AMTA Paper Archive
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Making precision RCS measurements on a compact range using an HP8510 and an RF switching network
The development of a high efficiency compact range has made it possible to consider alternative equipment for making radar cross section measurements. Historically, high power radars were required to make measurements on low efficiency, high clutter ranges. Their high power and narrow pulse capability was essential in making precision measurements. Such instrumentation is complex and expensive. There is, however, a relatively inexpensive approach which uses test equipment commonly found in the laboratory. It is centered around an HP8510 network analyzer and an RF switching network.
A Method of evaluating conductive coatings for RCS models
A novel method for evaluating conductive coatings used for radar cross section (RCS) scale models is presented. The method involves the RCS measurement of a short circuited cavity whose interior is coated with the material under study. The dominant scattering from such a structure occurs from the cavity rim and surface walls internal to the cavity. The method of conductivity testing has excellent sensitivity due to the energy that couples in and out of the cavity. This energy undergoes many reflections with the interior walls and thus very small losses can be detected. Calculations and measurements are shown for several different types of coatings, including coatings of silver, copper, nickel and zinc.
Near field measurement of very large antennas
Conventional pattern measurements are difficult to apply when the aperture is very large (250 lambda or more), particularly in the case of a relatively fragile antenna structure intended for a space application. Near field techniques can offer a solution, but may need a relatively large R.F. enclosure and custom instrumentation. This paper examines various alternative approaches in the case of the 15 m planar array under development at CAL for Radarsat. Specifically, the techniques under consideration include planar probing, cylindrical probing, planar cylindrical probing, intermediate range spherical probing, and some special variants. It is shown that the fact that the Radarsat antenna generates shaped beams as opposed to pencil beams impacts the relative accuracies achieved by these techniques to a very significant extent. The data collection and processing time, the size of the anechoic chamber needed, and the instrumentation requirement are also important considerations.
RADARSAT SAR antenna testing requirements and facility
The Radarsat synthetic aperture radar (SAR) antenna is baselined to be a large slotted waveguide planar array, with a rectangular aperture of dimensions 1.5m x 15m. At the nominal frequency of 5.3 GHz, the dimensions in terms of wavelengths are approximately 26.5 lambda x 265 lambda. The usual 2D(squared) divided by lambda formula yields a far-field range length of at least 7.96 Km, which is far beyond the range lengths currently available to the program. A more conservative design would at least double that number, rendering a far-field measurement concept all but impracticable. (*) This work was carried out for the Radarsat Project Technical Office of the Communications Research Centre, Canadian Department of Communications, under DSS contract OSR84-00175, funded by the Canadian Department of Energy, Mines, and Resources.
Modern antenna test facility for new generation space-borne antennas
Spar Aerospace, along with other aerospace companies, have experienced an evolution in the development of spacecraft antennas over the past 20 years. Spacecraft antennas originated as either simple antennas providing figure of revolution patterns for spin stabilized communication satellites or simple monopoles for telemetry and command purposes. Communication satellite antennas later evolved to shape beam reflector type configurations. Spaceborne antennas are now moving to even larger reflector antennas and to planar arrays for radar applications. This evolution in spaceborne antennas has been followed by a parallel evolution in antenna test facilities and facilities requirements.
Prime focus feeds for the compact range
Prime focus fed paraboloidal reflector compact ranges are used to provide plane wave illumination indoors at small range lengths for antenna and radar cross-section measurements. The "quiet zone", which is the region of space within which a uniform plane wave is created, has previously been limited to a small fraction of the reflector size. A typical quiet zone might be six feet by four feet for a ten foot radius reflector.
VHF/UHF short pulse RCS measurement system
Flam & Russell, Inc. has developed a short pulse radar cross section measurement system (Model 8101) which operates from VHF up to L band. This paper describes operation of the system, with emphasis given to the design considerations necessary to minimize susceptibility to a number of problems that have imposed serious limitations on achievable sensitivity at lower frequencies in pulsed RCS outdoor measurement systems. These problems have been, to a great extent, solved in the current system design. The system has been designed for use in outdoor range facilities with a variety of target sizes. A w ideband, high power transmitter is capable of producing pulses 50-350 nanoseconds wide at peak levels of up to several kilowatts. A phase coherent wide bandwidth receiver provides amplitude and phase information at video for sampling. A maximum of four independently located range gates may be selected and set with a resolution of one nanosecond. The data collection system features a three-tier processor structure for dedicated position data processing, target data processing, and system I/O and control, respectively. A real time display of RCS versus position coordinate is available to the operator, as well as a real time indication of the presence of radio frequency interference (RFI). A 60 foot reflector antenna equipped with a duo polarized feed provides full scattering matrix capability with 30 dB of polarization isolation and better than 50 dB of "ghost" suppression. Careful antenna structure and transmission line design has eliminated reverberation or "pulse ringing" problems. A radar "figure of merit" (ratio of peak transmitted power to receiver noise floor for the required pulse bandwidth) of better than 150 dB has been achieved.
Applications of ISAR imaging techniques to near-field RCS measurements
This paper discusses some of the applications of high-resolution coherent radar image processing techniques in unimproved indoor facilities. The techniques are particularly useful in situations where traditional indoor range chambers are unavailable or impractical. Experiments in an 18-foot-high warehouse building have shown that useful measurements can be made at close quarters, in a high-clutter environment.
Measurement of element pattern and its usage in the development of multi-beam arrays
Electronic scanning phased arrays are being used more and more in radar, EW and communication systems. The development of such an array can be divided into two separate parts: development of the radiating elements and development of the beam forming network. The development of these two parts is often done in parallel and the radiating elements should always be developed taking into consideration the whole array and not only single elements.
