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Antenna Pattern Measurement: Concepts and

Michael D. Foegelle
As high frequencies become more common, understanding
antenna pattern measurement and how to obtain useful
measurements becomes critical.
The first article of this two-part series explores the basic
concepts and techniques of antenna pattern measurement and
evaluates the benefits and drawbacks of various measurement
methods. The concepts relating to near-field and far-field pattern
testing are discussed as well. The second article (see page 34)
presents the theor and equations governing antenna properties
and includes a complete description of a site calibration for
pattern-measurement testing.
!ntenna pattern measurement refers to the determination of the
radiation pattern of an antenna under test (!"T). #t is the
measurement of the relative magnitude and phase of an
electromagnetic signal received from the !"T. !lthough highl directional antennas (i.e.$
horns) are often measured b scanning a plane perpendicular to the bore-sight axis of the
antenna (i.e.$ parallel to the face of the horn) at some distance$ this article focuses on total
spherical pattern measurements. ! subset of this is the simple polar planar cut$ in which
the pattern is determined for a single a%imuth rotation around the antenna.
&ecause a passive antenna is reciprocal$ the pattern information could be obtained b
using it as either the transmitter or receiver. This is in contrast to an active antenna
sstem$ in which transmit and receive behavior ma be considerabl different$ and thus
both relative pattern and absolute power information is required. #n addition to the
relative information that makes up the antenna pattern itself$ and the various pieces of
information that can be determined from it$ a variet of other results can be determined
from an active antenna sstem.
!lthough complex antenna-pattern measurement has been a common requirement in the
microwave antenna arena for man ears$ it has onl recentl become more common to
other areas such as electromagnetic compatibilit ('()) and wireless
telecommunication. *n the '() front$ the interest in pattern measurements appears to
stem from a range of sources. The first is that$ as '() standards are forced to move
higher in frequenc$ the effects of narrow-beam radiation from the equipment under test
('"T) and the corresponding interaction with the receive antenna become increasingl
significant. #t is important that the test antenna is able to see all signals radiating from the
'"T. #n addition$ broadband antennas designed for '() work are finding their wa into
other applications in which concern for antenna patterns has alwas been an issue.
Illustration by TAISA PA!T"#
+inall$ man engineers with microwave backgrounds now must deal with '() issues.
These engineers want more information than has traditionall been provided on these
+or the wireless industr$ base station antenna patterns have alwas been important in
ensuring coverage. "nderstanding the pattern of each cell tower is critical to determining
the required spacing between them. ,owever$ latel the industr has put considerable
emphasis on handset pattern measurement as well.
The )ellular Telecommunications and #nternet !ssociation ()T#!) has drafted a set of
test plans aimed at verifing the performance of cellular telephone handsets. *ne of the
)T#! plans provides tests for verifing radiated signal performance.
.reviousl$ cell phones were required to meet a peak-signal requirement$ but now the
are required to meet a total radiated power requirement. This requirement ensures that a
cell phone is transmitting energ in a broad pattern rather than in a narrow beam and$
therefore$ is less likel to lose contact with the cellular network.
The tests are also designed to characteri%e both transmitted and received power and
pattern$ as well as the minimum signal that the phone can properl detect. There are also
calculations designed to determine the effectiveness of the phone when the base station
antennas are located along the hori%on (the tpical configuration). The tests help to
ensure that not all of the radiated energ is directed up into space or down into the
/hereas cell phone manufacturers are often interested in the performance of the phone
b itself$ )T#! also requires testing with a liquid-filled phantom head or torso to simulate
the effect of human interaction with the phone.
#n addition to cell phones$ other products with growing wireless testing requirements
include wireless personal digital assistants$ which are tpicall covered under the cellular
requirements$ and home- and office-based wireless networks such as wireless local-area
networks and &luetooth devices.
Measurement Techniques
The basic pattern-measurement technique that most people are familiar with uses a
single-axis rotational pattern. This technique involves an !"T placed on a rotational
positioner and rotated about the a%imuth to generate a two-dimensional polar pattern.
This measurement is commonl done for the two principal axes of the antenna to
determine parameters such as antenna beam width in both the ' and , planes. 0uch data
are tpicall onl measured for the copolar field component for simple horns or dipoles
for which the general polari%ation of the pattern is well known.
