AMTA Paper Archive
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Measurement techniques for the RADARSAT SAR antenna
A study of RF testing methods was conducted for the Radarsat SAR antenna. The implementation tolerances of a planar and a cylindrical near-field facility were computed, by simulation of the effects of different types of measurement errors on the reconstructed far field. The results are presented and the two types of near-field facility are compared.
Quiet zone RCS errors
A unique RCS field probe system is described which determines: 1) the two way phase and amplitude field taper, and 2) the RCS measurement error within the quiet zone. The RCS of a suspended target is measured by the radar at selected locations or while moving in the quiet zone. The field taper is obtained from a time gated target return. The quiet zone RCS error for a target is obtained by comparing RCS measurements from anywhere in the quiet zone with the target RCS measured at the center of the quiet zone. A quiet zone containing a high quality illumination field was measured and found to have more than a 5 dB quiet zone RCS error. The RCS error magnitude is dependent upon the radar variables which are determined by the target size. There is a significant difference between the implied RCS error based on the illumination field quality and RCS measurement error caused by the additional contributions of multipath and target dependent clutter that are peculiar to each facility. Accurate RCS measurements require detailed knowledge of the test facility's multipath, target dependent clutter characteristics, and the target's bistatic signature.
Error analysis in RCS imaging
In the last few years, the interest in Radar Cross Section (RCS) measurements has increased rapidly. The development of high-performance Compact Ranges (CR) has made possible measurements on large targets down to very low RCS levels (below -70 dBsm). RCS imaging is a powerful tool to determine the location of scattering sources on a target. The response of the target is measured as a function of the frequency and aspect angle. A two-dimensional Fourier transform then gives the reflection density as a function of down-range and cross-range. If the response is measured vs. azimuth and elevation, even a complete 3-D image is possible. For high-resolution imaging (large bandwidth, wide aspect-angle span) a direct 2-dimensional Fourier transform gives rise to errors caused by the movement of the scatterers during the measurement. These errors can be corrected by applying a coordinate transformation to the measured data, prior to the Fourier transforms. This so called focused imaging allows further manipulation of measured data. However, the measurement accuracy can be a limiting factor in application of these techniques. It will be shown that the Compact Range performance as well as positioning accuracy can cause serious errors in high-resolution imaging and thus in interpretation of processed data.
A Novel approach for two- and three-dimensional imaging
Conventional radar imaging requires large amounts of data over large bandwidths and angular sectors to produce the location of the dominant scattering centers. A new approach is presented here which utilizes only two swept frequency scans at two different look angles for two-dimensional images or three swept frequency scans at three different look angles for three-dimensional images. Each swept frequency scan is the backscattered response of a target. A different plane wave illumination angle can be conveniently obtained by offsetting the feed horn from the focus of a compact range reflector without rotating the target. The two- and three-dimensional target information for the location of the dominant scattering centers is then obtained from the band limited impulse responses of these swept frequency scans.
Speeding up the HP8510B for antenna and RCS measurements
Antenna and Radar Cross Section measurements require a large amount of data collection. Network Analyzers are often used to characterize these systems, and although these data ideally are collected automatically by computer it is not unusual for a single characterization to require many hours or even days to perform. We describe a technique for speeding up these measurements by at least an order of magnitude. Clearly making measurements in an hour that formerly took a day or making measurements in a day that formerly took two weeks is extremely appealing. The method we describe may be used for applications which require a large number of automatically performed measurements with sequentially swept frequencies, but which find lack of speed in tuning the network analyzer to be a limiting factor. Antenna, and Radar Cross Section measurements benefit substantially since frequency response measurements must be repeated many times to provide spatial characterization.
Refractivity fluctuations on an RCS test range: comparative measurement, characterization, and implications for calibration procedures
The performance of an outdoor, ground-plane RCS measurement range can be degraded by fluctuations in the atmospheric reflectivity N. These fluctuations can introduce error into RCS measurements, particularly when they do not manifest in the radar return from the secondary calibration standard. A propagation anomaly study at the RATSCAT RCS range compares the N-fluctuations -- obtained from meteorological instruments and separately from RF receivers -- at several levels above the ground. The fluctuation mechanisms are discussed in terms of temperature lapse rates, "constant-N" cell sizes, wind velocity, and rough ground effects. The optimal RF sensor height for propagation anomaly indications is found to depend on the cell size. This has implications for the positioning of secondary calibration standards.
A Wide band instrumentation radar system for indoor RCS measurement chambers
An instrumentation radar system suitable for collection of backscatter characteristics of targets in an indoor chamber was built and installed in the Ohio State University ElectroScience Laboratory. The radar is a pulsed system with continuous coverage from 2 to 18 GHz, and spot coverage from 26 to 36 GHz. The system was designed to have maximum flexibility for various test configurations, including complete control of the transmit waveform, H or V transmit polarization, dual receive channels for simultaneous measurement of like and cross polarization, greater than 100 dB dynamic range, and convenient data storage and processing. A personal computer controls the operation of the radar and is capable of limited data reduction and display functions. A mini-computer is used for more widely sophisticated data reduction and display functions along with data storage. This paper will present details of the radar along with measured performance capabilities of the system.
Applications of autoregressive spectral analysis to high resolution time domain RCS transformations
Modern analysis techniques of radar scattering data or radar cross section (RCS) data often include transformation to the time domain for the purpose of understanding the specific scattering mechanisms involved or to isolate or identify specific scattering points. The classic technique is to transform from the frequency domain to the time domain using an inverse (Fast) Fourier Transform (IFFT). Often, however, the scattering centers are too close together to resolve or the requirement for accuracy in the measurement of the differential time delay is too high given the IFFT inverse bandwidth. This paper presents a technique for determining the time domain response of a radar target by processing the data using modern autoregressive (AR) spectral analysis. In this technique, the scattering from a radar target in the high frequency regime is shown to be autoregressive. This paper will show examples using the maximum entropy method (MEM) of Burg.
