Antenna Anechoic Chamber

Project Description

The Cal Poly EE Department has developed an Antenna Anechoic Chamber to complement undergraduate courses in the electromagnetics, RF, and antennas area. The wireless communications area has experienced explosive growth in recent years. Cell phones, personal data assistants, and wireless internet connections (wireless fidelity or WI-FI) are now commonly used, and further wireless system advancements are imminent. Consequently, there is a shortage of qualified wireless communications, RF/microwave, and antenna engineers.

In response to the call for wireless engineers, the Antenna Chamber was developed on-campus to provide students entering the wireless area with a practical working knowledge of RF, microwave, and antenna systems.

A view of the Chamber The chamber and a computer

The new chamber will be 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. Use of the antenna chamber for radiation pattern measurements will also support future antenna research.

The Chamber outside A Chamber in various positions

The Cal Poly Antenna Chamber will support 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 will also be able to 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 chamber required extensive planning and construction, RF material characterization, and the development of calibration and operating procedures.

Chamber development support involving industry equipment and material donations total over $100k, including over 300 anechoic chamber absorber panels (pyramid and wedge shapes from Raytheon Systems Company), RF test equipment, antenna azimuthal positioners and controller instrumentation and software (Deskin Research Corp), and several standard gain horn pairs spanning the range 2GHz to 26GHz (Deskin Research Corp).

Absorber foam Positioner

Absorber Foam and Positioner Donations

Narda 644 Gain Horn Atlanta Scientific Gain Horn

Standard Gain Horns

The Cal Poly EE Department has 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 is capable of characterizing antennas in the range of 2.4GHz to 20GHz. Photos of the completed chamber appear below.

Side view of completed chamber View of the completed chamber

Completed Antenna Anechoic Chamber

Through support from Cal Poly's C3RP program, three positioners and corresponding controllers have been acquired from Sunol Sciences.

Additional RF absorber material, RF instrumentation including network analyzers, and standard gain horns (L-band and UHF) are currently being sought. There is also a need for EMI testing materials including ferrite tiles for testing at UHF frequencies and probe antennas in compliance with FCC standards for EMI testing. To help support continued Antenna Anechoic Chamber development at Cal Poly, please contact Dean Arakaki at darakaki@calpoly.edu.

Location: 04-113

Support Support

For More Information

Dean Arakaki
darakaki@calpoly.edu