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Understanding How Antennas Behave on Moving Vehicles

Understanding How Antennas Behave on Moving Vehicles

High-frequency antennas face no shortage of challenges—even without the added complication of being integrated into the electronic systems of motor vehicles. But on a moving vehicle, an antenna must perform while in motion and with ever-changing terrain conditions, with signal barriers and reflectors constantly changing the performance of the antenna. To better understand how antennas can be designed for such applications, Remcom offers an eight-page white paper, “Using Simulation to Optimize Safety, Performance and Cost Savings When Integrating an Antenna Onto a Platform.” It details the use of computer simulation tools to model the performance of antennas under moving conditions, identify problems, and find potential solutions.

The white paper notes that simulation offers an advantage in antenna analysis speed compared to building and testing each antenna design. The time savings can be considerable when designing antennas with computer software versus scheduling anechoic chambers and performing measurements on different antenna designs (once they have been physically assembled). Of course, the challenge is in achieving simulated results that are relatively close in value to measurements on a physical design.

But modern electromagnetic (EM) simulation software, such as the XFdtd software from Remcom, is capable is highly accurate predictions compared to measured results. The white paper provides the results of antenna simulations performed at the US Army Communications-Electronics Research, Development, and Engineering Center (CERDEC) using the XFdtd software and an in-house ray-tracing tool. Antenna radiation patterns are shown with and without a vehicle “attached” to the antenna and how the vehicle impacts the radiation patterns.

The efficiency provided by the software allows many different antenna designs to be evaluated for a given vehicle, compared to the long times that would be required for actual antenna fabrication, integration on the vehicle, and testing. In addition, the software makes it possible to investigate the possible hazards of antenna radiation to personnel driving or sitting within the vehicle. The white paper provides graphic examples of how RF radiation can spread to different parts of a vehicle based on the integration location of the antenna.

The paper also details how different standards, such as those from American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the Department of Defense (DoD), are affected by radiation emanating from a vehicle-integrated antenna. Admittedly, the white paper is a simplified look at EM simulation, but it is highly focused on an antenna application and quite useful for those who are faced with integrating an antenna into a vehicle of any kind.

Remcom, Inc., 315 S. Allan St., Ste. 416, State College, PA 16801; (888) 7-REMCOM, (814) 861-1299, FAX: (814) 861-1308

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