Enabling Extremely High Dynamic Range Measurements using a Simple Correlator

Authors: Brett T. Walkenhorst
Publication: AMTA 2016
Copyright Owner: NSI-MI Technologies

In order to achieve high accuracy in measuring sidelobes and/or nulls in antenna patterns, it is necessary to use a test system with very high dynamic range. This is particularly important when the antenna has extremely high gain such as those used for certain satellite communications or radio astronomy applications or when transmit power is limited relative to range loss as is often the case in millimeter wave applications. For several years, commercially available antenna measurement receivers have offered a dynamic range as high as 135dB for such applications. This dynamic range has been made possible, in part, by a simple correlator in the receiver’s DSP chain. In this paper, we model the various sources of error in a test signal due to imperfections and uncertainties of the test equipment and the physical environment and analyze these models as they propagate through the receive chain. The results of that analysis demonstrate the correlator’s ability to reduce carrier frequency offset (CFO) and local oscillator (LO) phase noise to offer the fidelity of test signal necessary to achieve extremely high dynamic ranges of up to 135dB.

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