Correcting Polarization Distortion in a Compact Range Feed

Authors: Brett T. Walkenhorst, David Tammen

A high quality antenna feed is an essential element of a compact antenna test range (CATR) in order to ensure the range can achieve the necessary stability in beam width, phase center and the necessary purity of polarization throughout the range’s quiet zone. In order to maintain the requisite quality, such feeds are typically 1) single-port and 2) cover a relatively limited band of frequencies. It is desirable to have a single dual ported, broadband feed that covers multiple waveguide bands to eliminate the need for a polarization positioner and avoid the difficulty associated with changing feeds for a single antenna measurement. Though some such feeds exist in the market, with such feeds, we often see a reduction in polarization purity across the band of interest relative to the more band limited feeds. Previous attempts to utilize dual-port probes and/or extend the bandwidth of the feed have resulted in degraded performance in terms of beam pattern and polarization purity. In an attempt to overcome some of the deficiencies above, the authors have applied polarization processing to dual-pol antennas to correct for the impurity in polarization of the antenna as a function of frequency. We present here a broadband CATR feed solution using a low-cost, dual-port sinuous feed structure combined with polarization processing to achieve low cross-pol coupling throughout the quiet zone. In the following paper, the feed structure, polarization theory, and processing algorithm are described. We also present co- and cross-pol coupling results before and after correcting for the polarization distortion using data collected in two CATRs in Atlanta, GA and Asia.

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