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Radio antenna test chamber turns on

8 May 2017

The CR-Mini in situ.  Image: Sam Venn
The CR-Mini in situ. Image: Sam Venn

The Faculty of Engineering and IT (FEIT) has  commissioned a new antenna chamber which will extend capabilities in exclusive wireless communications systems research for 5G, future Wi-Fi and millimetre wave applications.

The mini compact range (CR-Mini) antenna measurement system can examine frequencies up to the 90GHz (millimetre wave), a first among all Australian universities, helping the expansion of advanced mobile applications and faster data transfers. 

This unique resource was custom-built in Israel by Microwave Vision Group (SATIMO, ORBIT/FR, MVG-EMC), which delivers innovative EMC and antenna measurement systems and components. The system provides fully automated antenna measurement, analysis, and presentation capability in accordance with IEEE standards. It is incorporated into a shielded anechoic chamber together with equipment  test and feed positioners, radio frequency system, data acquisition and control and a turnkey facility dedicated for antenna (up to30cm size) measurements over a frequency range 8-26.5GHz and 60-90GHz.

It includes MiDAS, a user-friendly antenna measurement software suite with an intuitive graphic interface.

MiDAS, a user-friendly antenna measurement software suite
MiDAS, a user-friendly antenna measurement software suite. Image: Sam Venn

The CR-Mini was fully assembled and checked at ORBIT, then disassembled, shipped and re-assembled following structural modifications at the Faculty’s building. 

“UTS has invested over $800K in this unique mm wave measurement technology, which will make a great contribution to our industry collaborations.  This includes our recent agreement with Nokia to collaborate on developing IoT-based business applications using high-speed, ultra-low latency technologies such as 5G,” says Distinguished Professor Jay Guo, Global Big Data Technologies Centre, FEIT.

It will also be used by research staff and students, and for teaching and learning in the new Data Engineering degree offered for the first time in 2017 by FEIT.

“This latest state-of-the art addition to our testing facilities, together with the outstanding people we have working in our research areas, strengthens our position as the no. 1 wireless team in Australia, and one of the top five teams worldwide,” said Professor Guo.

The CR-Mini is the latest UTS acquisition which, together with a large anechoic chamber and terahertz measurement facilities to be built at UTS’s new Botany site, extends UTS capability as a world leader in mw research.

Delivering this 1.7 tonne chamber to its new base at UTS was a logistical task.  It took three staff three days to reassemble the chamber in situ, the heaviest single part weighing in at 500 kilos.  Software and system installation and testing were completed within three days of the chamber assembly.

“I think it was quite unique how both teams, from Australia and Israel, worked together to overcome the ‘elevator obstacle’ with a lot of thinking and cooperation on both sides,” says Yoram Mor, Chief Software & System Engineer, ORBIT FR Engineering Ltd.

“This process took a lot of resources and was time consuming, but there was a real ‘can do’ attitude on both teams and I think this is one of the things that makes this system special.”

Official commissioning of the CR-Mini!
Official commissioning of the CR-Mini! Image: Sam Venn