Now a days antenna engineering has become very popular all over the world because of 5G and 6G technologies. Antenna design, analysis and testing is the need of time. This calls for the development of an Antenna Training and Measuring system, which is an associated facility with all type of antenna courses. A variety of such Antenna Measuring systems with one or two RF sources are available in the market but they are very expensive. A low cost indigenously developed Antenna Training and Measuring system (ATMS) with three RF sources has now been developed to strengthen the basics of antenna theory among engineers who work on the design and research of antennas.
The indigenously developed Antenna Training and Measuring System is PC based and provides hands-on experience on antennas at 1 GHz, 3 GHz and 9-10 GHz frequency bands. The ATMS includes a set of 07 x antennas at given frequency, RF generator and receiving system. The receiving system consists of rotating Antenna and Microcontroller based Data Acquisition interface connected to USB port of personal computer.
The ATMS is designed for low-power safe operation, at all bands (1 GHz, 3 GHz and 10-GHz), allowing measurement of antenna characteristics. The data acquisition interface controls the receiving antenna and acquires the signal received from the antenna under test. The MUBARAK HI-TECH software provides a toolbox for controlling antenna rotation, and for displaying measured antenna radiation pattern in the E and H planes.
Three different versions of ATMS have been developed with one RF source, two RF sources and with three RF sources respectively. A variety of antennas have been developed for these three versions of ATMS and 15 lab exercises altogether have been designed with these systems.
The system has been developed as a result of Higher Education Commission (HEC) Technology Development Fund (TDF ) grant. A partial funding was also made by our industrial partner MUBARAK HI-TECH in this direction. A team of Researchers from Military College of Signals (MCS), consisting of PI Dr Farooq Ahmed Bhatti, Co-PI Dr Muhammad Imran, Research Engineer Umair Asghar, Research Engineer Talha Abu Bakar, Research Engineer Ahsen Javed and our industrial partner MUBARAK HI-TECH worked collectively and developed the said system to meet the needs of antenna engineering. As a result of the research and development carried under TDF HEC funded project, 07 intellectual property rights (patent, industrial design and copyrights) have been filed against the developed Antenna Training and Measuring System. A licensing agreement has now been signed with MUBARAK HI-TECH for commercialization and for limited production.
The developed Antenna Training and Measuring System is a lab test equipment for all of the universities having Electrical Engineering as a major discipline and also for universities having Applied Physics. The developed system will provide a platform for Human Resource Development in microwave and RF Antennas as well as for research students to test and analyze their designed antennas at the frequency specified for the systems. The versions with single RF source and with two RF sources are very low cost and hence the universities can easily purchase these systems and fulfill their requirements of their antenna labs. We encourage labs at local universities to contact us and in the future we also plan to market these systems internationally.
We have developed a pilot product of three different versions of the proposed system. However, the pilot run is yet to be performed which is an important step towards mass production. Though we have transferred the technology to our industrial partner but this Transfer of Technology is only for short and limited production and not for mass production. Mass production requires some further R&D, for which sponsor agencies will be approached in the near future. We ultimately hope that the developed system will be, one-day, mass produced and available in the market at a very reasonable cost.
The author is an Associate Professor at Department of Electrical Engineering, Military College of Signals (MCS), National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST). He can be reached at email@example.com.