Improving Automation for Antenna Ranges
Author: David S. Fooshe
NSI has developed a novel technique for automating antenna range configurations. Although automation has shown to dramatically improve range productivity, most of today’s antenna ranges are reconfigured manually. Today’s automated ranges use electromechanical RF switches to control the RF signal path, which is contained primarily in a central rack, thereby limiting automation to ranges that are relatively small in size. Larger ranges, however, tend to locate many of the RF components such as mixers, couplers, amplifiers and multipliers remotely near the probe or AUT, sometimes 100 ft (30 m) or more from the rack, making the remote RF components more difficult to access and control. To address this problem, NSI has developed the Range Transition Manager (RTM) for automating large antenna ranges. The RTM uses modular packaging with a LAN interface and embedded processor to provide commonality and flexibility in automating various range sizes and types. The RTM family of modules provide a full range of automation capability for 0.5 to 18 GHz and higher frequencies.
This paper will describe the capabilities of the Range Transition Manager developed for a large near-field scanner and describe how the RTM improves overall range productivity.