Phased array antenna control and calibration system for satellite communications

Phased array antenna control and calibration system for satellite communications

Technology News |
By Nick Flaherty

Keysight Technologies has launched a Phased Array Antenna Control and Calibration system for over-the-air (OTA) calibration and characterization of satellite communications.

The S7601A OTA phased array calibration system enables satellite designers developing active electronically scanned arrays for satellite communications applications to rapidly test their designs during early validation.

Modern satellite networks operate at higher frequencies and use active phased array antenna systems which are driving the connectivity and sensing requirements of next-generation satellite communication. Testing these highly integrated systems is a complex and time-consuming task. Designers and manufacturers need fast OTA testing to quickly and efficiently calibrate and verify the performance.

The system provides a flexible measurement solution that improves pointing accuracy and sidelobe rejection to reduce interference effects on phased array antennas by optimizing the frequency, gain, and phase response of active antenna array elements.

Proprietary calibration algorithms enable highly-accurate measurement of gain and phase for a single element under test in an indirect far field test environment. When combined with fast synchronization of radio frequency (RF) test instruments, antenna positioning system, and control hardware, these algorithms reduce calibration times to minutes.

A wide variety of verification tests in the system includes fast gain and phase calibration, effective isotropic radiated power (EIRP), radiation pattern versus beam scan angle, beam scan and range loss, cross-polarization isolation, gain compression, gain-over-noise temperature (G/T), and modulation distortion (error vector magnitude).

The system has a single software interface that controls the antenna under test, Keysight’s test instruments, and antenna test range positioner and temperature control unit. It also fits into existing anechoic chambers with the addition of a PNA-X vector network analyzer.

“Phased array is an enabling technology in modern SatCom systems providing critical capability over the parabolic dish. To overcome the potentially longer test times and manufacturing complexity, Keysight offers this rapid test and calibration solution. We are proud to work with a partner that is continuously driving innovation and enabling significant reduction in development and recurring costs for these phased array antenna solutions,” said Gregg Bell, General Manager of Aerospace and Defense RF Products at Analog Devices.

Greg Patschke, General Manager of Keysight’s Aerospace / Defense and Government Solutions Group, said: “The rapid adoption of phased array antenna technology in commercial and military satellite communications is driving the need for automated testing tools that can quickly and accurately calibrate systems for mission success. The new Keysight Phased Array Antenna Control and Calibration reduces the arduous and lengthy process of calibrating complex, active phased array antennas from hours or days to just a few minutes in a lab setting.”

S7601A Antenna Measurement Toolset


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