The Mesa Antenna Measurement Facility has three indoor ranges in anechoic chambers. These provide means of assessing antenna performance while protecting the hardware from weather and maintaining a stable temperature environment. One of the chambers has movable walls of absorber permitting reconfiguration for optimal reflection control.
The 40 foot chamber features a cylindrical near-field test capability which can measure large aperture antenna through W-band. The 60 foot chamber primarily does planar near-field tests, but it can support spherical near-field and far-field testing on special request.
The Vacuum Breakdown Facility provides deep space and planetary atmosphere environments for testing spacecraft antennas and RF components for secondary emission and voltage breakdown at high RF power levels. The test facility is enclosed in an RF shielded room, including a control room and a15 ft x 15 ft RF anechoic chamber around a six foot diameter vacuum bell jar. A small bell jar test chamber is also available for high power testing of microwave components.
The 40 and 60 Foot Anechoic Chambers
The 40 and 60 foot anechoic chambers are twenty feet square in cross section and have overall lengths of forty and sixty feet, respectively. All chamber surfaces are lined with pyramidal microwave absorber. Its characteristics are such that the range is normally used for X-band and above, except for the planar nearfield which covers frequencies as low as L-Band.
For far-field measurements performed in the 60 foot chamber, he illumination antennas are mounted at the control room end to enable convenient and efficient change of these horns. A wide-band tunable, phase-locked loop amplitude and phase receiver is directly applicable over multiple bands; however, the receiver mixer (mounted near the antenna under test) must be changed from band to band. The positioner control and indicating equipment allows operator control of the elevation, azimuth and polarization of both illuminating antennas and of the antenna under test. The equipment in the 40-foot anechoic chamber is currently configured for cylindrical near field measurement. Measurements have been carried out in the 40-foot chamber over the frequency range from 7.1 GHz through 95 GHz. Both chambers are equipped with track mounted adjustable separation azimuth positioners. The upper surface or mounting plane of the positioner is nearly flush with the chamber floor, this permits easy removal of the existing traverse table assemblies and installation of other test antenna support structures when required. Also rear wall access doors are provided for ground level access to the chamber through an anteroom.