Vol . 8 No. 2 April 2000
Beam Switching Cylindrical Array Antenna System
Modern communication system demands effective and secured communication between point-to-point or multi point entities with a moderate range. The conventional communication systems employing three or four wide-beam electromagnetic horns suffer from the drawbacks of interference, fading and jamming. A unique inertia-less beam switching cylindrical array (BSCA) antenna system has been designed and developed for point-to-point or multi point communication for the first time. The cylindrical array consists of 64 raDIATing elements and a beam forming network to generate 16 discrete electronically switchable narrow beams to cover complete 360 in azimuth plane in L-band. The switching of beams within microseconds of time is accomplished electronically by employing a beam switching unit (BSU). The antenna is used along with time division multiple access system having frequency hopping and coding for communication. The special features, viz., space, frequency, time and code division multiple access, enables the system to provide a highly secured and effective tactical communication. Most of the components used in BSCA have been developed based on photo lithographic technology to achieve the objective of light-weight and ease of reproducibility. The light-weight of the antenna makes it accessible for easy mounting at a specified height to get maximum communication range. The system is also equipped with BITE mode operation which provides adequate information about the health of the system.