RCS measurements at VHF/UHF frequencies
In this paper we consider those factors having primary impact on submicrowave RCS measurements in outdoor (ground-bounce range) environments, including: 1. The target illumination problem, reflecting fundamental limits on antenna size and height 2. Measurement sensitivity as limited by thermal noise and radar frequency interference (RFI) 3. Antenna selection at VHF frequencies 4. Ground-bounce effects near Brewster's angle. 5. Clutter (due to either terrain or target support) and clutter suppression techniques. Some improvements to basic RCS measurement range design are analyzed in detail, with emphasis on mobile (variable range) antenna/radar systems.
Experimental techniques for the radar cross section measurements of complex structures
Prediction methods currently being developed for estimating the Radar Cross Section (RCS) of a complex target are based on the concurrent use of different numerical techniques each being employed in the region where it performs best. Since the high frequency techniques and the numerical methods used in the computation must deal with important rapid phase and amplitude fluctuations of the resultant scattered field, it is sometimes very difficult or impossible to know to what extent the computed solution is valid, unless measurements are available for comparison purposes.
A Broadband, inexpensive, KA-band pulsed radar system
There has been much interest recently in Ka-band scattering measurements. Although Ka-band components are steadily improving, one is presently limited to narrow bandwidths (2 GHz) for higher power (more than 100 milliwatts) applications. If the whole wavelength bandwidth was useable, one could scan the target in frequency, transform to the time domain and simulate a very narrow pulse illuminating the target. With such a system, one could identify scattering centers separated by just an inch or so. * This work was supported by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia under Grant NSG 1613 and Sandia National Laboratories under Contract No. 58-3465.
Monostatic and bistatic scattering by metal ogival target support
The ogival target-support pedestal as shown in Figure 1 is claimed to have a low radar cross section (RCS); yet, it can handle very large and heavy structures. This paper attempts to find out whether this claim is true through analysis as well as measurements. The pedestal backscatter is just one aspect of this study. Another more serious issue is associated with the bistatic scattering by the pedestal which influences the target illumination. * This work was supported in part by the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia, under Grant NSG-1613 with The Ohio State University Research Foundation.
Measurement of doubly curved reflector antennas
This paper describes the mechanical as well as electrical measurement of doubly curved reflector antennas. The techniques developed for measurement of the new Canadian RAMP Primary Surveillance Radar antenna are described. Instead of a conventional full size template fixture to measure the antenna contour accuracy, an optical twin-theodolite method is used. The problems of the method are discussed and a new simplified analysis for calculating reflector error of doubly curved antennas is presented. Reflector errors are calculated and displayed concurrent with the actual measurements. The measurement of primary and secondary patterns for such antennas are described. Included are brief descriptions of the improved Andrew pattern test range and anechoic chamber facilities.
Troubleshooting test facilities with a high resolution instrumentation radar
This paper presents data from facility evaluation tasks on current projects. The data were obtained on outdoor free-space pattern test facilities, and in anechoic chamber RCS test facilities.
Displaced phase center antenna measurements for space based radar applications
An investigation of the use of array mutual coupling measurements, to evaluate displaced phase center antenna (DPCA) performance, is made. The details of a subscale space based radar (SBR) DPCA phased array and the array mutual coupling technique are discussed. DPCA results are quantified experimentally under a number of test conditions. It is shown that the test array beam decorrelation computed from array mutual coupling data, is in good agreement with both theoretical predictions, planar near field measurements and direct far field measurements.
Monostatic near-field radar cross-section measurement
This paper presents some current measurement results obtained as part of a research program to investigate the theory, technique, apparatus and practicality of monostatic near-field radar cross-section measurement (MNFRCSM).
Optimum near-field probing for improved low sidelobe measurement accuracy
A novel technique for improved accuracy of sidelobe measurement by planar near field probing has been developed and tested on the modified near field scanner at the National Bureau of Standards. The new technique relies on a scanning probe which radiates an azimuth plane null along the test antenna’s mainbeam steering direction. In this way, the probe acts as a mainbeam filter during probe correction processing, and allows the sidelobe space wavenumbers to establish the dynamic range of the near field measurement. In this way, measurement errors which usually increase with decreasing near field signal strength are minimized. The probe also discriminates against error field which have propagation components in the direction of mainbeam steering, such errors may be due to multipath or scanner Z-position tolerances. Near field probing tests will be described which demonstrate measurement accuracies from tests with two slotted waveguide arrays—the Ultralow Sidelobe Array (ULSA) and the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) array. Results show that induced near field measurement error will generate detectable far field sidelobe errors, within established bounds, at the –60dB level. The utility of te probe to detect low level radar target scattering will also be described.
Very broadband measurements of time-varying background returns for a compact radar cross-section measurement range
There are several background return sources on the Ohio State University Compact Radar Range which affect the sensitivity, accuracy, and dynamic range of the measurement. This paper discusses the magnitude and time delay of the principal background “clutter” mechanisms. Next, data on the time drift properties will be presented, and the relation to system temperature and other physical variations will be discussed. Finally, the impact of system design and operation concepts on these performance factors will be discussed.
Focused synthetic array imagery of compact radar range spurious scattering components
The Ohio State University (OSU) ElectroScience Laboratory (ESL) utilizes a parabolic reflector as part of the compact range system . It is necessary to probe the plane wave zone of this reflector in order to measure the purity of the plane wave that is generated. Variations in the amplitude or the phase of the signal received by a probe antenna as the probe is moved linearly across the plane wave region indicate deviations from a pure plane wave in the test zone.
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