+or more-complicated radiators$ for which the polari%ation ma not be known$ or ma
var as a function of angle$ it is important to be able to measure two orthonormal (i.e.$
perpendicular) field components. This measurement is usuall accomplished b using a
dual-polari%ed horn$ log-periodic dipole arra$ or dipole antenna as the measurement
antenna ((!). !lthough it provides the best result$ this technique requires two receivers
or the abilit to automaticall switch the polari%ation of a single receiver$ which can
increase the cost of the test. ! slower$ and possibl less accurate$ option is to repeat an
identical pattern test for each (! polari%ation. This option could result in time variations
and alignment issues that could have significant effects.
+igure - shows a tpical polar-pattern test setup. The !"T (a cell phone in this case) is
placed on a rotating turntable$ and a dual-polari%ed antenna is placed level with the !"T
a fixed distance awa. The turntable is rotated 3123$ and the response between the
antennas is measured as a function of angle. 4ormall$ these measurements are
performed in a full anechoic (simulated free-space) environment$ but sometimes it ma
be desirable to measure the pattern over conducting ground$ or in some other as-used
geometr to get real-world pattern information. +igure 5 shows some polar patterns for
tpical antenna tpes and polari%ations.
Figure $. Test setup %or single&a'is
polar pattern measurement.
Figure (. Copolari)ed polar patterns %or a *ertically polari)ed dipole+
hori)ontally polari)ed dipole+ and standard&gain horn.
To generate a full spherical-pattern measurement$ it is necessar to change the
relationship between the !"T and the (! and repeat the previous polar test for each new
orientation. The changes in orientation must be perpendicular to the plane of
measurement to completel cover a spherical surface. #n simpler terms$ the second axis of
rotation must be perpendicular to and intersect the first axis of rotation.
The two axes correspond to the and angles of the spherical coordinate sstem and are
tpicall referred to as elevation and azimuth, respectivel. 6ust as in the spherical
coordinate sstem$ onl one axis needs to be rotated through 3123$ whereas the other is
rotated onl through -723. /ith the proper processing of the resulting data$ it reall does
not matter which axis is which. 'ither antenna can be rotated around this second axis to
generate the same pattern$ but each technique has both advantages and disadvantages.
Conical&Section Method
The conical-section method uses an elevated turntable to support the !"T and rotates the
(! around the !"T on an axis perpendicular to the vertical rotational axis of the
turntable (see +igure 3). This method fits the geometric picture that most people have for
spherical coordinate sstems$ and$ therefore$ it is often the method used for pattern
measurements. The turntable continues to provide the a%imuth () rotation$ whereas the
(! is raised (elevated) or lowered in an arc around the !"T$ and$ thus$ the term
elevation axis.
Figure ,. Illustration o% the
conical&section method %or
spherical antenna&pattern
! common misconception when visuali%ing this technique is to consider moving the (!
in a -723 arc across the top of the !"T. ,owever$ a quick look at +igure 3 shows that this
would 8ust duplicate the measurement across the top half of the !"T and never measure
the bottom half of the pattern. The data points at ( 9 23$ 9 :x3) and ( 9 -723$ 9 ;
x3)$ where 9 23 directl above the antenna$ are the same.
This method results in the (! describing circles of varing diameter$ and thus the
reference to conical sections. The circles ma be thought of as latitude lines on a globe$
from the north (:z) to south (;z) poles$ with the largest circle located at the equator. *nl
the one circle where the (! is at the same height as the !"T (i.e.$ the equator) results in
a true polar pattern measurement.
!lthough the conical-section method is conceptuall simple$ it has a number of
drawbacks. ! large pivot arm or arch support is required to manipulate the (!. +or long
range lengths$ this requirement can be a difficult proposition. 0imilarl$ if this test is to be
performed in a full anechoic chamber$ the chamber must be much larger than would
normall be necessar to support the required range length because the floor and ceiling
must be the same distance awa as the rear wall behind the (!. This can dramaticall
increase the cost of antenna measurement.
To perform a full surface measurement$ the turntable must also be cantilevered out from a
wall or other support to allow the (! to be moved under the turntable. *therwise$ there
will be a dead %one where the antenna is blocked b the supporting structure. #n an case$
the turntable itself can significantl affect the pattern measured if it is too massive or
made of the wrong materials.
-reat&Circle Method
+or the great-circle method$ the (! is fixed and the !"T is repositioned on the turntable
to generate each polar cut. &ecause the (! is fixed$ pointing perpendicular to the
rotation axis in this case$ ever cut is a true polar pattern. Therefore$ each rotation of the
turntable provides the greatest diameter circle possible.
To compare the two methods$ the !"T must be laid on its side with respect to the setup
for the conical-section method to represent the associated shift in coordinate sstems (see
+igure 4).
