Thursday, September 13, 2007
Antenna range construction has begun
Construction has begun on the Department of Electrical Engineering’s on-campus Automotive Antenna Measurement Instrumentation (AAMI) that will promote research in the area. Proposed by Daniel Aloi, associate professor of engineering and director of the Applied Electromagnetic and Wireless Laboratory (AEWL) at Oakland, the facility will provide faculty, students, researchers and industry personnel with state-of-the-art antenna research instrumentation for research and training purposes.
Aloi, the principal investigator, received $400,000 from the National Science Foundation through the 2005 Major Research Instrumentation Grant to get the project started. The AAMI will complement the existing measurement and modeling capabilities at the AEWL. The AEWL was created to address the applied electromagnetics issues that arise in the evolving wireless world.
The antenna range is a spherical near-field system that measures the power levels of the antenna from all directions around a car. This is useful for analyzing and fine-tuning cellular reception, global positioning systems and satellite radio systems. The antenna range will allow researchers to examine how well the antenna performs.
Construction on the facility, which will be located near the power sub-station at the Pioneer Drive entrance and Lonedale Road, has begun and is expected to wrap up early next spring.
Aloi said the antenna range will be used by all students beginning at the freshman level, where it will be introduced.
“We will incorporate the antenna range into classes and lab work for the undergraduates. It also allows us to develop a specialized antenna class,” Aloi said.
Aloi said that aside from educational uses, the antenna range can be used by those within the industry for examining their antennas. There are other antenna range testing facilities in Michigan, but they aren’t independent, as the Oakland range will be.
“There are no environmental concerns based on the radiated levels of the range. The amount of power emanating from the antenna tower meets all FCC regulations and is less than what is transmitted from a cellular tower. The design of the range allows for the power to focus its energy in a single direction, whereas a cellular tower radiates in all directions. The power received at the vehicle will be less than what is transmitted from a cellular telephone,” Aloi said.