RCS errors due to target support structure
The deleterious effect of tilting the pylon on the measured RCS of a low level target is shown. A two scatterer computer model is developed to demonstrate the harmful effect of the pylon on the target signature. Predicted RCS plots are provided for the pylon to target ratios of -20, -10, 0, and +10 dB. The familiar error curve for two interfering signals is shown as applicable to bound the RCS errors of two scatterers. A method for computing the pylon RCS from linear motion RCS measurements is described with sample data plots. A knowledge of the pylon RCS allows the inclusion of measurement confidence levels on all RCS plots which is very valuable to the analyst. All radar data that is below the known RCS of the target support structure can be blanked from the plotted data to prevent confusion since these RCS values are an artifact of the measurement system and are not a true representation of the target RCS.
Target mounting techniques for compact range measurements
The compact range provides a means to evaluate the radar cross section (RCS) of a wide variety of targets, but successful measurements are dependent on the type of target mounting used. This work is concerned with the mounting of targets to a metal ogival shaped pedestal, and in particular focuses on two forms of mounting techniques: the "soft" (non-metallic) and "hard" (metallic) mounting configurations. Each form is evaluated from both the mechanical and electromagnetic viewpoints, and the limitations associated with each type are examined. Additional concerns such as vector background subtraction and target-mount interactions are also examined, both analytically and through measurements performed in the ElectroScience Laboratory's Anechoic Chamber.
The Radar image modeling system
The characteristics of a unique indoor RCS modeling facility are described. The David Taylor Research Center (DTRC) has implemented an indoor, over-water radar cross section measurement facility. Major components of the facility are the DTRC Seakeeping Basin, an imaging radar, an underwater target mount and rotator, a calibration system, and video monitoring equipment. Initial operational capabilities include dynamic pulse-to-pulse polarization-agile measurements at X and Ku bands, elevation angles from grazing to 7 degrees, maximum target length of 50 feet, and simulated sea states adjustable between state 0 and state 3. Several data products are available, including high-resolution inverse synthetic aperture radar images. Eventual capabilities will include extended elevation angles up to 30 degrees, frequencies to beyond 100 GHz, and SAR imagery.
Parasitic multimode/corrugated (PMC) feed for a compact range
The radar cross section of large targets has previously been measured on large outdoor far field ranges. Due to environmental and security limitations of outdoor ranges, low cost indoor compact ranges are preferred. To optimize compact range performance and to minimize size, careful attention must be paid to the design of feeds which are required for the proper illumination of the reflector. This paper describes a new polarization diversified parasitic multimode/corrugated (PMC) feed for a compact range reflector. The performance attributes of the PMC feed are presented. The PMC feed provides several advantages over other known commercially available compact range feeds.
Development of a small compact range facility
The development of a small compact range facility that has been integrated into an existing laboratory space is described. This facility uses a commercially available offset reflector with a 6 ft projected diameter and has sufficiently precise construction for operation at EHF frequencies. The edge diffraction degradation of the quiet zone is controlled by reducing the reflector edge illumination rather than using a complex edge treatment or a dual reflector design. Measured values of the quiet zone fields compare very well with calculated values. The facility can be used to measure antennas and radar targets whose dimensions do not exceed 20 in at high microwave and millimeter-wave frequencies. The low cost and simplicity of this compact range design are key features.
A Roof top antenna range at Bellcore
A roof-top antenna range has been installed at the Bellcore facility in Red Bank, New Jersey. This facility is used as a far field range to measure highly directive antennas at millimeter wave frequencies. Theoretical and experimental studies were performed to characterize the range environment and identify reflections. Two computer programs were used to analyze the strength and location of interfering signals at both UHF and millimeter wave frequencies. These programs use Geometrical Optics and the Geometrical Theory of Diffraction to predict the location and strength of diffracted and reflected energy from the surrounding structures. Both singly and doubly diffracted interferences were considered. A bi-static radar, with an 850 MHz carrier, bi-phase modulated by a 40 Mbit/s pseudonoise code, was used to measure the impulse response of the environment. The antenna range measurements are compared with the analysis done at 850 MHz and calculated results are printed for the behavior of the range in the millimeter wave regime.
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.
Financially justifying an antenna/RCS measurement system
This paper examines the economic justification process for a new Antenna or Radar Cross-Section (RCS) measurement system, and presents the techniques that can be used to determine the financial feasibility of a new system. Specific examples are given that will allow engineers to customize calculations to fit their company's specific accounting methods and labor rates.
Guided weapons radar testing
An overview of non-destructive real-time testing of missiles is discussed in this paper. This testing has become known as hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulation because it involves the actual missile hardware.
Hybrid compact radar range reflector
A new type of rolled-edge compact range reflector was designed and built by McDonnell Douglas Corporation. To minimize diffraction, the reflector contour was designed such that the surface radius of curvature and all its derivatives are continuous everywhere. This was accomplished by summing a parabolic function and two hyperbolic functions which have appreciable magnitude only in the edge-roll region. The bottom edge was treated using serrations.
On the correction of errors due to short measuring distance in inverse synthetic aperture imaging on radar targets
In the theory of inverse synthetic aperture imaging of radar targets the measuring distance is ordinarily supposed to be very much larger than the dimensions of the target. If this is not the case errors are introduced. We study these errors and means to decrease their influence by computation. The result is that the maximum tolerable target dimension can be substantially increased in a plane perpendicular to the axis of rotation if error correction is used.
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.
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