Figure .. -reat&circle
con%iguration o% antenna under
& rotating the !"T about the hori%ontal axis between each great-circle cut$ the entire
spherical surface can be covered (see +igure <). 'ach polar cut passes through the others
at the hori%ontal axis of rotation$ and the intersection points at the hori%ontal axis are
equivalent to the top and bottom (! positions in the conical-section method. This is wh
the !"T was laid on its side$ to support the change in coordinates.
Figure /. Illustration o% the great&
circle method %or spherical
antenna&pattern measurement.
The bac0 sides o% the polar cuts
ha*e been remo*ed %or clarity.
+or the great-circle method$ the circles can be thought of as longitude lines$ running from
the north (:z) to the south (;z) pole and back around the other side. !s before$ it is onl
necessar to rotate the !"T (instead of the (!) through -723 to cover the entire sphere
because the great circles cover the front and back of the sphere simultaneousl.
/ith the shift in coordinate sstems$ the turntable is now an elevation positioner rather
than an a%imuth positioner because it changes the (! position from pole to pole rather
than along latitudinal lines parallel to the equator. The hori%ontal rotation axis of the !"T
now provides the a%imuth positioning.
The great-circle method has the advantage of being relativel eas to perform with a low-
cost sstem b rotating the !"T manuall about the hori%ontal axis$ but$ as with most
such endeavors$ it can be extremel tedious without additional automation. The method
has an added benefit. The path between the !"T and (! is never obscured b the
support structure$ although care must be taken to ensure that the existing support structure
does not have reflective properties that could alter the antenna pattern$ especiall if
additional material is required to support the !"T in different orientations.
+inall$ because the (! is fixed$ the chamber onl needs to support the required range
length in one dimension. This opens the possibilit of using tapered chambers and the
like to obtain high performance and long range lengths affordabl.
Comparison o% Methods
!lthough each method has advantages and disadvantages$ it is important to verif that
the are both capable of producing the same results. +igure 1 shows both conical section
(a) and great circle (b) results with the same step si%e between measurement points and in
which the coordinate sstems have been aligned. *verlaing the two plots (see +igure 1c)
shows that the actual measured data points are identical$ regardless of the method used.
Therefore$ given 8ust the resulting data points (see +igure 1d)$ it is not possible to
determine which method was used to generate them.
Figure 1. Comparison o% measurement points bet2een 31a4 conical&
section method and 31b4 great&circle method. 31c4 sho2s the t2o
results o*erlaid+ and 31d4 indicates that it is impossible to tell 2hich
method 2as used gi*en only the resulting data points.
T2o&A'is Positioners
& adopting the great-circle method and manipulating the !"T in two axes$ it is possible
to automate the test such that data can be acquired according to the measurement
sequence of either method. +igure = shows a simple two-axis positioner that can automate
the rotation of the !"T on both axes. & rotating the turntable (elevation) 3123 and
stepping the hori%ontal axis (a%imuth) of the !"T between each turntable rotation$ the
great-circle method (see +igure 7a) can be duplicated. !lternativel$ b rotating the
hori%ontal axis (a%imuth) of the !"T 3123 and stepping the turntable (elevation)$ the
conical-section method (see +igure 7b) can be duplicated.
Figure 5. 6'ample o% a t2o&a'is
positioner setup %or pattern&
measurement testing.
Figure 7. 3a4 -reat&circle method and 3b4 conical&section method
per%ormed using the same t2o&a'is positioner.
The two-axis positioner does suffer from one of the limitations mentioned for the conical-
section method. That is$ for some portion of the pattern (the south pole in +igures = and
7)$ the support structure is between the !"T and the (!. This effect can be minimi%ed
b matching the support structure to the load being rotated$ thereb reducing the amount
of interposing material to a minimum. )ontrolling the orientation of the !"T with
respect to the support can also improve results. & making sure that the support is in a
null or back-lobe$ its effects on pattern-related measurements can be minimi%ed.
Three&Dimensional Patterns
4o matter which method is used to acquire the data$ the analsis of the result is made
easier b the use of a three-dimensional spherical plot to graph the output. +igure > gives
an example of a dipole pattern (a) and a standard-gain horn pattern (b) plotted in three
dimensions. This tpe of graphing capabilit allows the pattern to be rotated around for
different views to help get an idea of the relative magnitude of the signal in various
Figure 8. Three&dimensional spherical plot o% 3a4 simple dipole and 3b4
standard&gain horn. #ote the e'pected toroidal 3donut4 shape o% the
dipole pattern and the strong directionality and sidelobes o% the
standard&gain horn.
