Creating and supporting productive test and measurement environments, streamlining fully automated workstations and software for antenna, radome and radar cross section measurements, from setup to analysis and reports, Arena delivers fully automated antenna and microwave measurements.
The Arena Data Acquisition Software includes a custom designed user interface to create and support productive test and measurement processes to meet your unique requirements. Whether you collect data for research and development, analyze test and measurement data, take quick test patterns or perform repetitive tasks, MI-3000 delivers the right tools to meet your needs.
- Choose your Test and Measurement Environment
- Compatible Products to Work with Your Instrumentation
- Faster Acquisition, Analysis and Results
- Flexible Environments
- Custom Software Programming for Unique Applications
- Built to Work and to Last
From quick antenna scans for simple comparison to full data analysis, NSI-MI’s Arena Data Acquisition Software interface environments have the solution to meet your needs. Designed to streamline microwave measurement functions, the Arena environments offer flexibility, ease-of-use and straight-forward processes to get the job done.Quick Pattern
Quick Pattern environment lets you easily collect and plot data in a focused, straightforward manner. Easily define and store system setups for data collection and use these setups again and again. Quick Pattern also provides a convenient link from its plot feature for optional data analysis.Standard
When you need full test and measurement capability the Standard environment provides access to all the features of the MI-3000 at your fingertips. Seamlessly integrating collected data with a host of analysis functions and manipulation tools, the Standard environment provides the data and reports you need with the fewest ‘clicks’ start to finish.Tool Kit
The Tool Kit environment allows you to easily set up test and measurement processes for repeatability. Create a Tool Kit to perform any repetitive task by simply ‘dragging and dropping’ the processes into your setup mode, name it and with one ‘click,’ let it run.
User Project Management
Arena Data Acquisition Software organizes user information in “projects”. A project is a specific folder containing user configurations for data collection, plotting and analysis. All data collected under a project is also stored within the project. The user can create new projects as needed. Default configurations and templates are provided for any new project that is created. This is especially useful when a test range has several standard acquisitions or analyses that all projects should have available. Projects can easily be organized by specific AUT, class of antenna, by user, or by any other segmentation desired. The software operates on the “current” project and the user can switch between projects as desired.
The Plot function operates on data files to create plots by applying reusable plot definition files that contain settings for labels, titles, scales, colors, etc. Plot capabilities include:
- Rectangular, polar, contour, color fill and isometric plots
- Up to 4 plots can be displayed with a single plot definition. Plot types can be mixed and data can come from separate data files.
- A rectangular or polar plot can contain up to 16 traces from the same file or different files.
- Plots can be directed to the screen, printer or JPEG file as desired.
- Once a plot is displayed, the user can modify the basic plot presentation and save that configuration directly from the screen, allowing the user to quickly customize plots as desired.
- Plot tools such as rubber band zoom, markers, marker arithmetic, user annotations, and font size selections are provided.
- A batch plot mode is available that can produce a sequence of plots from a complex file where every plot can be a different scan, frequency, antenna state, or data channel combination.
- Analysis definitions can be tied to a plot definition so that every time a plot is produced, the data is analyzed and the results included on the plot.
- Export plot data to various plain text or MS Office formats.
The Report function produces summary reports of a data file. The user can select acquisition setup data only, measured data only or both in the report. Included in the Report function is a conversion utility that transforms MI-3000 data files in Microsoft® Access format into ASCII text or Microsoft® Excel format. A “thumbnail” viewer is also supplied that allows the user to select a data file name and see the basic frequency, data channel, and motion information in the file. An import utility for converting Microsoft® Excel files into MI-3000 data files is included.
The Sequencer function allows the user to execute Visual Basic script files that tie simpler Arena functions into complex operational sequences. For example, a simple script can prompt a range operator to perform manual operations, collect one or more data sets, manipulate data files, analyze data, and produce reports and plots of the results. For many complements of instruments, the script can also operate on the instruments during a data acquisition sequence. This function aids production or depot test environments by standardizing and simplifying repetitive steps.
Classified Frequency Support
For ranges that deal with classified frequencies that cannot be stored on disk, the Frequency Keeper function can be used. Acquisition definitions can be created with string names for frequencies instead of numerical values. When these acquisitions are executed, a memory resident utility activates and queries the operator for the actual frequencies desired. As long as the workstation is powered on, the utility will remember the frequencies. This feature insures that the frequency values are only kept in RAM and are not retained after the workstation is powered down. An alternative method is provided where frequencies are stored on disk, but all plots, analysis displays and printouts show only string names for frequencies. The Antenna Analysis consists of three major functions: Measured Data Correction, Data File Manipulation, and Antenna Pattern Analysis.
