New Indoor Antenna Testing Range
The department's new anechoic
chamber is being used to test new antennas in a fully automated
The equipment consists of a combination near-field and far-field
scanner inside an anechoic chamber. The chamber walls are lined
with material that absorbs radio waves to reduce radio "echoes".
Test antennas are placed in the chamber and the scanner is used
to probe the fields radiated by the antenna. This information
is processed to produce radiation patterns that show how the
radiation from the antenna varies with direction.
A vector network analyzer from Agilent Technologies is used as
a signal source and receiver. Software customized for Virginia
Tech by the supplier of the scanning equipment, Antcom in Los
Angeles, is used to process and display the data.
The anechoic chamber was constructed by staff and students of
the Antenna Group and
funding for the $500,000 facility was provided by the university
and the Navy. It complements the outdoor antenna test range on
the roof of Whittemore Hall that has been in use since 1985.
The Antenna Group designs and builds antennas for commercial
and government applications. Antennas for wireless communications
are especially popular.