Antenna and RF Testing

Location: Harwell Campus

Our Antenna and RF Testing capabilities provide access to equipment and expertise to help you innovate and accelerate the development of new products and services.

Designing and testing effective antennas and associated RF systems is a challenging task. To simplify this for those organisations who have bespoke needs we offer capabilities of Compact, Near-Field and Far-Field Test Ranges for fast and highly accurate characterisation of a wide variety of antennas.

With competitive rates, the facilities are open to industry and academia and provide equipment that is frequently out-of-reach to small or medium-sized companies.


Compact Antenna Test Range

Our Compact Antenna Test Range facility is particularly suitable for the dynamic over-the-air performance testing of electronically steerable antennas and terminals for Satcoms or 5G applications in the frequency range 10GHz to 31GHz.

Key Specification

  • Chamber dimensions: 1803mm (L) x 1570mm (W) x 2002mm (H)
  • Frequency range: 10GHz to 31GHz
  • Quiet Zone: up to 42cm
  • Serrated reflector with dimensions 1020mm x 1020mm
  • Polarisation: Circular & Linear (10GHz to 15GHz) / Circular (17GHz to 31GHz)
  • Azimuth / Elevation positioner for the Device-Under-Test with maximum speed 30deg/sec in both axes
  • Integrated with Rohde & Schwarz 4-port ZNB40 Vector Network Analyser, SMW200A Vector Signal Generator and FSW50 Signal & Spectrum Analyser
  • Capability to perform simultaneous co-pol and cross-pol measurements
Download the Compact Range Brochure

Typical Use Cases

Antenna radiation pattern amplitude, phase and gain measurements.

Dynamic over-the-air functional testing of antenna beam pointing and tracking to satellite / base-station while the Device-Under-Test is moving along an arbitrary azimuth / elevation trajectory.


Near-Field Range

Our state-of-the-art Spherical Near-Field Range is housed in a purpose built 4m x 4m x 4m anechoic chamber. This facility provides:

  • NSI-MI Spherical Near-Field Range measurement system with azimuth (Phi) turntable, Theta over Phi swing arm, and polarisation axis (scan area: 360 degrees in Phi and 270 degrees in Theta).
  • Rohde & Schwarz ZNB 40 Vector Network Analyser.
  • High precision measurements in the frequency range 700 MHz to 40 GHz.
  • Antenna measurement data and analysis include:
    • 3D complex far-field co-polar and cross-polar radiation patterns (for linear or circular polarisation)
    • Axial ratio (over 3D surface)
    • Multi-frequency directivity, gain and efficiency
    • Phase centre & group delay vs frequency
    • Microwave holographic projection to arbitrary measurement planes
    • S-parameters

Additional industry-leading capabilities for RF testing of satellite communication systems and components include: signal & spectrum analysers; vector network analysers; vector signal generators; channel emulator; programmable step attenuators; and programmable amplitude & phase shifters.

Download the NFR Brochure

Far Field Range

The Far Field Antenna Test Range, part of DISC, provides the UK with a facility that replaces the UK’s capability that was previously available at Cobham until December 2015.

The facility is located on the Harwell campus and offers a 400-metre antenna test range that can be used for the development, characterisation and type approval of satellite communications antenna for satellite telecommunications networks. The range offers the capability to test satellite communication bands C, Ka, Ku and X, helping satellite communication terminal manufacturers develop and test new products.

This UK capability has been attracting interest from international organisations and is generating new opportunities for Harwell and for the wider space community.


Radio Frequency Equipment

  • R&S® SMW200A Vector Signal Generator
  • R&S® FSW50 Signal Analyser
  • R&S® ZNB40 Vector Network Analyser
  • Keysight FieldFox Handheld Microwave Test System
  • Keysight Technologies PROPSIM Channel Emulator F8B4CH-C80

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