Southwest Antennas with our partner Avalon Test Equipment operates a fully anechoic chamber for antenna testing, measurement, and qualification of antennas desiged at Southwest Antennas. This chamber is used during the design of our antennas to ensure proper operating performance and to record antenna pattern and gain test data for use by our customers.
Located in Vista, California, the test chamber measures 24' x 12' x 12' and is constructed with steel-clad panels that deliver 100 dB shielding (1 MHz to 40 GHz) to control ambient RF emissions. A suite of test and measurement equipment outside of the chamber allows test engineers and technicians to take extremely detailed measurements of our antennas. These measurements include antenna azimuth and elevation pattern measurements, gain measurements, impedance, VSWR, axial ratio, and other relevant parameters that are specific to certain antenna types, applications, or test scenarios.
Anechoic Chamber Interior
The interior of the chamber is covered in a field of MVG AEP-18 18" length RF/microwave radiation absorbent foam (500 MHz to 18 GHz), with the spectral regions in the center of the room covered in MVG AEP-24 24" length RF/microwave radiation absorbent foam (20 MHz to 18 GHz). This pyramid-shaped foam absorbs electromagnetic waves and keeps reflections from influencing the antenna measurement results.
Interior of the full anechoic test chamber, showing the radiation absorbing foam and antenna positioning tripod.
The dual axis high-resolution antenna mount pedestal is part of the test chamber's Diamond Engineering DAMS6000 antenna measurement system, giving the test operator precise control over the azimuth (horizontal) and elevation (vertical) orientation of the antenna under test during the measurement process. This test system is controlled remotely by the test operator outside of the chamber.
On the back interior wall of the test chamber is the removable antenna mount, allowing for different antennas to be placed in the chamber depending on what frequency range is being used in the tests. The chamber can be configured for both transmit or receive antenna testing. Pictured below is the ETS Lindgren 3164-06 Open Boundary Quad-Ridged Horn receive antenna, which covers a frequency range of 300 MHz to 6 GHz:
Left: test chamber wall with ETS Lindgren 3164-06 open boundary quad antenna. Right: Removable panel on outside of chamber allows for antenna to be easily swapped out for different test conditions.
Operator Station & Test Equipment
The operator station is located just outside of the entry door to the test chamber, and provides a central location for the test engineer or technician to perform testing. This test equipment includes a Keysight/Agilent Vector Network Analyzer, the DAMS 6000 automated antenna measurement system, and an HD camera to view antenna position during testing:
Operator control center with Vector Network Analyzer, DAMS 6000 antenna test software and hardware control, and live HD camera feed of antenna in test chamber.
Complete test chamber equipment profile:
Agilent E8362B Vector Network Analyzer - 10MHz to 20GHz, ideal for high frequency, high-performance testing
Diamond Engineering DAMS 6000 Antenna Measurement System - mechanical control and software suite for antenna measurement, DC - 18 GHz frequency coverage
ETS-Lindgern 3164-06 Open Boundary Quad-Ridged Horn Receive Antenna - frequency range coverage of 300 MHz - 6 GHz, two orthogonally placed input feeds allow this antenna to generate both linear and circular polarized measurements
Computer running the DAMS 6000 antenna test software and HD camera.
Measurement output samples from the DAMS 6000 software
The DAMS 6000 antenna test systems provides the test operators with a wide array of measurement information, outputs, graphical plots, and more. Below are a few samples of the data provided by the DAMS 6000 system:
2D polar plot output:
Spherical 3D plot: