Combining Pattern, Polarization and Channel Balance Correction Routines to Improve the Performance of Broad Band, Dual Polarized Probes

Authors: Patrick Pelland, Allen Newell

Broad band, dual polarized probes are becoming increasingly popular options for use in near-field antenna measurements. These probes allow one to reduce cost and setup time by replacing several narrowband probes like open-ended waveguides (OEWG) with a single device covering multiple waveguide bands. These probes are also ideal for production environments, where chamber throughput should be maximized. Unfortunately, these broadband probes have some disadvantages that must be quantified and corrected for in order to make them viable for high accuracy near-field measurements. Most of these broadband probes do not have low cross polarization levels across their full operating bandwidths and may also have undesirable artifacts in the main component of their patterns at some frequencies. Both of these factors will result in measurement errors when used as probes. Furthermore, the use of a dual port RF switch adds an additional level of uncertainty in the form of port-to-port channel balance errors that must be accounted for. This paper will describe procedures to calibrate the pattern and polarization properties of broad band, dual polarized probes with an emphasis on a newly developed polarization correction algorithm. A simple procedure to measure and correct for amplitude and phase imbalance entering the two ports of the near-field probe will also be presented. Measured results of the three calibration procedures (pattern, polarization, channel balance) will be presented for a dual polarized, broad band quad-ridged horn antenna. Once calibrated, this probe was used to measure a standard gain horn (SGH) and will be compared to baseline measurements acquired using a good polarization standard OEWG. Results with and without the various calibration algorithms will illustrate the advantage to using all three routines to yield high accuracy far-field pattern data.

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