Identifying Pointing Errors for the NIST 18 Term Error Technique

Author: Zachary Newbold, Bruce Williams, Allen Newell

The NIST 18 Term Error Analysis Technique uses a combination of mathematical analysis, computer simulation and near-field measurements to estimate the uncertainty for near-field range results on a given antenna and frequency range. A subset of these error terms is considered for alignment accuracy of an antenna’s RF main beam. Of the 18 terms, several have no applicable influence on determining the beam pointing or the terms have a minor effect and when an RSS estimate is performed they are rendered inconsequential. The remainder become the dominant terms for identifying the alignment accuracy. There are six terms that can be evaluated to determine the main beam pointing uncertainty of an antenna with respect to dual band performance. Analysis of the near-field measurements is performed to identify the alignment uncertainty of the main beam with respect to a specified mechanical position as well as to the main beam of the second band.

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