3:1 Bandwidth Dual-Polarized Compact Range Feeds for RCS Measurements

Authors: Jeffrey Fordham, Jacob Kunz, Edwin Barry
Publication: AMTA 2021
Copyright Owner: NSI-MI Technologies

A set of Dual-Polarized Antennas with a 3:1 operating bandwidth has been developed for use in near-field ranges as the probe or range antenna and for use as a Compact Antenna Test Range (CATR) feed. Key development parameters of the antenna are: a wideband impedance match to the coaxial feed line, E and H-plane 1 dB beam widths in excess of 30 degrees, -30 dB on axis cross-polarization, minimum polarization tilt and a phase center that varies over a small region near the aperture. To accomplish these design parameters, a family of range antennas has been developed and previously introduced. Two versions of the antenna have been manufactured and tested for performance. A 2-6 GHz version has been developed using traditional machining techniques and a 6-18 GHz version has been produced using additive manufacturing (3D printing) techniques.

These antennas provide proper illumination of the quiet zone for compact ranges used for antenna measurements as well as radar cross section (RCS) measurements. For RCS measurements, an additional requirement for time-based energy storage performance is considered. Energy storage in the feed can result in a pulse spreading or additional copies of the pulse in time, resulting in poor performances of the target characterization. This effect is called ‘ringdown’.

In this paper, we focus on the RCS ringdown performance of the 6-18 GHz antenna produced using additive manufacturing. The measured performance of the antenna will be presented and discussed. Finally, the applicability of the antenna as a CATR feed for RCS measurements will be discussed.

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