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A Comparison of three field probing techniques
The recent activity and study of the compact range has been increasing the past few years. Both radar cross section (RCS) and antenna measurements have been conducted in the compact range. Important research and analytical investigation has also been done in the design and construction of the reflectors so characteristic of these types of ranges. Edge diffraction from the reflector has been studied and characterized by methods of geometrical optics, geometrical theory of diffraction, physical optics and physical theory of diffraction. Treatment of edge diffraction effects on the reflector have included serrations, rolled edges, and absorbing materials. The primary goal is to obtain as perfect a plane wave as possible in the enclosed chamber with reduction of edge diffraction from the reflector.
Design of blended rolled edge for compact range reflectors
The compact range reflector used these days for RCS and antenna measurements have rolled edges  to reduce the stray fields diffracted from the rim of the parabolic section. For optimum performance (small edge diffracted fields), blended rolled edges  are used. A blended rolled edge ensures that the radius of curvature of the surface is continuous at the junction between the paraboloid and the rolled edge. By selecting an appropriate blending function, one can make the first and higher derivatives of the radius of curvature continuous at the junction  which in turn results in a weaker diffracted field. However, the resulting reflector may be too large to be practical. Also, the minimum radius of curvature of the reflector surface in the lit region may become less than one fourth of the wavelength at the lowest operating frequency, which is not desirable. Thus, the choice of blending function and rolled edge parameters is quite important in the design of compact range reflector antennas. In this paper, a procedure to design blended rolled edges for such applications is discussed. The design procedure leads to a rolled edge that minimizes the edge diffracted fields while satisfying certain constraints regarding the reflector size and minimum operating frequency of the system. Some design examples are included.
The Effects of an offset fed parabolic reflector on polarization
The offset fed parabola is one type of reflector used in compact radar ranges. Cross-polarization problems have been noted when a parabola is used in near field applications. A good understanding of the near field cross-polarization effects was needed to evaluate this type of reflector for a compact range. We found that the polarization vector was rotated differently at each location in the "quiet zone." The polarization vector rotation is due to the parabolic curvature. In addition, a mathematical model was derived that compares well with the data. A theoretical study of how the RCS measurements of a wing are affected is presented.
Optimized collimators-theoretical performance limits
Over the last five years a considerable attention has been paid to further developments of Compact Antenna Test Ranges for both antenna and RCS measurements. For many applications, these devices proved to be more attractive than outdoor ranges or near-field/far-field transformation techniques. On the other hand, accurate operation at very low or very high frequencies can cause considerable difficulties. It is the aim of this paper to describe the theoretical limitation of collimating devices, in particular for low frequencies. For this purpose, an idealized collimator will be defined. Using the spectral components analysis a comparison of achievable accuracy will be made between collimators and outdoor ranges. Theoretical limits in the accuracy for RCS measurements will be computed for all applicable frequencies. Finally, a comparison will be made between the experiments on a dual-reflector Compact Antenna Test Range and theoretically achievable limits. Representative targets, like cylinders and rectangular plates have been used for experimental investigation. These data will also be presented.
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.
Performance of gated CW RCS and antenna measurement
Conventional receivers for pulsed radar systems employ a wideband final filter that is matched to the pulse width and risetime. However for pulsed RCS measurements on small test ranges, instrumentation receivers with narrow IF bandwidth have proven useful. This paper analytically examines the differences between narrowband and matched filter instrumentation receivers and describes typical conditions under which gated CW measurements are made. Useful relationships between PRF and IF bandwidth are derived.
ISAR image quality analysis
In practical ISAR applications the quality of the image obtained depends upon the distortions in the wavefront illuminating the target, effects introduced by the radar-target path, the accuracy of the angle and frequency steps used in obtaining the data, vibration, and multiple reflections from neighboring objects. Results of analysis, simulation and data obtained in an RCS compact range are presented to quantify the relationships of the image degradation introduced by these effects.
Interpretation of two-dimensional RCS images
The objectives of RCS imaging are to spatially isolate and quantitatively measure the strength of scattering mechanisms on complex objects. Although some isolation can be provided directly by using radars with high spatial resolution, most current RCS systems achieve the required resolution by synthesizing the image from measurements of the object response to variations in frequency and rotation angle.
