TICRA in Svalbard

16 Dec 2021

A special TICRA design task for a special antenna.

Together with Kamfab (Swe) and the Nordic Optical Telescope Group of Risø (DK), TICRA was in the beginning of the 1990’ies chosen to design a 32 meter fully steerable radar antenna in Svalbard.

The antenna system is a shaped dual reflector antenna operating at 500 MHz with an average power of 500 kW. The main reflector is built of panels each being individually adjustable. The design included a detailed prediction of the antenna sidelobes.

The detailed sidelobe prediction was important, since the high levels of power necessitates controlled shutdown at low elevation angles to prevent the polar bears from being subjected to too high levels of radiation. Also, an automatic shut-down mechanism is implemented through a radar behind the sub-reflector in the case of an incoming aircraft in the boresight beam direction.

The 32-m fully steerable reflector was later supplemented by a fixed 42-m antenna, both of which continue to study the interaction between the sun and the Earth as revealed by disturbances in the ionosphere and magnetosphere.

Acceptance test of the horn is done at Dielectric Communication in Maine, USA. It was quite an experience for the TICRA engineer inspecting the test for the first time seeing a feed, a Potter horn designed using CHAMP, that he could literally crawl into.


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