Antennas for Communications
|NOAA NWS Radome
Welcome to the Radome Network Home Page.
Safety and security are key features of modern communication systems and radar. For demanding radar, telemetry and communications systems, radome structures protect against environmental concerns, such as wind, blowing sand, snow, ice, rain, ultra violet sun light, temperature, fungus and corrosion. Sheltering important antenna systems when exposed to the uncertainty of extreme weather, radomes are a RF window to the world.AFC's high technology all dielectric radome capability combines the expertise of materials science, geodesic domes, prefabricated building structures and electromagnetics. AFC manufactures four types of dielectric radomes. The four types identify themselves primarily by the radome wall construction. In each case, the dielectric panel edges are reinforced into flanges for adjacent panel assembly. When assembled to the other panels, the panel array forms a truncated spherical radome surface. After assembly, the radome dielectric panel flanges form a framework establishing the general terminology Dielectric Space Frame (DSF) for AFC's radome products. Depending on radome wall parameters, adjacent panel flanges may also serve as environmental load bearing beams or struts. Each panel is a molded one piece unit without bond or seam lines. Individual panels may be doubly curved or flat yielding a faceted or spherically smooth appearance. Foam insulation is often added to the wall producing a two or three layer sandwich configuration. Radome applications include radar and weather radar systems, air traffic control, telemetry, satellite communications, DSCS, MILSTAR, MET and receive-only listening systems.
Not commonly known to most engineers, radome transmission loss is composed of the insertion loss from the RF signal passing through the radome wall and from the scattering loss off the panel flange framework. In most cases, the scattering loss from the framework is several times greater than the wall insertion loss.
To reduce scattering loss, AFC engineers pioneered a technique known as impedance matching to "tune out" framework loss. As required by sophisticated electrical performance requirements, RF circuit elements may be laminated into the dielectric flanges to impedance match scattering loss. Any of the four DSF radome types may be impedance matched.
Transmission Loss Improvement by
Impedance Matching Scattering at C-band.
Every DSF radome exhibits the RF property that the total transmission loss, scattering plus wall insertion loss, approaches zero dB at low frequencies (as opposed to "Metal Space Frame Radomes" whose loss increases without limit.) This property is important for L-band and UHF/VHF emergency radio communications contained within the radome.
To enhance RF performance, a design-balancing process occurs between a stronger structure at maximum rated wind speed and improved RF performance. This balancing act determines that our radomes are designed with appropriate structural safety factors for the lifetime of the radome. It is for this reason that AFC defines radome structural safety factors by a criterion based on catastrophic radome failure.
The superior performance and advantages of DSF Radome technology are evident in the worldwide Defense Satellite Communications System (DSCS, WGS, GBS), weather satellite and radar, air surveillance radar and Satcom Communications applications.
|Thin Membrane||Solid Laminate||2-Layer Sandwich||3-Layer Sandwich|
|The thin membrane wall DSF radome where adjacent panel flanges carry all the wind loads.||The solid laminate wall DSF radome.||Adding a layer of foam to the inside thin membrane wall DSF radome forms a 2-layer sandwich wall radome. Foam thickness is chosen primarily for thermal insulation objectives.||The composite 3-layer sandwich foam core wall radome. Core thickness is chosen for the highest RF signal frequency and thermal insulation.|
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AFC manufactures, markets and sells worldwide satellite dish antennas, conical horn antennas, radomes, antenna feeds, microwave and waveguide components, ultra low loss waveguide transmission line Tallguide ®, and custom shelters. Our customers serve the satellite, broadcast, communications, radar, weather and cable industry, defense, government, and government agencies worldwide. AFC's quality control manufacturing standards are certified under ISO 9001 : 2008.