Modern dynamic RCS and imaging systems
This paper presents a conceptual overview of the instrumentation system and signal processing involved in dynamic RCS and Imaging measurement systems.
Electromagnetic and structural considerations in target support design
This paper will address low RCS target mounting systems. Structural and electromagnetic aspects will be considered. The 4:1 vs the 7:1 ratio ogival shell pylons will be evaluated with consideration given to structural integrity, electromagnetic scattering, and positioner size. Measured and analytic data will be used in these evaluations.
Transfer efficiency of the compact range
Over the years formulations have been developed which provide an implicit measure of transfer efficiency of the compact range. Reasonable accuracy has been demonstrated for both antenna and RCS measurement applications. In general, however, these formulations require specific design details pertaining to the collimating reflector. In this note a more general formulation is examined in which efficiency is explicitly expressed in terms familiar to antenna engineers and which do not directly involve reflector parameters. Applications of this formulation are presented.
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.
Extended bandwidth ISAR imaging using the HP 8510
To construct an image of a complex target, increasingly smaller range cells are desired. To decrease range cell size and improve resolution the bandwidth must be increased. The bandwidth of RCS measurements utilizing an HP8510 based collection system is limited to a maximum of 801 frequency points. This paper will present a technique to extend the bandwidth by using off-line processing to overcome this hardware limitation. Fully focused ISAR images formed at millimeter wave frequencies, with the addition of eternal mixers, will be demonstrated. Bandwidths of 5, 10, and 14 GHz, measured from 7-17 GHz and 26-40 GHz will be shown. The comparison of these focused images, with 3.2 cm, 1.6 cm, and 1.1 cm resolution will illustrate a powerful engineering tool to analyze closely spaced scatterers.
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.
Sampling rules for near-field scanners
We have reviewed the sampling-interval requirement associated with the algorithmic problem of extrapolating near-field radiation measurements to the far zone and concluded that the far-zone sampling rule (d?=?/D) works as well in the Fresnel portion of the near zone. In addition, we find that the angular window, W, over which the Fresnel-zone field must be measured is approximately W - 2D/R radians in width, where D is the nominal diameter of the antenna and R the range at which the near-field data are taken. This guideline is valid when one uses an integral extrapolation scheme, as opposed to a modal one, since the paraxial approximation gives some assurance that field contributions from points outside the sampling window will contribute negligibly to the far-zone amplitude. We have also looked at the sampling requirements associated with extrapolating near-field RCS measurements to the far zone and concluded that windowing techniques can reduce the magnitude of the bistatic scanning task dramatically.
Improving the performance of anechoic absorbers
This paper presents a simple and straightforward technique which significantly improves the performance of some anechoic absorbing materials. The method is easily applied to existing absorbers and chambers and does not change the basic design of the material. The technique involves the proper placement of additional absorbing materials between the shaped structures of the absorber to reduce major scattering contributions. These scattering mechanisms are demonstrated in the paper with measured evaluation data for various absorber types and sizes. The effectiveness of the technique has been best realized for pyramidal shaped absorbers 24 inches and longer and for normal plane-wave incidence. Improvements in the absorber's reflectivity of up to 30 dB have been demonstrated. An example illustrating the method for the reduction of the backwall RCS level of a compact-range chamber is presented.
A High performance RF absorber material optimized for millimeter frequencies
A free-space RF absorber material (RAM) has been developed and optimized for frequencies above 30 GHz. It is particularly suited for use on equipment and fixtures for RCS, antenna, radiometric, and quasi-optical testing. The material has unique geometry which yields enhanced RF performance when compared with conventional wedge or pyramidal absorbers. Mechanically, the material is elastic, resists damage from flexing or repeated contact and is non-flammable and non-toxic. It offers advantages in size, durability, and mechanical uniformity over previously available products. Data describing RF and mechanical performance are presented.
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.
A Distributed network/workstation approach to RCS measurements
Recent advances in RCS measurement techniques, microwave hardware receiver technology and computer capability have drastically altered the price and performance considerations of turn key RCS measurement systems. Access to 'real time' data and processing improvements are a few of the issues addressed in lower cost and compute intensive configurations available in today's marketplace. This paper explores a systems approach to the wide variety of components configurable for 'state-of-the-art' RCS measurements. High performance, flexibility and productivity are emphasized.
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