by use of an antenna coupler which is placed over the EW system antenna. The coupler is used to inject a stimulus signal simulating a signal emanating from a distant radar, and to receive and detect the EW system response (EW transmit) signal. The coupler is used to determine the EW receiver sensitivity over a swept frequency coverage and the EW transmit gain and effective radiated power (ERP) versus frequency characteristics, as well as to determine the operating integrity of the EW antenna and transmission lines.
Ultra low sidelobe testing by planar near field scanning
An innovative technique has been developed for accurately measuring very low Sidelobe Antenna patterns by the method of planar near field probing. The technique relies on a new probe design which has a pattern null in the direction of the test antenna’s steered bean direction. Simulations of the near field measurement process using such a probe show that -60dB peak side-lobes will be accurately measured (within established bounds) when the calibrated near field dynamic range does not exceed 40 dB. The desireable property of the new probe is its ability to “spatially filter” the test antenna’s spectrum by reduced sensitivity to main beam ray paths. In this way, measurement errors which usually increase with decreasing near field signal level are minimized. The new probe is also theorized to have improved immunity to probe/array multipath and to probe-positioning errors. Plans to use the new probe on a modified planar scanner during tests with the AWACS array at the National Bureau of Standards will be outlined.
Rolled edge modification of compact range reflector
The compact range is an electromagnetic measurement system used to simulate a plane wave illuminating an antenna or scattering body. The plane wave is necessary to represent the actual use of the antenna or scattering from a target in a real world situation. Traditionally, a compact range has been designed as an off-set fed parabolic reflector with a knife edge or serrated edge termination. It has been known for many years that the termination of the parabolic surface has limited the extent of the plane wave region or, more significantly, the antenna or scattering body size that can be measured in the compact range. For example, the Scientific Atlanta (SA) Compact Range is specified to be limited to four foot long antennas or scattering bodies as shown in their specifications. Note that the SA compact range uses a serrated edge treatment as shown in Figure 1. This system uses a parabolic reflector surface which is approximately 12 square feet so that most of the reflector surface is not usable based on the 4 foot square plane wave sector. As a result, the compact range has had limited use as well as accuracy which will be shown later. In fact, the compact range concept has not been applied to larger systems because of the large discrepancy between target and reflector size. In summary, the target or antenna sizes that can be measured in the presently available compact range systems are directly related to the edge treatment used to terminate the reflector surface.
Extension of the extrapolation method for accurate swept frequency antenna gain calibrations
For approximately 10 years the National Bureau of Standards has used the Extrapolation Technique (A. C. Newell, et al., IEEE Trans. Ant. & Prop., AP-21, 418-431, 1973) for accurately calibrating transfer standard antennas (on-axis gain and polarization). The method utilizes a generalized three-antenns approach which does not require quantitative a priori knowledge of the antennas. Its main advantages are its accuracy and generality. This is essentially no upper frequency limit and it can be applied, in principle, to any type of antenna, although some directivity is desirable to reduce multipath interence.
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