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ANTENNA

MEASUREMENTS
Introduction:
Antenna measurements are necessary
to know actual performance of
antennas: their gain, radiation pattern,
bandwidth, efficiency etc.

Radiation Patterns

There are several regions of radiated field in the


vicinity of antenna like reactive near field region
(radian sphere), radiating near field or Fresnel
region and far-field or Fraunhofer region.

Measurement of antenna parameters is usually done in the


far-field
region.
The
advantages
of
far-field
measurement are:
1.

2.
3.
4.

The measured field pattern is valid for any distance in the farfield region; only simple transformation of the field strength
according to 1/r is required.
If a power pattern is required, only power (amplitude)
measurement in needed.
Coupling & multiple reflections between the antennas are not
significant.
In practical environment, generally the receiver is in the farfield region.

The main disadvantage of far-field measurement is the


required large distance between the antennas leading to large
antenna
ranges.
The far-field
region of transmitting antenna is the region
beyond the distance rff given by the well known Rayleigh
distance:

rff

2D 2

(meters)

where D: largest dimension of the physical aperture of the antenna

Measurement Ranges
The various measurement ranges used for
the
measurement of antenna parameters are:
1. Elevated Ranges
2. Ground-Reflection Ranges
3. Anechoic Chambers
4. Compact Antenna Test Ranges (CATRs)
5. Near Field Ranges
Which range type suits best for the
measurement
of
a
certain antenna depends mainly on the
physical size and frequency of the
antenna.

Elevated Ranges
is the basic far-field range.

Antennas are placed high on towers,


buildings or hills to reduce effects of

Generally, AUT (Antenna Under Test) is


operated as receiving antenna.
If source antenna is near ground and AUT on a
tower, range is called slant range.
Range length is determined by the far-field
criterion.
Range width should be sufficient to keep the
main beam of the source antenna within it.
The antenna heights and source antenna
pattern should be such that the main beam of
source antenna does not illuminate the ground
between the antennas.

The lower limit of the source diameter DT mus


1.5R
DT
(meters)
HR

The upper limit of the source antenna diameter m

R
DT
3D

(meters)

Combining the two requirements for the


source antenna diameter gives that AUT
must be mounted at least 5 times as high as
its diameter D.

Ground-Reflection Ranges
It is used at VHF and lower frequencies as a
directional source antenna is very large
and ground reflections are difficult to
avoid.

Kraus: Fig. 21-7

Antennas are placed above a flat reflecting surface


with (or without) buried ground screen.
Reflection appears to come from the image source.
Real and image source form together an
interference pattern.
AUT is placed in the first lobe of the interference
pattern as it has the flattest amplitude distribution.

Assuming a negative image, i.e. the surface has


reflection coefficient of -1, the peak of the first lobe
is at height
R
HR
(m)
4HT

Above equation indicates that the ideal height is


a function of the wavelength. So, the height of
the source antenna or AUT may need to be

Height of AUT must be at least 3.3D.


The surface of a ground-reflection range
should be smooth, which requires that the
rms height variation of the surface, h is
small enough:

h
M sin

: wavelength, m
M : smoothness factor (ex. 16)
: grazing angle

(m)

Anechoic Chambers
Walls, ceiling and floor of an anechoic chamber are
completely covered with absorbing material.
Such chamber simulates a reflection-less free
space and allows all-weather measurements in a
controlled laboratory environment.
In this chamber, test area is isolated from
interfering signals much better than at outdoor
ranges.
Anechoic chambers can be used for the far-field
measurements of small antennas.
Absorbing materials are used for reducing sidelodes and back-lobes.
An ideal absorber provides an impedance
match for incoming waves at all frequencies &
all angles of incidence.

Broadband absorbers are generally made of


carbon-loaded polyurethene foam.
Shapes of absorbers can be: Pyramids or Wedges

Kraus: Fig. 218

Pyramids
work
best
at
normal
incidence as they
behave
like
tapered transition.

Wedges work well


at large incidence
angles with wedge
direction
along
plane of incidence.

Absorbers can also be made with magnetic


materials with losses Salisbury screens and
Jauman absorbers.
Salisbury screen: It has a resistive sheet
placed 0/4 from a reflecting plate. If sheet has
surface impedance of 377 per square, a
normally
incident
wave
is
completely
absorbed.

