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- Patent-pending active antenna design with fixed ground screen
- Satisfies emerging need for a receptor that’s low-cost, operates at 6 dB sky noise dominated performance , has dual-polarization HF/VHF, and operates at 20-80 MHz
- Optimized for economical manufacture and designed for untrained personnel to simply "stake down the antenna"
- Single vertical support mast
- Integrated front-end electronics on support mast
- Two crossed-dipole antennas attached at orientation of about 90 degrees to each other
- Each antenna has two arms made of electrically conductive material. Each arm has:
- Triangular frame with apex connected to the feed points of the front end electronics unit
- Longitudinal member extending from apex to center of the base of the triangular shape
- Cross members extending between sides of the triangular frame
Testing/Validation at NRL
NRL is a major partner in the Long Wavelength Array (LWA) project, a low-frequency radio telescope designed to produce high-sensitivity, high-resolution images in the lowest frequencies (20-80 MHz). NRL's Economical LF Active Antenna has been thoroughly tested at the first LWA station.
Opportunities for Commercial/Government Application
At about $200, the Economical LF Active Antenna is ideal for:
- Professional and amateur astronomers who want to observe a variety of celestial objects and phenomena
- Passive, all-sky imaging for military applications and detection of nuclear tests through observations of the ionosphere
- Low-cost surveillance receptor for airborne objectives
- General purpose, upward-looking high-sensitivity LF receptor
Many of the research institutions collaborating on the LWA project have already adopted NRL’s design, and have additionally used it for other LF receptor needs. NRL’s invention provides an economical solution for antenna arrays that cover many miles.
The LWA project, by using many antenna stations to build a very large aperture, will open a new astronomical window on one of the most poorly explored regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It is a complement to New Mexico’s existing Very Large Array (VLA). The LWA will include many stations, each formed of an array of 256 Economical LF Active Antennas, to span a total aperture of 13,000 antennas. Ultimately, the LWA will be expanded to a larger collecting area (approaching 1 sq km at its lowest frequencies) and spread over an interferometric array with baselines up to at least 400 km.
The LF regions of the electromagnetic spectrum are of the least studied, due to interference from man-made signals (such as TV and FM radio) and a region of charged particles in the ionosphere; and that a telescope has to be many miles in size to be accurate at a high resolution. As a result, scientists have a poor understanding of the energetics and properties of many cosmic objects and events, the sun, and the ionosphere.
The core of the LWA will be located near the existing Very Large Array (VLA), but it will encompass interferometer stations spread throughout and possibly beyond the state of New Mexico. The Southwest Consortium (SWC) leads the LWA project. The University of New Mexico heads the SWC; the University of Texas Applied Research Laboratory, the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and NRL are also members.
US Filed Patent Application is available for License to companies with commercial interest. Collaborative research and development is available under a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA).
US Patent Application No. 14/072715 entitled “Wide-Band Active Antenna System” filed on 11/05/2013 on behalf of Hicks, Brian C; Stewart, Kenneth P; Clarke, Tracy; Dalal, Nagini P; Schmitt, Henrique; Ray, Paul S; Burns, Stephen J, Kassim, Namir E; Polisensky, Emil J
"A wide-band, active antenna system for long wavelength radio astronomy",
Brian C. Hicks, Nagini Paravastu-Dalal, Kenneth P. Stewart, William C. Erickson, Paul S. Ray, Namir E. Kassim, Steve Burns, Tracy Clarke, Henrique Schmitt, Joe Craig, Jake Hartman, Kurt W. Weiler.; Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 920; 1090-1104, Published 2012.
Find Out More
- "A wide-band, active antenna system for long wavelength radio astronomy" (Hicks, et. al)
- NRL Radio Astrophysics and Sensing
- Brian Hicks -- Curriculum Vitae
- Long Wavelength Array (LWA)