#ear&Field *ersus Far&Field Measurements
?egardless of how the data are acquired$ one of the available sstem variables is the
range length. "suall$ when one refers to the properties of an antenna$ be it antenna
pattern$ gain$ or another propert$ the reference is to the far-field$ free-space properties of
the antenna. #n the far-field$ free-space condition$ the measured properties of the antenna
do not appear to var as a function of separation distance or antenna location. That is not
to sa that the measured field levels themselves do not var$ but that the measured gain or
pattern does not var. To state it simpl$ the far-field$ free-space condition is the condition
in which all of the theoretical equations tpicall used for calculating antenna properties
are valid.
#n a near-field or non-free-space environment$ the antenna properties that are measured
appear to var as a function of their environment. 'ffects such as mutual coupling
between the !"T and the measurement antenna or the antennas and other ob8ects around
them$ as well as other near-field perturbations$ prevent the direct determination of the
desired antenna properties. 'ven assuming a good free-space environment (i.e.$ a full
anechoic chamber)$ there are still limitations to near-field testing.
(ost readers will be familiar with at least one rule of thumb for near- versus far-field
determinations. #n realit$ there are two ver different definitions. The first$ which is
usuall more important at low frequencies$ is represented b the near-field term(s) of the
electric and@or magnetic field equations. These are the terms that behave as -@r
$ where n
A -. These terms represent the nonpropagating or evanescent electric and magnetic fields
Bthose caused b capacitivel or inductivel stored energ in the antenna. Therefore$
this region is referred to as the reactive region of the antenna.
The reactive fields deca rapidl with distance from the antenna$ leaving onl the
which has a -@r behavior. #n this case$ the far-field condition is satisfied b @r CC -$ that
is$ where the measurement distance r is much greater than wavelength . The reactive
region is commonl defined as
where D is the largest dimension of the radiating ob8ect. +or practical applications$ a
simple rule of thumb suitable for most antennas is given b r C 5. /ithin this region$
an measurement antenna or probe would have a significant effect on the transmit
The second far-field requirement$ which is more familiar to microwave engineers$ is
usuall the dominant factor at higher frequencies. #n this case$ the ob8ects involved
(either the actual antennas or larger devices containing small antennas) are large
compared with the wavelength.
The effects of scattering from different points on the ob8ect$ or from different emissions
points in the case of an antenna arra or a leak shielded enclosure with multiple
openings$ result in wave fronts propagating in multiple directions. The far-field condition
is met when all of these different wave fronts merge to form one wave frontD that is$ when
the multiple sources are indistinguishable from a single source (when separation distance
r A 5D
Therefore$ the bigger the ob8ect or the shorter the wavelength$ the farther awa the
receive antenna has to be for that ob8ect to appear as a single source. The region inside
the 5D
@ distance$ but outside the reactive near-field region$ is referred to as the
radiating near-field or Fresnel region, whereas the region outside this distance is the far-
field or Fraunhofer region.
#n terms of antenna-pattern measurements$ normall there is little useful information to
be gained within the reactive region of an antenna. The one possible exception would be
when the antenna is to be used in the reactive region as well. ,owever$ it would not be
possible to eliminate the effect of the measurement antenna on the !"T$ and therefore the
usefulness of such data would be limited. The +resnel region contains propagating
electromagnetic energ$ but not in a cohesive form. Therefore$ pattern measurements
done in this region can readil determine quantities such as total radiated power but ma
onl provide an approximation of the far-field pattern$ gain$ and other properties.
Con*erting %rom #ear Field to Far Field
! common practice in microwave antenna measurements$ and something of a ,ol Erail
for '() measurements$ is the use of near-field measurements to predict far-field results.
#n the +resnel region$ it is possible to scan the magnitude and phase of the field along a
closed surface (or$ in the case of planar near-field scanning$ an open surface intersecting
the vast ma8orit of the propagating energ) and predict the far-field levels. !cquiring the
relative phase and magnitude at each point on the surface requires the use of a reference
signal in addition to the measurement antenna signal. The fixed reference is needed to
track the relative phase of the signal in time because each point in space is not sampled at
the same instant in time.
+or passive antennas$ a vector network anal%er is normall used$ which acquires both
magnitude and phase information against its own reference signal. !ctive devices are
more complicated$ requiring the use of a fixed reference antenna or sensor in addition to
the measurement antenna to obtain both phase and magnitude references (because an
active device ma not maintain a constant magnitude or phase relationship). #n either
case$ the calculations required to do the conversion are beond the scope of this article.
