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Compact UHF/VHF Antenna

Description:

OBJECTIVE: Develop an improved and novel UHF/VHF antenna. Primary emphasis on performance improvements with a secondary emphasis on novel designs, portability, logistic friendliness, and linear polarization. 

DESCRIPTION: Users are demanding improved performance and logistic-friendly antennas to support field-level maintenance. The problem, however, is the inability of antenna designers to shrink size and weight as quickly as integrated circuit designers have been able to shrink circuits. Historically, low frequencies require physically large antennas. Ideally, it is desired to have electrically large antennas that are lighter or compactable in physical size. Currently used UHF/VHF antennas have some undesirable performance attributes. This topic's goal is to develop an antenna that optimizes UHF/VHF antenna performance by maximizing directionality, reducing back lobe as close to zero as possible, and minimizing side lobes. Current UHF/VHF antennas are large and heavy, and difficult to operate in a field environment by maintainers. Improvements to the logistic burden are desired in the form of weight reduction and novel designs (such as inflatable, collapsible, telescoping, material selection, etc.) to operate with a mobile or tripod-assisted collection system. This requirement is a cross-platform need for multiple applications. The design must be a system that is easily transportable and ruggedized for use by 5-Level maintenance personnel (3-5 years experience). The antenna is desired to be modular and swappable with other antennas that interface with different radar systems. Rigorous technology demonstrations using representative targets shall be performed. To that end, correlations between current baseline systems and the new technologies shall be carried out. Specifically, an optimized low frequency antenna solution must be reliable, repeatable, and easy to use. New equipment and technology shall comply with security requirements and be ruggedized for use in an operational environment including exposure to light dust, moisture, humidity, low and high temperatures, and salt fog conditions. In-depth investigations shall be conducted to create confidence on new approaches and methods. These in-depth validation and verification activities shall address user requirements including but not limited to performance, human safety, reliability, operator fatigue, reparability, and robustness of the equipment to survive in operational environments. 

PHASE I: Demonstrate antenna design improvements with the primary focus on performance (high directionality, minimized back and side lobes) and secondary focus on novel design concept feasibility for a low-frequency antenna. Demonstration can include but is not limited to modeling, simulation, prototype, test and analysis. Threshold requirement is achieving the above desirements for the UHF band. Objective requirement is achieving desirements for the VHF band. 

PHASE II: Building on Phase I results, the Phase II task will optimize and further mature the antenna design into a hardware demonstration prototype. The Phase II antenna prototype will be required to be designed to meet ClassI/Div2 or CE/ATEX requirements and demonstrated in a relevant laboratory environment. Technology maturation must optimize performance for consistent measurement performance and meet logistic field-level requirements for ease of use. Threshold requirement is achieving the above desirements for the UHF band. Objective requirement is achieving desirements for the VHF band. 

PHASE III: Determine a commercialization plan to demonstrate the technology for other applications or commercialize the product for multiple platforms and customers. 

REFERENCES: 

1: http://www.militaryaerospace.com/articles/print/volume-23/issue-05/technology-focus/designing-the-perfect-lightweight-antenna.html

2:  https://www.rfglobalnet.com/doc/model-com201b-lightweight-vhf-uhf-communicati-0001

3:  http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/6349340/?reload=true

KEYWORDS: Uhf Vhf Antenna, Lightweight, Improved Low Frequency Antenna 

CONTACT(S): 

Joshua Forbes 

(937) 255-9808 

joshua.forbes.4@us.af.mil 

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