Distributed RF Systems for Antenna Measurements

Authors: Bert Schluper, David S. Fooshe

It is well known that modern, high-performance antenna range instrumentation requires fast sources and receivers. What is often overlooked is that the locations of the components making up the RF subsystem need to be considered as well. RF sources and receivers that are controlled over a LAN interface can easily be located remotely, where they are closer to the transmitting and receiving antennas. In addition to using remote mixers, other components such as amplifiers and multipliers can be mounted remotely, on a positioner or probe carriage. This allows using lower-frequency cables with lower loss, and dramatically increases the available power level at the transmitting antenna. Use of fiber optics is also becoming an option for transmission of RF signals in distributed RF systems. Automated configuration control can be achieved using remotely controlled switches.

This paper will present comparisons of distributed and more traditional geometries, including performance and cost benefits.

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