+or '() testing$ the conversion of radiated-emissions measurements from near field to
far field is made much more difficult b the nature of the electromagnetic signature of the
device under test and the frequenc range required for '() testing. '() emissions are
far from being continuous wave$ often consisting of harmonics$ broadband noise$ and
spurious signals. *btaining the same radiation signature at each point of a near-field scan
is ver unlikel.
To further complicate matters$ low-frequenc '() measurements are often performed in
the reactive region of both the '"T and the receive antenna. !lthough near-field reactive
terms can be easil determined for simple dipole elements$ such predictions for more-
complicated antennas or emitters are extremel difficult. The amount of data and
processing required to correctl separate the effects of the '"T from the receive antenna
and the rest of the environment to trul predict a far-field result is far beond the current
state of the art.
The need for antenna-pattern information is increasing as the '() communit moves to
higher frequencies and more-advanced techniques$ and as wireless devices continue to
pervade our everda radio-frequenc (?+) environment. The techniques for complex-
pattern measurement are rather straightforward$ but there are some pitfalls. "seful pattern
information can be obtained using either the radiating near-field or far-field$ but not the
reactive$ region of the !"T. The conversion of near-field pattern information to far-field
results is possible$ but it requires speciali%ed software and measurement capabilities.
-. F(ethod of (easurement for ?adiated ?+ .ower and ?eceiver .erformance$ Graft
?evision -.5F (/ashington$ G)H )T#!$ 522-).
5. )! &alanis$ Antenna Theor, Analsis and Design (4ew IorkH ,arper J ?ow$ ->75)$
!ichael D. Foegelle, "hD, is senior principal design engineer at #T$-%indgren &'edar
"ar(, T)*. +e can be reached at ,-.-,/--0111 or michael.foegelle2emctest.com.
Back to 2002 Annual Reference Guide Table of Contents
Antenna Pattern Measurement: Theory
and 6quations
Michael D. Foegelle
The second installment on antenna pattern measurement
describes the calculations involved in determining properties
such as T3", #43", directivit, and efficienc.
This is the second article in a two-part series on antenna pattern
measurement. This installment presents the theor and equations
governing a variet of antenna properties and includes a
complete description of a site calibration for pattern-
measurement testing.
9ange Calibration
/ith a two-axis positioner setup$ it is quite straightforward to perform general pattern
measurements and determine a variet of relative data such as 3-d& beam width$ front-to-
back ratio$ and directivit. ,owever$ before accurate measurements of values such as
total radiated power (T?.)$ effective isotropic radiated power ('#?.)$ or antenna gain
can be made$ it is necessar to perform a reference calibration to correct for the various
factors affecting these tests. The factors include components such as range-length loss$
gain of the receive antenna$ cable losses$ and so forth.
4ormall$ this calibration is done using a reference antenna (tpicall either a dipole or
standard-gain horn) with known gain characteristics. The reference antenna is mounted at
the center of the positioner as the antenna under test (!"T) and ad8usted to be at bore-
sight level with the receive antenna. The reference calibration is repeated for each
polari%ation of the receive antenna$ with the reference antenna polari%ed parallel to the
corresponding receive element. +igure - shows a tpical range-calibration setup and calls
out various components that are included in the measurement.
Tpicall$ a signal generator or the output of a network anal%er is connected to the
reference antenna b one or more cables$ possibl through a power amplifier. The receive
antenna is connected to a receiver or the input of a network anal%er through one or more
additional cables$ possibl through a preamplifier.
The power at the transmit antenna input port$ "t$ is given in terms of the signal generator
output$ "0E$ b
Illustration by TAISA PA!T"#
where ga is the gain of the amplifier$ and cl- and cl5 are the cable losses of the
corresponding transmit cables.
The power at the receiver$ "?K$ is given in terms of the power at the receive antenna
output port$ "r$ b
where gpa is the gain of the preamplifier$ and cl3 and cl4 are the cable losses of the
corresponding receive cables.
#f an of the components are missing$ the corresponding gain or loss for that variable in
the equation should be -. #n terms of decibels$ these formulas become
9 "
: g
; cl
; cl
9 "
: g
; cl
; cl
$ 3.4
and the gain or loss of missing components would be 2 d&.
The +riis transmission equation governs the interaction between two antennas in the far
where "r is the power measured at the receive antenna output portD "t is the power
measured at the transmit antenna input portD 5t is the gain of the transmit antennaD 5r is
the gain of the receive antennaD is the wavelengthD and r is the separation between the
two antennas (the range length).
