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Spanish university researchers working in electronics and telecommunications have patented an airborne system for the measurement, characterization, inspection and diagnosis of antennas or radiant systems, comprising at least one aerial module, an earth station and a communication system between elements. The invention also relates to the method of processing the radiated electromagnetic field. Companies are sought to develop applications of the described invention under license agreements.
The development of the technology of unmanned aerial vehicles such as drones, UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) or RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircrafts) is allowing its application in a wide range of sectors, such as cartography and topography, security and surveillance, infrastructure inspection, assistance in natural disasters, etc. One of its main advantages is the ability to access places that are difficult to reach.
In the field of radio-communications, the measurement and characterization of antennas and/or other radiating systems is one of the fundamental aspects for the verification of the correct functioning of a communications system, given that the antennas are the element that acts as an interface between non-guided mediums (air, vacuum) and guided mediums (coaxial cable, waveguide).
However, the main limitation of existing systems for doing so is the accuracy of the results obtained and the complex infrastructure needed, which is a handicap when it has to be placed in environments with poor access. Current developed systems allow only the direct measurement of the radiation pattern, without the ability to carry out the diagnosis of the antenna under measurement (that is, detection of malfunctioning elements in the case of antenna arrays, or deformations in the case of reflector antennas). In addition to this, current systems do not allow acquisition in the near field region of the antenna under test, thus increasing acquisition times and restricting the possibility of 3D measurements.
Researchers from a Spanish university working in electronics and telecommunications have developed an airborne system for the remote measurement, characterization, inspection and diagnosis of antennas or other radiant systems, comprising at least one aerial module, an earth station and a communication system between those elements. The invention also relates to a method of processing the radiated electromagnetic field for obtaining the distribution of the antenna aperture electromagnetic field under measurement from which it is possible to perform the diagnosis of such antenna, as well as to determine its radiation diagram and the electromagnetic protection volume.
The university is a public institution oriented to education, research and technology transfer. It is not one of its capacities or goals to manufacture industrial products or distribute them commercially. Therefore, the researchers would like to reach license agreements with companies that work in those sectors where the measurement, characterization, inspection and diagnosis of antennas or radiant systems are needed, such as radar and radio-navigation system installations, terrestrial and satellite telecommunications systems, antennas onboard aircrafts or ships, or terrestrial broadcasting installations.
“39. drones antennas1.jpg”: Example of 3D near field base station antenna measurement for mobile communication networks.
“39. drones antennas2.jpg”: Example of antenna diagnostics. Normal operational conditions (left picture) and detection of malfunctioning operational conditions (aperture blockage).
- There is no need to interrupt the service of the communication system in order to characterize or inspection its antenna/s.
- It can be controlled by just one operator and since it allows to program automated trajectories low supervision and expertise is required.
- The system allows solving the limitation presented by traditional antenna measurement systems using unmanned aerial vehicles, where it is not possible to have phase information.
- The measurements of the radiated electromagnetic field are obtained with a resolution equal to or less than three centimeters between two adjacent positions, which exceeds the current systems available.
- The aerial module of the present invention is capable of positioning with an accuracy of equal to or less than three centimeters, which allows to identify possible deformations or elements with anomalous operation in the antenna, obtain the radiation diagram of the antenna and also the electromagnetic protection volume.
- Unlike current systems, it allows to work with arbitrary geometry trajectories that do not have to be adjusted to a canonical measurement surface or volume (such as a flat, cylindrical or spherical measurement domain).
- It can be implemented with one or more aerial modules working together.
- It allows the measurement of the antenna or radiant system in less time, depending on the number of aerial modules used.
- An overlap with the frequency of the electromagnetic field radiated by the antenna or radiant system can be avoided. This guarantees that at least one of the two frequency bands used will not overlap with the frequency of the electromagnetic field radiated by the antenna or radiant system, guaranteeing the correct communication between the aerial module and the earth station in different measurement circumstances.
Prototype ready for operation, already tested with real examples (mobile base station antennas).
Patent applied for in Spain.
Type of partner sought: Industry.
Specific area of activity of the partner: Companies in those sectors where the characterization and measurement of antennas or radiant systems are needed, such as radar and radio-navigation system installations, terrestrial and satellite telecommunications systems or terrestrial broadcasting installations.
Task to be performed: Applications of the described invention.