Antenna Pattern Analysis
The software provides analysis of frequently-used parameters in antenna measurements, such as:
- Polarization Analysis
- Pattern Analysis
- Monopulse Pattern Analysis
- Phase Center Analysis
- Boresight Analysis
- Low Gain Pattern Analysis
- Monopulse Error Curve
- Measured Data Comparison
- Front to Back Ratio Analysis
- Statistical Distributions
- Pass/Fail Reports
Plot and report formats may be customized to meet specific requirements. Utilities are also provided to support user-written analysis algorithms.
Data File Manipulation
Several utilities are provided that allow the combining and manipulation of files. They include:
- Merging data files with different frequency sets, receiver channels, raster step angles, etc.
- Merging additional scans into a data file from other data files
- Selecting a rectangular section of a raster scan file to create a new file
- Transpose the step and scan axes data in a data file
- Conjugate the phase of the data in a data file
- Interpolate, decimate or smooth a data file
- Compare files to produce a difference file
- Unwrap the phase in a scan
- Normalize the data file to an arbitrary level or the peak signal in the data
- Extract one parameter such as a receiver channel from a file containing multiple channels to create a new file
- Create synthetic files to act as templates for analyses and comparison to other files
- Polarization conversion
- Remote latency in multiple frequency acquisitions
Measured Data Correction
- Channel Imbalance Correction
- Thermal Drift Correction
- Receiver Non-Linearity Correction
- Insertion Loss (NF Only)
- Probe Position Correction (NF Only)
The Data Acquisition function provides the capability to assign specific instruments to a particular user project, manage data acquisition configurations, collect data and store it on disk. It uses various software instrument drivers to control the assigned instrumentation.
Instrument Assignment and Configuration
This function allows the user to select what instruments are in use and define static parameters for those units that do not change from acquisition to acquisition. Each user project can use a different complement of instruments or static configurations.
Acquisition Definition Manager
This function allows the user to create acquisition definitions that include settings for data channels, positioner motion, frequencies, and the type of confirmation plot shown during acquisition. Each project can contain multiple acquisition definition files.
This function collects and stores data according to an acquisition definition. It uses the current equipment configuration information and the acquisition definition to set up all instrumentation involved in the data collection. The Acquisition Manager creates and updates the real time confirmation plot shown during the acquisition. During acquisition, the user can change the data channel displayed and the scale of the confirmation plot. Rectangular, polar or color fill plot types are user selectable. The module stores the data on disk in the Arena data file format. Various data collection operations are supported:
- Data can be calibrated against an available standard gain horn data file as it is acquired
- Multi-frequency data at a single position
- Stepped or continuous scans and two-dimensional rasters of multi-frequency data
- Scans can be bi-directional or re-trace style
- A “Range Walk” acquisition for gated CW RCS configurations that maps the range in time. This acquisition is only available with instrumentation that includes a pulse generator.
- Where the position controller configuration allows, a continuous scan mode is available that continuously rotates the scan axis while the step axis is moved during a raster scan acquisition instead of halting the scan axis at the end of a scan to position the step axis. This can provide significant increases in range throughput.
- Through the use of Visual Basic scripts, data can be collected at an arbitrary list of positions or non-uniform step angles.
- Real time position data can be recorded, for scan and step axes if the hardware supports it.
- Up to six axes of motion can be managed in a single acquisition. One axis can be the scan axis; one the primary step axis and four axes can be placed at a single or incremented location.
- When the position controller configuration allows, one axis can be configured to rotate continuously. This is useful for spinning linear axial ratio measurements.
- The beam peak can be automatically extracted from a scan and saved for use in future measurement configurations.
- Data at a specific pointing angle can be collected prior to and after an acquisition. In addition, data at this pointing angle can be collected every n scans. This additional data can be used to take out thermal drift effects for long acquisition patterns.
- Data can be collected on a time basis at user selected increments. This data is treated as a single scan of data.
- A manual axis can be defined for axes that are not under computer control. These axes can be designated as scan or step axes during a measurement and the operator will be prompted to move the manual axis whenever movement of that axis is required during the measurement.
- 16 bits of digital control lines are available when an ELE-NAC or an ELE-AUX is included. This allows management of a beam steering computer or other switching during an acquisition. The digital control can be interlaced with multiple frequencies during a single scan in a looped pattern. The “beamfrequency” list mode allows a specific beam state to be associated with each frequency.