-$ 5
The exact definition of "t is often a source of some confusion and is somewhat dependent
on what terms are included in the definition of gain. #f the antenna is perfectl matched to
the source cable$ then all power applied to the antenna is radiated (or absorbed b losses
in the antenna). ,owever$ in the more common case of a mismatch between the source
impedance and the antenna impedance$ a portion of the energ is reflected back to the
source so that the net power transmitted is the difference between the applied forward
incident power and the power reflected back to the sourceH
9 "
; "
. 314
#f a theoretical gain value is used in the +riis equation$ then "net should be used for "t
because the theoretical formula tpicall would not be able to account for the voltage
standing wave ratio (L0/?) caused b the impedance mismatch. This requires either
using a bidirectional coupler and power meter configuration at the transmit antenna to
determine "net directl$ or measuring the L0/? of the antenna and performing additional
calculations to predict the net power from the forward power.
#f measured gain values are used$ it is important to know how those gain values were
determined and whether the alread contain a contribution from the L0/?. &ecause
an calibration technique is inherentl governed b this same formula$ the resulting gain
will be different depending on whether L0/? effects have been accounted for
separatel. #f not$ the gain will be changed simpl b the ratio of net power to forward
!n impedance mismatch is 8ust as likel to happen with the receive antenna$ leading to
similar measurement issues$ but it would not be as eas to observe directl because$ in
this case$ the reflected energ would be reradiated. There is no good wa to measure the
forward and reflected received energ. ,owever$ the L0/? of the receive antenna can be
used to determine this effect. +ortunatel$ the gain of the receive antenna does not need to
be known exactl (other than to double-check the calibration result against theoretical
predictions) because it will be measured as part of the range calibration process.
!s indicated in +igure -$ other factors are tpicall involved in the measurement$ unless
power meters and directional couplers are used right at the antennas to measure the net
transmitted and received power. These factors include cable losses and the gain of an
power amplifiers or preamplifiers.
Figure $. Some typical components o% a range&calibration setup.
To minimi%e the uncertaint of resulting measurements$ it is usuall desirable to perform
the range calibration with all cables in place and use the same configuration for both
calibration and pattern measurements. 0hould an component be changed or damaged$
the entire calibration must be redone. #t is possible to perform individual calibrations on
various sstem components$ but each additional measurement increases the total
measurement uncertaint involved. Therefore$ it is preferable to calibrate the sstem as a
whole whenever possible.
To determine exactl how to appl the range calibration$ it is important to make a
comparison between the desired measurement quantities and what will actuall be
measured b the test sstem. The primar quantit of interest is the T?.$ which can be
obtained b integrating the time-averaged power densit of the radiated signal across the
entire spherical surface enclosing the !"T.
The time-averaged power densit of a radiating signal is given b the real part of the
.onting vectorH
where is the time-averaged power densit$ # is the peak electric field strength$ + is the
peak magnetic field strength$ #rms is the root-mean-square (rms) electric field strength$
and is the impedance of free space (-52).
3$ 4
The factor of -@5 in the definition of the power densit originates from the time averaging
of the power across a complete period. !lthough most reference materials and numerical
analsis tools refer to wave magnitudes b their peak values$
most measurement instrumentation reports rms values$
Therefore$ when determining the power densit from the rms electric field$ the factor of
-@5 has alread been accounted for. The difference between rms and peak field values can
result in an immediate 3-d& error in reported measurement results if it is not treated
The T?. is given b integrating the power densit across the surface of the reference
where T3" is the total radiated power$ is the time-averaged power densit$ r is the
radius of the sphere (the range length)$ is the elevation angle$ and is the a%imuth
The electric field generated at a point in the far field as a function of the transmitted
power is given b
where # is the electric field generated at the distance r from the transmit antenna$ "t is the
power measured at the transmit antenna input port$ 5t ($ ) is the angle-dependent gain
of the transmit antenna$ and r is the distance from the transmit antenna to the test point
(the range length).
)ombining the equation for the power densit with that of the electric field gives
)ombining this result with the equation for T?. gives
9ecei*ed Po2er
"nfortunatel$ the receiver used to perform the test cannot measure power densit
directlD instead$ it measures received power (again$ neglecting cable losses$ etc.). !
related quantit to the T?. would then be the total received power$ given b integrating
the received power across all of the measurement points of the !"T. The total power
received is
where T"r is the total power received and "r is the power measured at the receive antenna
output port.
