Antennas for Communications
|NOAA NWS Radome
Welcome to the Radome Network Home Page.
For demanding radar, telemetry and communications systems, radomes safeguard against environmental concerns, such as wind, blowing sand, snow, ice, rain, ultra violet sun light, temperature, fungus and corrosion. AFC's high technology all dielectric radome capability combines the expertise of materials science, geodesic domes, 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. After assembly, the radome dielectric 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. When assembled to the other panels, the panel array forms a truncated spherical surface. 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, satcom uplink, dscs, milstar 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, inductive elements (wire, metallic strips etc.) 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 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. 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), weather satellite and radar, air surveillance radar and Intelsat 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. Wall thickness is usually 0.040 inch or less.||The solid laminate wall DSF radome. Wall thickness is typically 0.090 inch.||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 and cost objectives.||The composite 3-layer sandwich foam core wall radome. Core thickness is chosen as 1/4 wavelength for the highest RF signal frequency.|
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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.