How To Specify An RF System for Antenna Measurements

Authors: David S. Fooshe, Michael Schultz

Antenna measurement systems have unique requirements, which must be properly evaluated and understood in order for the antenna engineer to be successful in specifying an RF system that meets his needs. Antennas are characterized by specific operating and performance parameters that will determine the requirements for a measurement system. Aperture size, frequency range, bandwidth, side-lobe nulls, beamwidth, and polarization characteristics are a just few of the more important parameters. As with most engineering problems, system performance often requires a trade-off of equally important, but conflicting characteristics. Sensitivity and measurement time are well-known examples of this trade-off. Other examples include local vs remote mixers, receiver speed vs sensitivity, range size vs system dynamic range, and there are many others. The antenna engineer must be able to identify his most important system performance parameters in order to make compromises with confidence, since they are inevitably required. Once the system performance requirements have been determined, the antenna engineer can begin to select equipment, cables and components with the desired performance characteristics for his range.

This paper will describe the process for analyzing requirements, performing system trade-offs and specifying equipment and components for several antenna measurement system types.

 

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