The received power is given b the +riis transmission equation described earlier$ so in
terms of the transmit power and the angle-dependent gain$ the equation becomes
&ecause the desired value is T?.$ the required correction factor is simpl the ratio of T?.
to the total power receivedH
which$ when simplified$ becomes
This constant makes sense because the factor is related to the range length and the gain of
the receive antenna$ both of which are exactl what needs to be calibrated out of the
sstem. Eoing back to the +riis equation$ the reference measurement performed with the
reference antenna results in a site reference constant given b
where ' is the ratio of received power to transmitted power. 0ubstituting this into the
previous equation gives a correction factor of
The required site-calibration constant is now represented in terms of the gain of the
reference antenna and a single-path loss measurement for each polari%ation. The ratio '
could contain contributions from other terms$ such as cable loss and so forth$ as long as
those contributions are present in both the reference calibration and the pattern
Accounting %or ;S<9
The treatment of the transmit antenna L0/? is an important part of both the range
calibration and the measurement of various antenna properties. #n general$ L0/? is a
measurement of the mismatch between two transmission lines. #t provides a measurement
of the amount of signal being reflected back from the mismatch$ which is directl related
to the amount of energ that is transmitted.
+or man antennas$ the L0/? represents the largest component of the antenna efficienc
(the rest results from ohmic losses in the antenna itself). To determine the contribution
from L0/?$ it is necessar to calculate the ratio of the net power to the forward power.
L0/? is defined as the ratio of maximum to minimum voltage on the transmission line
and is given b
where 6max is the maximum voltage on the transmission line (feed cable)$ 6min is the
minimum voltage on the transmission line$ 6inc is the magnitude of the incident wave$ and
6refl is the magnitude of the reflected wave.
The reflection coefficient (not to be confused with the power densit described
previousl) is the ratio of reflected to incident waves and is given b
or$ in terms of impedance$
where 6: is the incident wave (magnitude and phase)$ 6; is the reflected wave (magnitude
and phase)$ 7o is the characteristic impedance of the transmission line (magnitude and
phase)$ and 7M is the impedance of the load line (magnitude and phase).
#f the load impedance is equal to the characteristic impedance of the transmission line$
the reflection coefficient would be %ero because there is no mismatch in this case. #n
addition$ unlike L0/?$ the reflection coefficient has both magnitude and phase. The
magnitude of the reflection coefficient is then
The transmission coefficient is defined as the ratio of transmitted to incident waves and
is given b
or$ in terms of impedance$
where 6M is the wave transmitted through the mismatch to the load side (magnitude and
& definition$ ; 9 -. ,owever$ the transmission coefficient is not ver useful for
determining the net transmitted power from the L0/? because it also requires some
knowledge of the impedance of the load. !lthough the necessar information could be
determined from the reflection coefficient$ it is considerabl easier to determine the ratio
of the reflected power to the incident power$ and then use that to determine the net
transmitted powerH
so that
9 "
; "
9 "
; "
9 "
(- ; OO
This results in a L0/? correction factor given in d& b
9 -2log
(- ; OO
The L0/? component covered here is not the onl antenna L0/? term related to
antenna measurements. #f an antenna is not in a free-space environment$ energ reflected
back from other ob8ects will affect the L0/? measurement. ,owever$ this term is a
measure of the antennaPs interaction with its environment rather than a measurement of an
inherent propert of the antenna.
)are should be taken when measuring L0/? to be used for range calibrations to ensure
that the measurement represents a true free-space L0/?. ! simple wa to do this is to
alter the orientation and location of the reference antenna when measuring L0/?. #f no
variation is seen in the resulting L0/? measurements$ then the environment probabl
does not have a significant effect.
-ain+ Directi*ity+ 6%%iciency+ and 6I9P
*nce the range has been calibrated$ a number of antenna properties can be determined
from the pattern measurement. The first propert of interest is '#?.. '#?. is the power
required for a theoretical isotropic radiator (one that radiates the same power in all
directions) to generate the same field level in all directions as the maximum field seen
from the !"T. 0tarting from the definition of T?.$ '#?. is given b
where max is the maximum time-averaged power densit found over the surface of the
measurement sphere.
!ssuming that the maximum power densit can be defined using the bore-sight gain of
the !"T$
)ombine this with the equation for '#?. to get
'#?. is simpl the transmitted power increased b the !"T gain$ which brings some
clarit to the definition of gain. Eain (over isotropic) is defined as the increase in
received signal from the !"T over that which would be received from an isotropic
radiator with the same source power. Therefore$ to create an isotropic radiator that
generates the same field level as the maximum seen from the !"T$ the source power
must be increased b the gain.
?earranging the equation for '#?. gives the definition of gainH
where "t is often referred to as the antenna-port input power (!.#.). !gain$ there is the
question of whether this term should refer to the incident power or whether it should refer
to the net power. This decision affects the calculation of the efficienc of the antenna.
