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CST – Computer Simulation Technology

X-Band Squintless Horn Antenna Array (96 Elements)

Reutech Radar Systems (Pty) Ltd required a new antenna for an X-Band radar system and the design of a full plank of the receive antenna was performed using CST MICROWAVE STUDIO® (CST MWS). Typical design requirements have been vertical polarization, 70º elevation beamwidth, 1º azimuth beamwidth with 30 dB sidelobe levels, no squint and 20% operating bandwidth. The first two requirements are met by using a small E-plane sectoral horn shown in figure 1.



Figure 1: E-Plane horn

The azimuth properties of the antenna must be met by the design of the antenna feed. A 12-way squintless wideband waveguide E-plane divider section (see figure 2), based on a feed described by A Rogers [1], has been used as building block for the feed.



Figure 2: E-plane divider building block

An impedance transformer and 90º waveguide twist section are required to match the feed to the E-plane sectoral horn radiator. A machineable waveguide twist section consisting of an L-shaped waveguide, similar to that published by Lenzing and Gans [2], is used to change the polarization from horizontal to vertical....



Figure 3: Twisted waveguide section

To evaluate the design approach, a prototype sub-antenna consisting of a 12-way feed, twist sections and E-plane horns was manufactured from Aluminium using CNC-machining and wire-cutting. The gain patterns were measured in the anechoic chamber at Stellenbosch University and are in good agreement with the expected results given by CST MWS.



Figure 4: Manufactured 12-element antenna

The design was then extended to a 2.4 meter full antenna plank with 96 radiating elements. For the excitation distribution the 96 elements were divided into 16 banks with a Villeneuve distribution. Each of the banks contains 6 elements with a linear excitation distribution. Such a distribution allows for the reuse of 6-way E-plane dividers throughout the antenna feed.



Figure 5: Full antenna blank with 96 radiating elements

The final feed consists of four levels of 3-port E-plane dividers connected with standard X-band waveguide. Since the feed structure is symmetrical, in a first step only half of the feed was analysed in CST MWS.



Figure 6: CST MWS model of one-half of full antenna bank


Figure 7: Magnitude of frequency response (half design)


Figure 8: Phase variation between channels (half design)

The complete antenna (with 96 ports excited at the same time) was also analysed in CST MWS, giving the following azimuth gain patterns.



Figure 9: Excitation and phase pattern used for the 96 elements


Figure 10: Azimuth patterns from full plank CST MWS analysis

The full antenna plank was manufactured and the radiation patterns were measured at the compact range at the University of Pretoria.



Figure 11: Compact range measurement setup at University of Pretoria


Figure 12: Measured azimuth pattern


Figure 13: Measured azimuth pattern

The azimuth radiation patterns show that no side-lobes higher than –30 dB are measured outside ±20º from the main lobe. Some larger close-in side-lobes exist, which can be seen more clearly in figure 13. The highest side-lobe level is measured as –23 dB at 10 GHz. The 3 dB beam-widths of the azimuth patterns vary from 1.2 to 0.8º over the frequency range. This corresponds very well with the expected results.

References

[1] A Rogers, “Wideband Squintless Linear Arrays”, The Marconi Review, Volume XXXV, Number 187, Fourth Quarter 1972, pp 221 – 243.

[2] H. F. Lenzing, M. J. Gans, “Machined Waveguide Twist”, IEEE Trans. MTT, Vol. 38, no. 7, July 1990, pp. 942 – 944.

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