An Expanded Approach to Spherical Near-Field Uncertainty Analysis

Author: Doren W. Hess

We at MI Technologies have employed the Hansen error analysis developed at the Technical University of Denmark (TUD), as a starting point for new system layouts. Here I expand it in two ways: the approach to mechanical errors, and the approach to system design.

I offer an alternative approach to the analysis of mechanical uncertainties. This alternative approach is based upon an earlier treatment of spherical coordinate positioning analysis for far-field ranges. The result is an appropriate extension of the TUD uncertainty analysis.

Also, the TUD error analysis restricts its attention to three categories of errors: mechanical inaccuracies and receiver inaccuracies and truncation effects. An error analysis for a spherical measurement system should desirably contain entries equivalent to the 18-term NIST table for planar near-field. In this paper, I offer such an extended tabulation for spherical measurements.


Applications for Coordinated Motion in Radome Testing

Authors: Scott McBride, Evan Langman, Marion Baggett

Traditional data collection strategy for antenna measurement is to perform a step and scan operation. This method moves a particular axis while holding all other source and AUT axes in a fixed location. Modern radome measurements require the coordinated motion of two or more axes due to the desired measurements, the radome testing geometries or a combination of both. An example would be transmission efficiency testing of a radome associated with a tracking antenna. In this measurement scenario, the antenna azimuth and elevation axes must maintain an orientation along the range axis while the radome is moved in front of the antenna. The axis coordination could be linear or non-linear in nature.

This paper describes the concept of coordinated motion and the needs for coordinated motion in radome measurements that have been identified. Additional potential applications for coordinated motion in radome measurements are described. Two methods of coordinated motion that have been implemented in instrumentation are described. They are geared motion, which is a linear master/slave relationship between two axes and generalized coordinated motion where the relationship of axes motion is described via linear or non-linear equations.


Compact Range Phase Taper Effects Due to Phase Center Shift in Wide-Band Quad-Ridge Feeds

Authors: Jeffrey A. Fordham, and Todd Park

Wide frequency bandwidth feeds are used in compact ranges when multi-octave bandwidth operation of the range is desired. Dual-ridge or quad-ridge horns have been widely used in RCS applications as well as in antenna measurement applications to achieve wide band operation. This selection is made to take advantage of the lower cost of quad-ridge horns vs. other options.

In designing a compact range, one primary concern is the beamwidth of the feed over the operating band. This affects the amplitude taper across the quiet zone of the range. Another primary concern is the movement of the phase center vs. frequency of the feed. This directly affects the phase taper across the quiet zone as a result of de-focusing of the reflector.

Here we present measured data of the beamwidth and phase center movement vs. frequency of a wide-band quad-ridge feed designed to operate from 2.0-18.0 GHz. Measured and predicted quiet zone performance data over this bandwidth are presented with the feed installed in a Model 5751 compact antenna test range having a 4-foot quiet zone.


Correcting Dual Port Probes Port-To-Port Calibration Using Near-Field Measurements

Authors: Allen C. Newell, Jeff Way

When a dual port probe is used for near-field measurements, the amplitude and phase difference between the two ports must be measured and applied to the probe correction files so that the measurements and calculations will have the same reference. For dual port linear probes, the measurement of this “Port-to-Port” ratio is usually accomplished during the gain or pattern measurements by using a rotating linear source antenna.

When a dual port linear probe is used to measure a circularly polarized antenna, the uncertainty in this Port-to-Port ratio can have a significant effect on the determination of the cross polarized pattern. Uncertainties of tenths of a dB in amplitude or 1-3 degrees phase can cause changes in the cross polarized pattern of 5-10 dB.2 3 The paper will present a method for measuring the Port-to-Port ratio on the near-field range using a circularly polarized antenna as the AUT (Antenna Under Test). The AUT does not need to be perfectly polarized nor do we need to know its correct polarization. The measurements consist of two separate near-field scans. In the first measurement the probe is in its normal position and in the second it is rotated about the Z-axis by 90 degrees. A script then calculates the Port-to-Port ratio by comparing the cross-polarization results from the two measurements. Uncertainties in the Port-to-Port ratio can be reduced to hundredths of a dB in amplitude and tenths of a degree in phase. Measurements were taken at TRW’s Large Horizontal Near-field Antenna Test Range.


How to Choose an Antenna Range Configuration

Author: Donnie Gray

Choosing the proper antenna range configuration is important in making accurate measurements and verifying antenna performance. This paper will describe the steps involved so the antenna engineer can select and specify the best antenna range configuration for a given antenna. It will describe the factors involved in choosing between near-field systems versus far-field systems, and the different scan types involved. It will explain the advantages of each type of antenna range and how the choices are affected by such factors as aperture size, frequency range, gain, beamwidth, polarization, field of view, sidelobe levels, and backlobe characterization desires. This paper will help the antenna engineer identify, understand, and evaluate the applicable characteristics and will help him in specifying the proper antenna range for testing the antenna.


Implementation of Back Projection on a Spherical Near-Field Range

Authors: Daniël Janse van Rensburg, Chris Walker

Back projection techniques have been used extensively in planar near-field ranges and to a lesser degree in spherical near-field ranges. Recently a back projection technique allowing back projection from spherical near-field data onto a planar surface has been published and implemented. This paper explores this technique further through the presentation of measured data for a large microstrip array antenna. The results demonstrate how the technique can be used to investigate anomalies in the feed structure of the array.


Methods to Estimate and Reduce Leakage Bias Errors in Planar Near-Field Antenna Measurements

Authors: Allen C. Newell, Jeff Guerrieri, Katie MacReynolds

This paper describes two methods that can be used to measure the leakage signals in quadrature detectors, predict the effect on the far-field pattern, and correct the measured data for leakage bias errors without additional near-field measurements. One method is an extension and addition to the work previously reported by Rousseau1. An alternative method will be discussed to determine the leakage signal by summing the near-field data at the edges of the scan rather than summing below a threshold level. Examples for both broad-beam horns and narrow-beam antennas will be used to illustrate the techniques.

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