Fig. With normalized impedances

Kraus: Fig. 21-9 (a) Transmission line equivalent of Salisbury sc

Jauman absorber: It has a broader


bandwidth than Salisbury screen. It is
made by stacking resistive sheets.

Kraus: Fig. 21-9 (b) Transmission line equivalent of Jauman abs

Types of anechoic chambers:


Rectangula
r

Tapere
d

Kraus: Fig. 21-10

Compact Antenna Test Ranges


(CATRs)
CATRs simulate an infinite range length by
producing a flat phase front with reflector, lens,
horn, array or hologram.
A CATR is usually installed indoors in an anechoic
chamber but very large CATRs are outdoor ranges.

As the beam is
collimated,
the
required power is
less than on a farfield range.
Kraus: Fig. 21-11

To reduce amplitude taper, feed antenna


must have a proper pattern.
Corrugated horns have symmetric patterns,
low side lobes & low cross-polarization levels
and so are widely used as feeds.
Diffraction can be reduced by edge
treatment; for which three methods are in
use: serrating the edge, rolling the edge
& resistive tapering.

Dual
reflector
CATRs:
They provide advantages, over the basic
single reflector CATRs, like:
a larger quiet zone for a given reflector size
and

Kraus: Fig. 21-13. Dual-chamber Gregorian-fed CATR

Near Field Ranges


In these ranges, fields near the antenna
are
measured.
From
near-field
measurements, the far-field patterns can be
computed.
Near-field ranges are very compact and
many kinds of antenna parameters can be
computed from data.
Near-field measurements are done by
scanning the field close to AUT with a
known probe antenna, small in size &
having a broad beam, e.g. open-ended
waveguide.

Basic measurements systems are planar,


cylindrical and spherical coordinate
systems.

Plan
ar

Cylindric
al

Spheric
al

Kraus: Fig. 21-16. Near field scanning geometries

Planar system:
In this the AUT is fixed and the probe moves.
It is suited for high gain antennas.
Cylindrical system:
For this, the AUT rotates and the probe
moves on a linear track.
Antennas having dipole-type patterns can be
measured with this system.
Spherical system:
In this AUT rotates in different planes and
the probe is fixed.
With this system, omnidirectional antennas
can be measured.

Gain and Directivity


Measurement
Two basic gain measurement methods are:
1.Absolute Method: This method can be done in
either of the two ways
a. Two-antenna method
b. Three-antenna method
2.Direct Comparison Method (Gain-Transfer Method )

Absolute Method
This method is based on Friis transmission
formula.

PR PTGTGR

4R

Two antenna method

(Watts)

Direct Comparison Method


(Gain-Transfer Method)

In this, gain measurement is done by comparing powers


received with the AUT and with a known reference
antenna. This measurement can be performed on either
a free-space or a ground-reflection range.

Radiation Pattern Measurement

Power pattern or amplitude pattern is


measured.
Generally, patterns are measured in the Eplane and H-plane (for a linearly polarized
antenna).
Beamwidth, pattern shape, side-lobe
levels with their directions and null
directions are parameters which are
obtained from measured pattern.

Spectrum Analyzer
A spectrum analyzer produces a visible
display of the frequency content of an input
signal.
Most spectrum analyzers are of heterodyne
type,
alsosystems,
called its scanning
spectrum
In commn.
is required to
extract
analyzers.
frequency contents from a time varying voltage
signal x(t). Methods for this are:
A Digital Storage Oscilloscope can provide solution
by calculating FFT of the signal from stored samples.
To pass x(t) through a long series of very narrow BPFs
with adjacent pass bands and then plot amplitudes
of filter outputs.
Using a simple property of Fourier Transform
according to which:

If a signal in time domain is multiplied by a


sinusoid, the spectrum of signal is shifted in
frequency by an amount equal to the
frequency of the sinusoid.
Mathematically,
x(t ) cos(2f 0t ) Fourier

Transform

1
1
X ( f f0 ) X ( f f0 )
2
2

Spectrum Analyzer with Analog Display

Kraus: Fig. 21-34

Spectrum Analyzer with Digital Display

Spectrum Analyzer

Spectrum Analyzer
display