Antenna Anechoic Chamber Lab

Location: 04-113
Coordinator: Dr. Dean Arakaki

Picture of Antenna Anechoic Chamber Lab

Description

The Cal Poly EE Department operates a microwave-band Antenna Anechoic Chamber to complement coursework and projects in the antennas and RF (radio frequency) area. Wireless communications systems continue to experience substantial growth. Cell phones, personal data assistants, and wireless internet connections (wireless fidelity or WI-FI) are now commonly used. These high-technology applications require continuous wireless system advancements; hence, qualified wireless communications, RF/microwave, and antenna engineers are in great demand.

Fee-For-Services Testing

The Antenna Anechoic Chamber Laboratory is available for Fee-For-Services antenna radiation pattern, RF absorber, and S-parameter testing. Students also assist in test configuration development and parametric characterizations. Past projects include:

            

                

                  

Chamber Development

The Antenna Anechoic Chamber Laboratory was developed on-campus to provide students entering the wireless area with a practical working knowledge of RF, microwave, and antenna systems. It also offers the local engineering community a low-cost option for wireless system qualification testing.

A view of the Chamber The chamber and a computer

The new chamber is used to provide an opportunity to apply theoretical concepts presented in antennas and electromagnetics courses. Foundation courses in this area were traditionally taught as theoretical lectures. In keeping with Cal Poly's 'Learn By Doing' principle, a laboratory component--a series of experiments utilizing the chamber--is being developed. Antenna chamber utilization for radiation pattern measurements also supports future antenna research.

The Chamber outside A Chamber in various positions

The Cal Poly Antenna Chamber supports development activities of other on-campus programs including Cal Poly’s PolySat program and courses involving RF/antenna systems including EE 533 (antennas), EE 502 (microwave systems), and EE 440 (wireless communications). Courses outside the EE department can also utilize the Anechoic Chamber to complement course concepts including AERO 448 (spacecraft design), PHYS 256 (electrical measurements laboratory), and MATH 212 (computational mathematics II).

A 3D view of the PolySat satellite

PolySat Program, Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo:
http://www.polysat.calpoly.edu/

The chamber development itself served as two senior projects and six MS theses, as the project involved extensive planning and construction, RF material characterization, and calibration and operating procedure development.

Absorber foam Positioner

Absorber Foam and Positioner Donations

Narda 644 Gain Horn Atlanta Scientific Gain Horn

Standard Gain Horns

The Cal Poly EE Department provided support in terms of RF absorbers (2' height pyramid shape, 240 ft2), foam adhesive (15 gallons), and student labor. The Antenna Anechoic Chamber measures 20'(L) x 10'(W) x 9'8"(H) and can characterize antennas in the range of 2.4GHz to 20GHz. Completed chamber photos appear below.

Side view of completed chamber View of the completed chamber

Completed Antenna Anechoic Chamber

For More Information

Dean Arakaki
darakaki@calpoly.edu

Current Equipment

Support for chamber development has been in the form of equipment and material donations from industry totaling over $100k. Donations have included over 300 panels of anechoic chamber absorber foam (both pyramid and wedge shape from Raytheon Systems Company), RF test equipment, antenna azimuthal positioners and controller instrumentation and software (Deskin Research Corp), and several pairs of standard gain horns spanning the range 1.7GHz to 26GHz (Deskin Research Corp, additional grants).

Through support from Cal Poly's C3RP program, a three-axis positioner and controller has been acquired from Sunol Sciences.

Equipment Needs

RF instrumentation including network and spectrum analyzers are currently being sought. To help support continued development of the Cal Poly EE Department Antenna Anechoic Chamber, please contact Dean Arakaki at darakaki@calpoly.edu.