A Low Cost Portable Near-Field Antenna Measurement System

Author: Dan Slater, Greg Hindman

Implementing an antenna test range has traditionally been viewed as a major and costly undertaking, requiring significant long term facility planning, computer hardware interfacing, and software development. This paper describes a complete low cost, yet high accuracy portable near-field measurement system that was privately built for less than $2,000 and interfaced to a PC compatible computer.

The design and operation of this system, including the scanner, microwave hardware, and computer system will be described. This system has since been extended into a commercial product capable of providing rapid and accurate measurements of small to medium size feeds and antennas within a small office or lab space at significantly lower cost than standard antenna test techniques. The system has demonstrated an equivalent sidelobe noise level of less than -50dB, includes a probe corrected far-field transform and holographic back projections, and can output pattern cuts, contour plots, 3D plots, and grey scale images of antenna performance.

 

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