The ratio of '#?. to T?. is defined as the directivit of the antennaH
where t($ ) is the relative magnitude of the !"T pattern at an angle with respect to
the maximum.
+or an isotropic radiator$ t($ ) 9 -$ so that D 9 -. +or an real antenna$
t($ )C - for much of the surface$ resulting in D A -. Girectivit is the onl term related
to the antenna gain$ which is solel a relative term. ?ange calibration does not show up in
this equation.
!s with the T?. measurement$ the measurement sstem is onl capable of measuring
received power$ so instead of '#?.$ the corresponding value calculated would be the
effective isotropic received powerH
where "r max is the maximum received power from the pattern measurement.
!ssuming again that the maximum received power is the bore-sight transmission
response$ the same site-reference constant$ ', can be usedH
#t is apparent that the same range calibration holds in this case as well. Therefore$ the
directivit can also be represented directl in terms of measured quantities as
The efficienc of the !"T is defined as the ratio of T?. to !.#.. The choice of defining
!.#. as incident power or net power determines whether L0/? is part of the efficienc
term. #f the net power definition is used$ the efficienc onl represents the ohmic losses
of the antenna and not the mismatch effectsH
)omparing this to the definition of gain and directivit makes it clear that gain is given
b the product of directivit and efficiencH
#f the !"T has no losses or mismatch$ the directivit and gain should be equivalent.
"ther Antenna Properties
There are plent of other properties that can be determined from an antenna pattern$ such
as front-to-back ratio$ average radiated power$ average gain$ and beam widths. The
calculation of most of these properties is straightforward$ usuall using simple formulas.
The most important part of man of the calculations is the data search algorithms used to
find values like the maximum point$ minimum point$ and ;3-d& points.
0ome of these antenna properties have little or no meaning for some antennas. #n
addition$ the orientation of the !"T can affect the result of an automated calculation
without additional input from the user to indicate the desired alignment information. +or
example$ the meaning of '- and ,-plane beam widths is commonl understood.
,owever$ if an !"T is randoml oriented for the pattern test$ or has an unusual pattern$
there is no simple wa to determine automaticall what constitutes each plane.
CTIA 9equirements
The )ellular Telecommunications and #nternet !ssociation ()T#!) has developed some
ver specific antenna-propert requirements in addition to the '#?. and T?.
*ne of these is the near-hori%on partial radiated power$ which is used to
determine the power radiated in a small band (tpicall Q55.<3 or Q4<3) along the
a%imuth axis. This requirement is intended to determine how a cellular phone will interact
with the network of cellular base stations arranged around it along the hori%on during
normal operation. The orientation of the !"T will have a great effect on this result$ so the
standard calls out precise positioning requirements for the phone.
&ecause a cellular phone has both transmit and receive modes$ the )T#! standard also
contains receive propert requirements$ including total isotropic sensitivit (T#0) and
near-hori%on partial isotropic sensitivit (4,.#0)$ in addition to the radiated pattern
requirements. These values are calculated from the received power pattern instead of the
transmitted power pattern. &ecause the )T#! standard is still in draft form and sub8ect to
change$ the details of these calculations are not covered in this article.
The techniques for complex pattern measurement are rather straightforward$ but the
calculations involved in determining certain antenna properties can be much more
complicated. 4onetheless$ with appropriate care and understanding of the associated
quantities$ it is not difficult to obtain excellent results.
The information provided in this article can help even the novice ?+ or '() engineer to
determine a variet of antenna properties.
-. F!ntenna )alculations$F #T$-%indgren Antenna 'atalog ()edar .ark$ TKH 'T0-
Mindgren$ 5225)$ =-.
5. )! &alanis$ Antenna Theor, Analsis and Design (4ew IorkH ,arper J ?ow$ ->75)$
5>$ 1<.
3. 6G 6ackson$ 'lassical #lectrodnamics, 5nd ed. (4ew IorkH /ile$ ->=<)$ 34=.
4. F(ethod of (easurement for ?adiated ?+ .ower and ?eceiver .erformance$ Graft
?evision -.5F (/ashington$ G)H )ellular Telecommunications and #nternet !ssociation$
<. &) /adell$ Transmission %ine Design +andboo( (&ostonH !rtech ,ouse$ ->>-)$ 4>=.
!ichael D. Foegelle, "hD, is senior principal design engineer at #T$-%indgren &'edar
"ar(, T)*. +e can be reached at ,-.-,/--0111 or michael.foegelle2emctest.com.
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