Development and design of dual-band, multi-function remote sensing antennas
This dissertation details the theoretical development, design, fabrication, and testing of two remote sensing antennas. The antennas operate in Ku and Ka bands and must support multiple beams, polarizations, and frequencies with a single aperture.
The first antenna, developed for NASA's High-Altitude Imaging Wind and Rain Airborne Profiler, is a single, offset-fed reflector that supports dual-band beams incident at 30° and 40° off-nadir. The antenna uses two compact, dual-band feeds moved away from the reflector's focal point to meet the dual beam requirement. The radar is to be flown on the Global Hawk Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle which has a small payload bay requiring the feeds to be both rugged and compact.
The second antenna, developed for Remote Sensing Solutions' Dual-Wavelength Precipitation Radar, is a dual-offset Gregorian reflector. The antenna supports a single, dual-band, beam with dual-polarization at each band. Additionally, the antenna has high polarization purity and matched half power beamwidths at Ku and Ka bands. The strict requirements of the antenna are met by precisely controlling feed radiation characteristics.
The two antennas necessitated several advances in feed design. A foam sleeve is demonstrated as an effective method to reduce the beamwidth of a tapered dielectric rod antenna. The foam sleeve is an attractive design because it allows dual-band feeds where a corrugated horn is used to control radiation at lower frequencies and the sleeve corrected rod is used to control the upper band. By judiciously choosing sleeve material, independent control of the radiation pattern and phase center at each band is achieved allowing higher performance feeds. This dissertation also focuses on new developments in the backend design of feeds. Specifically, the use of tuning arms in the feed backend and double ridged waveguide to couple the signal into the feed allow more compact designs with greater bandwidth.
0799: Remote sensing